Let’s talk about racism.
We don’t have to be perfect.
But, friends, we must do better than this.
If a critique of Wild Goose is that not enough people of color are involved, then let’s talk about why. I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t been said before, but it bears repeating. And repeating. And repeating. Until we get it a whole lot better than we have.
First of all, kudos for the speakers and presenters of color who were invited and did come.
Thank you to Otis Moss,II, William Barber, Yvette Flunder, and others for bringing your voices and visions.
But that is not enough.
Here is the least of what needs to happen next:
50% of the planning committee needs to be people of color
50% of all presenters need to be people of color
Every panel on any topic needs to include people of color
50% of the conversations in the convo hall need to be moderated by people of color.
We need to ask people of color what they need.
There need to be safe spaces for people of color to gather without including white people.
As I reflect on my time at Wild Goose, where I was a co-creator, my intent is not to disparage the event, but to continue the important conversation that needs to happen as Wild Goose moves forward. I believe that those involved with this festival are beginning to understand the importance of confronting racism in our nation, our culture, churches, synagogues, and mosques.
Moving forward, into the kin-dom that is here, now, within and between each of us means doing the difficult work of dismantling privilege.
As Trump launches his upcoming campaign fueled by racism run rampant, we cannot pat ourselves on the back for ‘making an effort’. The stakes are too high and the cost too great.
One of the best things I heard at Wild Goose was a presenter telling us that we can’t claim innocence, as in ‘I don’t do that’ or ‘my church is not like that’ to give us a pass. Let us instead talk about the impact of racism on all of us. And those of us who are white and benefit by the unmerited color of our skin, need to realize the impact and privilege we benefit from to the horrible denigration of people of color. If white people cannot even acknowledge how we benefit from a racist religious, social, and political culture and find it to be abhorrent, then we are lost.
If the people who come to Wild Goose with hearts and minds open cannot wrap their minds around the urgency of this matter, who will? If we can’t dismantle racism in this community how will we do it in our broader world? This is my clarion call.