The North Carolina Council of Churches was founded in 1935 through the courageous leadership of Shelton Smith and other prominent faith leaders in N.C. who believed the unity of faith communities could overcome the injustice of racism. We have continued in that hope for 85 years. God laments, as do we, that it takes so much death and so many layers of injustice to move us forward so slowly, but at last the entire country appears to be focused on what our founders told them 85 years ago. Most importantly, the entire country is at last listening to black people and taking their claims seriously.
We invite you to read this resolution from our Governing Board and join us as we work to break the cycle.
We believe this may be the time when America can break free from the cycle of reform, restraint, and retaliation that has defined our existence, at least since the Emancipation Proclamation, and more likely since the first white settlers landed on the shores of a land already occupied by people with darker skin. For the cycle to end, we must dismantle the systems that oppress our neighbors.
Whether you are a veteran at racial equity work or just entering the arena, the resources that follow offer a place to join the cause. We expect to update this page regularly as we learn from and work with our many partners in the movement. Please check back regularly to learn more.
- National CROWN Day, on Friday July 3, is a day of solidarity for the human rights of Black women, men, and children to wear their natural hair boldly and proudly, without the fear of discrimination in school or the workplace. Click here to find ways to participate in the CROWN Campaign for National CROWN Day and beyond.
- Alliance of Baptists – Statement on Racism in the U.S. and Anti-Racism Resources
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – Ant-Racism Archives
- Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina – Racial Equity and Justice Curriculum/Resources
- Episcopal Church – Responding to Racist Violence
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in American – Racial Justice Curriculum
- General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
- Mennonite Church (USA) – Statement/Resources on Racial Injustice
- Metropolitan Community Churches – Racial Reconciliation Working Group Resources
- Moravian Church in America – Continuing the Journey of Racial Reconciliation
- North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church – Anti-Racism Archives
- Presbyterian Church – Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community Churchwide Antiracism Policy
- United Church of Christ – Racial Justice Statement and Resources
- Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church – Anti-Racism Resources
- A Terrible Thing To Waste: Environmental Racism And Its Assault On The American Mind, by Harriet A. Washington
- Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor, by Virginia Eubanks
- Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination, by Alondra Nelson
- Blackballed: The Black Vote and U.S. Democracy, by Darryl Pinckney
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein
- Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, by Ian Haney López
- The End of Policing, by Alex S. Vitale
- From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America, by Elizabeth Hinton
- Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, by Deirdre Cooper Owens
- Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
- Social Justice Books – 60 carefully selected lists of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators
- Waking Up White, by Debby Irving
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
- Let’s Talk About Race, by Julius Lester, illustrated by Karen Barbour
- Little Leaders Series, by Vashti Harrison
- Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, by Anastasia Higginbotham
- Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis, by Jabari Asim, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
- Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier
- Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, by Andrea Davis
- Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise
- I am Not Your Negro
- LA 92
- Teach Us All
- Whose Streets?
White Folks Guide to Protesting
If you are a white person considering joining a protest, here is a list of rules put together for you.
1. FOLLOW CALLS ONLY. Do not initiate or lead calls. Your job is to follow and add your voice when it is called for.
2. DO NOT TAKE SELFIES. Ask to take pictures or videos of individuals. You are there to witness only. Film the police as much as possible. Your goal is documentation to ensure that the true narrative is told.
3. BE HELPFUL. Hand out water and snacks. Make sure protest leaders are hydrated and fed. This is exhausting work, help keep their energy up.
4. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. If a black organizer tells you to do something, you do it immediately without question. You respect the authority and the decisions of the black protestors at all times.
5. STAY IN THE BACK UNTIL YOU ARE CALLED FORWARD. If you hear “White people to the front” or “Allies to the front” step forward and link arms with other white people to form a human shield.
6. WHEN YOU ARE AT THE FRONT, YOU ARE SILENT. Your job is to be a body. You are there to support only. The only voices on the police line should be black voices.
