Bill Wynne 
Member since Sep 14, 2017


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Re: “How racist is Rochester?

Regarding the 9/5 article titled "How Racist Is Rochester?", the related questions of "Do We Know?" and "Do We Care?", as well as the many letters in response to the article, I offer the following thoughts based on my and my wife's personal experience over the past 1-2 years. We discovered that the only way to get to understand the data of the 2014 Poverty Report and the many other so-called "facts" about racism in our community was to get out of our suburban comfort zone and actually meet and get to know the people of color ... our city "neighbors". We have been profoundly gratified with the discoveries we have made regarding their experiences, current situations, and most importantly, the many new relationships and friendships we have built in a relatively short period of time.

There were three key actions we did to make this possible. First, we began to visit black faith communities in the city for Sunday services. In the dozen or so times we have done this far, we always came away amazed by the welcoming we received as we shared God's word together. Secondly, through our Parish and its affiliation with RocACTS, we partnered with a black faith community in the city in a program called 'Sacred Conversations'. Over two sessions and six hours, 10-12 members of each community (one primarily black and one virtually all white) got to know each other and discuss how 'Jim Crow' type activities from years past impacted black lives and how it still lives today in other forms. Thirdly, we invested time in a 10-week educational program sponsored by a new organization recently renamed MAMA. We learned about the true story of American black history and were astounded by what we did not know because we either were not taught or were blinded by the unfortunate parallel universes of "black and white" we live in.

Bottomline, we implore all whites to think very seriously about even just doing one of these or to get involved in some way of your own and therefore take a step into getting beyond your preconceived notions and the "facts" as you think you might know them. We can guarantee that you will be surprised and not disappointed in what you learn ... and more importantly the new "neighbors" you will meet. Building relationships begins to answer the two important questions in the article of "Do We Know?" and "Do We Care?".

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Bill Wynne on 09/14/2017 at 3:36 PM

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