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How do we, as faithful people, continue the conversation on race that Barack Obama has so eloquently opened? (March 18, 2008)

First, we encourage you to view the speech in your congregation or discussion or covenant group. You may wish to provide some grounding definitions of Liberation Theology (if you have someone with such expertise) as well as racism and privilege.

You may wish to divide the group into smaller subsets (with or without facilitators) to consider the questions that follow. Following the discussion, you might want to consider dividing the gathering into identity caucuses (assuming you have sufficient people of color) to further reflect on this experience, and then reconvene as a group of the whole to share again.

Here are some Sample Questions to guide your conversation:

  • Were you surprised by anything you heard in the speech?
  • Were you moved or deeply touched by anything in the speech? If so by what?
  • Did the speech offend you? If so, can you identify what specifically caused that reaction?
  • Were there ideas or information presented that were new to you? How did this affect you?
  • Did the speech cause you to feel hopeful, or motivated to act in some way? Can you share your thoughts around this?
  • How do you feel about politicians talking about issues such as the ones in this speech—race, gender, religion, dialogue, moving forward across historic divisions?
  • What is the role of the church in a discussion on race? How do we continue this conversation? What do you think the issues raised in this speech mean for people of faith, including church members such as ourselves?
  • What steps should we be taking as a religious community to end racism? In our church? In society?
  • What implications did the speech have for you personally?

How will you seize the moment? Now Is the Time!

Developed by Michael Salwasser, Denis Letourneau, and Paul and Norma Chinchilla, Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, CA.

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