WXXI AM News

Sacred Conversations on Race

Oct 18, 2016

Pastor William Wilkinson from the Trinity Emmanuel Church in Rochester
Credit Alex Crichton

Members of various religious congregations are taking a stand against racism.

This after literature promoting a white supremacist website was distributed in Pittsford and Brighton.

At a news conference at the Trinity Emmanuel Church in Rochester, Wilma Campbell, a Quaker, said only the church has the podium, the sword and the shield to do this work.

"Because politicians can't do it, they'll get fired.  School superintendents can't do it, they'll get fired.  Our calling is this work, this work of uniting humanity," she said.

Michael Mills, with the group PittsFORWARD which formed to show unity against the racist flyers, says what happened isn't limited to Pittsford.

Credit Roc Acts

"It's a national issue, and so the more we can bring people together and have the leadership of the religious community, it adds really power and integrity to the message of what we're trying to do," he said.

And Pastor Wanda Wilson with Open Arms Christian Fellowship Ministries, says it's great all these congregations are coming together to address this, but she says it's time to move beyond the personal level of racism, and take it to another level -- institutional racism.

"How are we actually going to bring down those walls. The institutionalized racism in housing, in employment, in education, in the criminal justice system. What are we actually going to do about it, and we need to bring ourselves together as one to combat it," she said.

Organizer Jon Greenbaum with Rochester Acts says the community needs to come together to root out the biases that we harbor.

The sacred conversations on race and action will continue this fall with various faith communities all over Monroe County.

They are based on the workshops formed by congregations after unrest in the cities of Ferguson and St. Louis.