The Racial Justice Subcommittee is under the Northern Illinois Synod Social Ministries committee.

Vision Statement

The Kingdom of God only exists in its fullness when all people in creation’s broad and beautiful spectrum of colors, expressions and experiences are loved, celebrated for who we are, and who God intends us to be, with all needs satisfied and all wrongs reconciled. As God transforms the world toward this vision, we confess we have worked against it. We have been complicit benefactors of sinful systems of racism in our lifetime and in our history, ignored, erased, and stolen the voices of people of color. Controlled by fear, ignorance, and apathy, we have failed to act or speak against evil in our midst and in our hearts.

Mission Statement

Working toward the Kingdom, congregations, leaders, and laity of the Northern Illinois Synod are compelled and required to partner with God and our neighbors to learn about and repent of our history of racism, to fight discrimination, inequity, and prejudice in all its forms, to demolish the racist systems of our institutions and economy, reimagining them to heal ethnic and cultural divisions among us. This committee will facilitate this effort by listening to and amplifying voices of people of color, providing opportunities for education and cooperative action, and empowering congregations to engage in multicultural relationships in their own neighborhoods.

Goals
We are committed to:
  • Observing and enacting ELCA social statements and NIS resolutions in our work
  • Providing regular Anti-racism and Multicultural training for leadership, staff, and laity
  • Providing and recommending anti-racist literature, resources, and curriculum to congregations.
  • Partnering with neighboring synods, ecumenical partners, and non-profit organizations to assist in political advocacy, activism, and action.
  • Training congregations how to aid and participate in peaceful protest and providing opportunities for collective action as they arise.
  • Help pastors, deacons and congregational leadership create an anti-racist culture within our congregations, equipping them to hold conversations and reimagine church life.
  • Help create anti-racist culture throughout the Northern IL Synod, from bishop to laity, in offices, meetings and assemblies.
  • Holding all of the NIS accountable in uplifting its commitments to better serve our neighbors of protected classes
  • Training congregations to acknowledge and call out microaggressions, bias, and Prejudice
How You/Congregations Can Partner in the Work
  • Create a group at your church to engage in issues of white privilege, systemic and individual racism, bias, microaggressions, etc. (to do your inner work so that people of color don’t have to)
  • In congregational life and at home, read, promote, show, and discuss literature, editorials, podcasts, media, interviews, etc. that raise the voices and experiences of people of color.
  • Analyze your building and congregational life. Where is there implicit bias and racist imagery?
  • Reach out to communities of color and anti-racist organizations in your community, and engage in ecumenical/interfaith dialogues and fellowship with your neighbors of color
  • In these conversations, listen deeply, imagine together how you can partner to fight for justice in your community and support one another in your efforts.
  • Pay attention to the politics in your community. Where might racist policies be happening, and what organizations are already in existence fighting them?
  • Support membership to frequent black-owned businesses
  • Meet people where they are and help address their needs
Glossary of Terms in Vision and Mission Statement

Systemic racism 

Systemic racism is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within society or an organization, leading to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education.

Microaggression

A microaggression is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a racial or ethnic minority.  

White privilege

White privilege refers to the inherent but often unseen advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.

Implicit bias

Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

Book Recommendations on Anti-Racism

Robin Diangelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.  2018.  

Lenny Duncan, Dear Church:  A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U. S.  2019.  

Daniel Hill, White Awake: An Honest Book at What It Means to be White. 2017   

Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race. 2019.  

Jim Wallis, America’s Original Sin:  Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.   2016.