Neighborhood conversations on race

In April 2017, about 40 people from Theodore Parker Church attended an introduction to Outreach in White Communities (OWC). OWC is a project initiated by Dorchester People for Peace to engage predominantly white people in conversations about racial profiling, racism, and white privilege. After two planning meetings, we launched our TPC effort to listen to and engage our West Roxbury neighbors in conversations about racism.  Since mid-May, a dozen or more of us have “tabled” in pairs for two hours almost every weekend. We set up a table in front of the church with a banner quoting Cornel West (Justice is What Love Looks in Public).  To encourage passersby to engage, we use a petition to our US Senators and Congressmen urging them to support the Ending Racial Profiling Act. Then we follow up with non-directive questions to encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences with racism.

Overall, we have had an extremely positive response! Many people stop to sign the petition and engage with us. People often thank us for doing this work, and some want information about TPC.  Through our conversations, we have learned that West Roxbury is more diverse than it appears. Comments reflect a wide range of perspectives.  Even those who hold views very different from ours appreciate the opportunity to talk about these issues and be heard. We have found this opportunity to engage with our neighbors to be rewarding and fun!  Please contact Alison (asgottlieb1@gmail.com) if you are interested in learning more.  We plan to continue into the fall and welcome more “tablers.”  New people are paired with more experienced folks. This project is definitely TPC reaching out!