Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends
an unprogrammed Quaker meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee

Resources on Racial Justice

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This is a place to find links and resources Friends recommend to further our understanding of the complicated issues related to racial justice. If you have a resource to contribute or you have a question about the information posted, please contact a member of Ministry & Nurture or Religious Education Committee.

Our Stance on Racial Justice:

WKFM Statement in support of anti-racism 2020

As members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), we abhor the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others made possible through systems that perpetuate racial injustices. This includes police practices and training that do not adequately address racial biases.  

Holding authority figures accountable is not enough. We acknowledge our complicity as a predominantly white organization. We have been silent too long and are compelled to take a stand, committing ourselves to actions that eradicate racial injustice. 

To have our voices heard, we support our constitutional right to peaceful protest; we value the authority figures who have supported these efforts. As Quakers, we believe that violence is never the answer and that every life and every voice is as precious as the next. The silencing of even one voice diminishes our community and makes us less whole.

A word about the work being done by Friends General Conference:

In October 2016, the governing body of Friends General Conference approved an institutional assessment on systemic racism to identify and address structural oppression within FGC as an institution and among FGC-affiliated Monthly Meetings and Yearly Meetings. Below is a link which was created by FGC to assemble all of the resources, updates, reports about the Institutional Assessment and the Anti-Racism Implementation Group that have been distributed to Friends and meetings united in the important work of confronting racism and white supremacy. We share this link as a starting point to understanding our part in creating a more just institution.

Check out their spiritual deepening library for information and activities including reading groups and virtual workshops.

Activities in SAYMA - Uplifting Racial Justice Committee

Southern Appalacian Yearly Meeting and Association is the organizaiton in which West Knoxville Montly Meeting is affiliated. SAYMA has an Uplifting Racial Justice committee (URJ) led by Friends of Color. There is also a support group ad hoc committee made up of white Friends in support of URJ.  There is a google group that shares anti-racist education materials, recommended readings, and holds discussions about how to be an anti-racist organization.  To join the google group, send an email to SAYMA making the request.  In January 2021 the person to contact is Shannon Roberts Smith. To find out more about URJ, go to their SAYMA web page. 

Mission of URJ: To help SAYMA become a welcoming place for Friends of color. The committee will do this by providing safe space for Friends of color to bring issues and concerns regarding racism within their Monthly Meetings and SAYMA, to find support and advocacy. The committee will also work to raise awareness about White Supremacy aka racism within SAYMA, by compiling and disseminating educational resources.

Pendle Hill Pamphlet #465

Race, Systemic Violence, and Retrospective Justice: An African American Quaker Scholar-Activist Challenges Conventional Narratives

By Harold D. Weaver, Jr.


Dr. Harold Weaver of the BlackQuaker Project asks Friends to look at societal problems through new lenses: confronting systemic violence with antiviolence; acknowledging institutional and systemic racism, rather than merely individual racism; considering a retrospective justice program that compensates for and helps remove the historical inequities related to the transatlantic slave trade, chattel slavery, and their legacies – Jim Crowism, other forms of dehumanization and exploitation, police brutality, and the school-to-prison pipeline. This unjust world is maintained by misinformation and disinformation in the media, formal education, scholarship, and political discourse.

Initiating editor – along with Paul Kriese and Steve Angell – of Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights, Hal Weaver lays out steps and queries in this pamphlet to guide Friends and others to begin addressing these concerns in the wider world.

Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery in your Meeting 

The Towards Right Relationship Project has created a Resource kit that provides concrete actions Friends can take in the journey towards healing. Additionally, Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly meetings all over North America have taken steps to dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery.

Books and Videos Friends recommend or have studied as a book group:

From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century by William Darity and Andrea Kirsten Mullen 

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy Degruy 

Holding Up Your Corner: Talking about Race in Your Community by F. Willis Johnson (FGC  reading list)

Making Neighborhoods Whole by Wayne Gordon & John M. Perkins (FGC reading list)

Black Indians: An American Story (2004) Narrated by James Earl Jones - video - see link below to access you YouTube. (suggested by SAYMA URJ Committee)

Me & White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad - (SAYMA and WKFM completed a group study of this work in August of 2020)

Subtle Acts of Exclusion by Dr. Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran

See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur (book group study with FGC Oct 2020)

Fit for Freedom Not for Friendship by Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye (discussion in WKFM 2016 in prep for Gathering)

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois, edited and annotated by Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (read and discussed by book group in WKFM in 2016)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone (read and discussed in local book group 2018)