7. REMAIN CALM AT ALL TIMES. This is difficult. You will be emotional and your system will be flooded with adrenaline. Remember this is life and death for the protestors. Save your emotions for home. DO NOT AGITATE.
This is not a game. Joining a protest is a serious decision. Make sure you are there for the right reason. Support the safety of black protestors at all times.
Guidelines for Safe Protesting
- How to Stay Safe While Protesting, When To Go Out After Recovery
- Know Your Rights: Protesters’ Rights
The Toolkit for Black Lives Matter Healing Justice & Direct Action was created to collate, condense, and share the lessons we have learned in ensuring that our direct actions are centered on healing justice. This toolkit is a beta version; it will develop in real time as we continue to uncover the implications for healing justice in our organizing. Click here to access this toolkit.
The #TrayvonTaughtMe digital campaign highlights the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter movement, and how Trayvon’s extrajudicial murder and his family’s commitment to ending gun violence and strengthening communities catalyzed a generation of organizers and activists to take action for Black lives. Anti-Blackness is pervasive and implicit, and Black children and adults continue to be put on trial for our own murders. The perceptions of Black people and Blackness in America, and globally, have resulted in the refusal to acknowledge the unique cultural contributions of Black people. Moreover, they perpetuate prejudice, deadly policing, racist legislation, and interpersonal violence. Click here to access this toolkit.
Police continue to mistreat, terrorize, and even murder boys and girls of color, and then walk free. We need to #TalkAboutTrayvon, and remind each other what we continue to lose when we uphold a system that won’t punish people who kill Black children and adults. We are not only losing wonderful people—we are losing our humanity. White communities are used to consciously and unconsciously maintaining the racist policies and practices that led to Trayvon’s death—and, as white people, we must speak out against those policies and practices. When we remain silent and on the sidelines, we are complicit in maintaining these unjust systems. Our work is to get more white people who support us to take action toward racial justice—and to change the hearts and minds of those white people who are not yet with us. When we #TalkAboutTrayvon, we tell grieving parents that we see them and acknowledge their pain. When we #TalkAboutTrayvon, we tell Black children that we are not afraid of them—we are only afraid they won’t get the bright future they deserve. Click here to access this toolkit.
The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) is the premier cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence that is used by thousands of individuals and organizations to build intercultural competence to achieve international and domestic diversity and inclusion goals and outcomes.
In contrast to many “personal characteristic” instruments, the IDI is a cross-culturally valid, reliable, and generalizable measure of intercultural competence along the validated intercultural development continuum (adapted, based on IDI research, from the DMIS theory developed by Milton Bennett). Further, the IDI has been demonstrated, through research, to have high predictive validity to both bottom-line cross-cultural outcomes in organizations and intercultural goal accomplishments in education. Click here to learn more and explore their services.
The Racial Equity Institute (REI) is an alliance of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders who have devoted themselves to the work of creating racially equitable organizations and systems.
The process is designed to help leaders and organizations who want to proactively understand and address racism, both in their organization and in the community where the organization is working. The Racial Equity Institute, LLC process is just that: an 18-month to two-year process.
Our experience is that the goals of understanding and addressing racism can rarely be achieved in a three-hour or one-day workshop. Racism is a fierce, ever-present, challenging force, one which has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent, and committed effort. Click here to explore their services.
- Resources for white folks who HAVE NOT attended REI’s Phase I training
- Organizing Against Racism (OAR)
This course is designed to be an eye-opener and a call to action for those who seek to be allies to Black women. To #DoTheWork one must be intentional in breaking down the systems that continue to oppress and disenfranchise the Black community with Black women being the most effected. Going through these daily prompts you will be called to think critically and act tangibly in solidarity. Participating in this will be your first small step in working towards dissolving these systems, institutions, and ideologies that continue to negatively affect Black women and their communities yet benefit white people in this country. Be aware that finishing this 30 day course will not result in a certificate of ‘official allyship’. Until white supremacy is completely dismantled there will be continued work to do. This is just the start. Click here to access the course.
