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Grace Central

Racial Justice

When the Wisconsin Council on Families and Children released its Race to Equity report in 2013, it revealed the wide racial disparities in socio-economic status, educational achievement, and incarceration in Madison and Dane County. Police shootings across the country and here in Madison exposed the troubled relationship between police forces and the African-American community. A group of Grace members began meeting early this year to explore how we might engage issues of policing, racism, and criminal justice.

Current Activities

Prison, Jail, and Re-entry

  • On January 17, we heard from John Givens of Madison Area Urban Ministries about their programs focused on prisoner re-entry and support for incarcerated persons and their families. More information on MUM's programs is available here.
  • On January 31, Christa Fisher, Chaplain to men at the Dane County Jail preached and gave a presentation on her work. More information about the jail chaplaincy is here. Members of the Just Community task force are working together to engage more directly both with MUM and with the ministry at the jail. Grace members wrote hundreds of Christmas cards to jail inmates and collected winter socks that were distributed. Here is here sermon
  • Building a More Just Community

    In the fall of 2015, we sponsored a series of talks around issues of the militarization of police, mass incarceration, and racial justice. Videos of all three speakers are available:

  • David Couper (former Madison Chief of Police): "Why police matter and what we need to do about it" Video of David's talk. For more information about David's engagement with policing reform visit his website:
  • Jerry Hancock (Director of Prison Ministry Project, First Congregational Church) "Justice and Mercy in Wisconsin?" Video of Jerry's talk Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, this year’s Big Read selection raises fundamental questions about the American system of justice. Rev. Jerry Hancock will discuss how those questions are being answered in Wisconsin.
  • Everett Mitchell (Pastor, Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church) "Finding Hope in the Midst of Change: Reclaiming our Neighbor" Video of Everett's talk
  • Other Resources and Opportunities:

    MOSES. MOSES is an interfaith, non-partisan organization that unites congregations, non-profit organizations and individuals to build a better community. They join together to take action on social justice public policy issues, especially mass incarceration in Wisconsin.

    Justified Anger.

    Founded by the Rev. Alex Gee, Jr., and other community leaders, Justified Anger is a response to the profound racial disparities in our community. "The goal is to create a movement that will unite leadership, vision, policy, and strategy to identify the gaps in services and areas of need, and then plan and implement a long-term strategy to improve the lives of minorities in Madison, resources available, and the damaged image of the state as unfriendly for minorities."

    Race to Equity webpage

    Father Jonathan's sermons and writing on racism

    An important reading list on African-American history, religion, and racism has been compiled under the hashtag #CharlestonSyllabus. Divided into various topics, the books and articles listed are an essential starting point.

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