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Study Group Shares Plans for Action

Oct 1, 2020
Mural depicting Baha'i community life

Course: Anti-Black Racism in the U.S.—The Most Vital and Challenging Issue (June 2020)
Faculty: Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis, Anthony Outler, Chitra Golestani, Emily Tancredi-Brice Agbenyega, Niki Daniels

Editor’s Note: What follows are excerpts from a study group report submitted by Wandra Harmsen. Wandra’s first Wilmette Institute course was “Climate Change” in 2014. She is now serving as a volunteer Teaching Assistant for community learning courses on racism.

“Our last group session was one in which each person shared how they were going to apply the knowledge and understanding gained from this course in their lives and communities.”

Note: There were many more personal reflections in Wandra’s report. We have selected a few that we hope will give you some ideas of what is possible in your own community.

1. Create a spiritual writing workshopinclude monologues and honesty like the Vagina Monologues.  Write a play where white women are talking about race and racism and in which the actors talk to the audience.

2. Start a Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment group via Zoom which has race amity as a focusmaybe make an antiracist book with the them.  Play the Race Amity Game with youth.  Do a few talks/presentations to family members.  Keep reading and learning and continue talking to racist friend.

3. Collaborate with middle school principal on race amity and racial justice. Put the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the US’s June statement in the local newspaperwith a note to continue the conversation

4. Try to develop a race amity presence on local cable television. Read a race amity story to children each week on Zoom and elicit a discussion about it.  Invite local interfaith group leaders to an interfaith devotional meeting whose theme is racial justice.

Discourse styles. “One group member shared how she had taught about different discourse styles with international students at her university. There are basically three styles: Basketball, Rugby, and Bowling. All of us tend to fall into one of these three styles. She then went on to describe them and later shared this Techniques in Learning and Teaching blog post with us: Play Ball! Discussion as Bowling, Rugby, Basketball.”



Wandra Harmsen

Wandra Harmsen, retired educator and former pioneer to the Cape Verde Islands and Portugal, led a group of 12 through the WI Course on Anti-Black racism.  This group consisted of mostly women from Massachusetts and others from Portugal, Italy and Pittsburgh.

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