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. Click here to join the campaign in your area.
- Watch the recording of the Mass Moral March on Washington (June 20, 2020)
- General and State-by-State Factsheets on Racial Injustices in America’s Government and Institutions
Economic injustice manifests itself in many ways, from wage deflation to price inflation. It also shows up in the lending practices used by many banks and credit unions. Statistics show that African-American customers are turned away in much higher percentages than white customers when applying for loans. Loans needed to purchase homes or start businesses are not available for some individuals trying to establish their own economic security, further contributing to the economic disparities that already exist. Furthermore, such biased lending makes it harder for African American congregations to borrow money to purchase or improve their own buildings.
In order to help correct this economic injustice, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the largest and oldest African-American denomination in the country, has partnered with Self-Help Credit Union to establish their own federally-chartered credit union. By founding their own credit union, the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., 31,000 churches and over 7.5 million members strong, will provide fair financial services and responsible lending to its members, helping to eradicate barriers to economic independence in the African-American community. Click here to support this effort investing in their deposit-raising campaign.
→ Support Black Owned Businesses
Today, in the wake of the recent police-involved murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, and too many other African-American women and men, we see and hear louder than ever “We Can’t Breathe.” The culture of law enforcement too often seems to encourage less focus on protecting than patrolling to attack. The condition known as “being black in America” continues to infect our systems and institutions.
In order to address what legislators call “persistent unchecked bias in policing” and “a history of a lack of accountability” that is wreaking havoc in black communities, this legislation proposes:
- Amending the U.S. Code to lower the legal standard of “mens rea,” making prosecution of misconduct easier.
- Reforming qualified immunity for police officers to allow individuals to recover damages when their constitutional rights are violated.
- Establishing a National Police Misconduct Registry to track police misconduct and thwart officers from switching jurisdictions to avoid accountability;
- Mandating training on racial bias and the duty to intervene;
- Placing limits the transfer of military-grade weapons to state and local law enforcement agencies and requiring the use of body cameras;
- Empowering state attorneys general and the Justice Department to play a much larger role in its oversight of police agencies;
- Allowing the federal government to restrict funding for state and local police agencies that fail to adopt the policies and training aimed at combating racial bias and profiling;
- Banning the use of choke-holds;
- Banning “no-knock” warrants in drug-related cases; and
- Making lynching a federal crime.
Demand your members of Congress support the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. While it does not solve the problem of systemic racism inherent in modern policing, placing these limits on their power will go a long way to limiting unchecked violence in black communities. Click here to learn more and find your representatives.
The NAACP’s mission has remained constant for its first century: to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. It advances its mission through the press, through non-violent mass petitioning for redress of grievances; through the ballot, through lobbying and through the courts. In the face of 100 years of covert and overt racial hostility and violence, including murders and bombings, NAACP leaders and members have steadfastly and courageously used legal and moral persuasion.
Just as important has been the NC NAACP’s joining hands with predominantly White and Latino organizations to build exciting new political alliances around a People’s Agenda that reverses the State’s historic priorities toward to focus on the needs of ordinary people of all colors. This political alliance is called the Historic Thousands on Jones Street: The Peoples General Assembly Coalition, named after the annual People’s Assembly in front of the State Legislature on the Saturday nearest the NAACP’s birthday. Click here to become a member and join the coalition.
Remarks from Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director, on the recent landmark ruling of the N.C. Supreme Court that brings light to racial discrimination in death penalty cases in NC:
“The N.C. Council of Churches has been engaged in criminal justice reform and eradication of the death penalty for about as long as we have existed. Several decades ago when executions occurred on a regular basis in N.C., the Council founded People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, which worked closely with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. In my time at the Council, we have engaged with the Center as time and resources allowed and, so, I was included in this wonderful news today. It is a victory for all who have labored long to move the scales of justice to a more balanced position.
We celebrate with Executive Director Gretchen Engel of the Center and invite you to read her post. We also celebrate that Justice Anita Earls wrote the court’s opinion and we remind everyone that Justice Earls was the keynote speaker at the Council’s 2018 Critical Issues Seminar, Wisdom of Women.”
→ Chief Justice Beasley Addresses Intersection of Justice and Protests Around the State
JUNE 2, 2020 – “I felt compelled to speak today about the pain and grief our nation is experiencing over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and far too many others. Much of the pain is grounded in the belief that justice is perpetually denied in cases involving African-Americans.
Thousands of people of all different races have flooded the streets in large cities and small towns all over the nation. The despair presented by the COVID-19 pandemic has almost certainly intensified emotions. But that in no way discounts the gravity of the events that have caused these demonstrations. It is essential to understand the root cause of the pain that has plagued African-Americans and the complexities of race relations in America.
These protests highlight the disparities and injustice that continue to plague black communities. Disparities that exist as the result of policies and institutions; racism and prejudice have remained stubbornly fixed and resistant to change. These protests are a resounding, national chorus of voices whose lived experiences reinforce the notion that Black people are ostracized, cast out, and dehumanized. Communities are crying out for justice and demanding real, meaningful change.
It is shocking to see our workplaces, businesses and community spaces damaged. But we must recognize the legitimate pain and weight of years of disparate treatment that fuels these demonstrations. We must be willing to hear that message, even when we are saddened by the way it is delivered. We must decry the failures of justice and equity just as forcefully as we decry violence. It is not enough to say to protesters “go home and follow the rules.” It’s not that simple. We must hear each other.
As the mother of twin sons who are young black men, I know that the calls for change absolutely must be heeded. And while we rely on our political leaders to institute those necessary changes, we must also acknowledge the distinct role that our courts play. As Chief Justice, it is my responsibility to take ownership of the way our courts administer justice, and acknowledge that we must do better, we must be better.
When Chief Justice Martin convened a commission to study the justice system in 2015, that commission found that a majority of North Carolinians lack trust and confidence in our court system. Too many people believe that there are two kinds of justice. They believe it because that is their lived experience — they have seen and felt the difference in their own lives.
The data also overwhelmingly bears out the truth of those lived experiences. In our courts, African-Americans are more harshly treated, more severely punished and more likely to be presumed guilty. There are many ways to create change in the world, but one thing is apparent: the young people who are protesting everyday have made clear that they do not intend to live in a world in which they are denied justice and equality like the generations before them.
We must develop a plan for accountability in our courts. Judges work hard and are committed to serving the public. But even the best judges must be trained to recognize our own biases. We have to be experts not just in the law, but in equity, equity that recognizes the difficult truths about our shared past. We must openly acknowledge the disparities that exist and are too often perpetuated by our justice system.
I’m excited about the many programs our courts have implemented to improve our work. We have expanded School Justice Partnerships, which help keep students in the classroom instead of the courtroom.
We are examining bail policies. Our pilot projects in eight North Carolina counties are already showing promising results that can be implemented statewide to truly bring change to a system that all too frequently punishes people disparately.
I am also very excited about our Faith & Justice Alliance where we will build partnership between places of worship and the legal system to bring services to people in their own communities. This Alliance will formally launch this week with a virtual meeting of lawyers, judges, community service providers and clergy — people who truly understand the needs of underserved communities and know how to bring them the legal education and services they need most.
The work of improving justice is never truly done. Justice is not an achievement. It is a practice. As we change and grow as a society, our understanding of justice changes and grows and expands. And our courts must do the same.
We must come together to firmly and loudly commit to the declaration that all people are created equal, and we must do more than just speak that truth. We must live it every day in our courtrooms. My pledge to you today is that we will.
The recent deaths have once again shed light on the truth that injustice and discrimination still exist. And the protests that have followed have shown us just as brightly that we can come together in expressions of solidarity and grief. My hopeful prayer is that we continue to learn and grow together and that we have the courage to make change where change is so desperately needed.”