Welcome to the Call To Action AntiRacism Program, where you'll find information and resources on our Racial Justice Initiative. For over 30 years Call To Action has worked for justice, inclusion and accountability in our Church and society. Call To Action’s 25,000 members care deeply about Church reform/renewal and social justice, come from all 50 states and Canada and are incredibly faithful to the cause. Check back periodically as this page is under development.
The Second Vatican Council concluded that “the Church is the People of God.” Yet we've determined through surveys that over 90% of our membership is of Western European ancestry, and as such Call To Action does not reflect the diverse universe that is the Church. If we are truly to be the Church, we need to be broad and diverse to live out the justice we are called to by the Church.
Although it’s been on Call To Action’s agenda from the beginning (resolutions in Detroit; early campaigns in Chicago), there has been no agreement about how to go about breaking down racism systemically until now. In 2004 the Board of Call To Action mandated an anti-racism initiative, which has as a 20 years goal: to make Call To Action into an anti-racist institution and spread that effort to addressing racism in Church and society. The Anti-Racism Team was trained by Crossroads Ministries and returned to the Board in September 2006 to have its mission statement affirmed: “Inspired by Jesus’ Gospel values and the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, Call To Action commits to institutional structures, practices and policies that reflect our anti-racist multicultural identity.”
In our experience, racism has been viewed as a problem of prejudice and bigotry. Despite the gains won over the past 50 years, our society has not dealt with the racist systems of power that exist within our culture and society. We have not dealt with the privileges of being white and the disadvantages of being a person of color in the U S today. Call To Action sees this project as an opportunity to significantly affect the lives of Call To Action members, their chapters and their parish worshipping communities for justice in Church and society.
Are we racist? Not, we hope, in the sense of personal prejudice and bigotry. But systemic, institutional racism goes deeper, to include the misuse of power by systems and institutions. Call To Action is afflicted with systemic racism, because, like the U. S. Church at large, it exists in a society where being white confers an invisible knapsack of unearned privilege, and being a person of color bestows unearned disadvantage. This is unjust, and unworthy of a Church called to embody the vision of Jesus.
Over the last two years, members of the Anti-Racism Team have received intensive training with Crossroads Ministry. The remainder of our 25,000 person membership is aware of the team and its work through newsletter articles and with the theme of the 2007 Conference, “From Racism to Reconciliation: Church beyond Power and Privilege”. Now it is time to expand our base to the more than 50 independent Call To Action chapters and affiliates around the country with training, strategy help and communication. The evidence from the 25 person plus Team Members is that the training has brought profound changes in being able to identify racism where it occurs and being able to analyze its basis in the structures of power in our society.
The Call To Action Racial Justice Initiative resonates with all of our three organizational goals: achieving a Church and society that are just, inclusive and accountable. For thirty years, Call To Action has striven for these qualities in its concerns for Church Justice, Social Justice and Contemporary Spirituality. Obviously we cannot build the kin-dom of God without the inclusion of all God’s children. Our long term goal is that Call To Action reflect the complexion and the concerns of the entire Church.
1. The Project Director selects four chapters for the first year pilot program, based on meeting some of the following criteria:
- Visible community action related to racial and social justice issues in local community
- Strong area interest in the issue as indicated by session sign-ups and from the feedback solicited and organized at the 2007 Conference
- A member of the Anti-Racism team involved in the local chapter.
2. Call To Action staff members work with local Chapter leaders to identify at least 15 persons in the chapter to participate, encouraging outreach to people of color.
1. A pre-survey is given to all training participants in the four locations/chapters to assess baseline knowledge, awareness/attitudes and current level of community and individual action related to racial justice.
2. Two-day training opportunities with the four Call To Action Chapters or Affiliates. The training introduces new information and uncover old socializations that have kept institutionalized racism intact and unidentifiable. Meaningful ways to participate in a social change agenda are explored and participants will begin to have a realistic view of how racism impacts the lives of both people of color and white people. Local applications are explored.
3. Participants will read and discuss with a study partner the materials provided to deepen and broaden their understanding of the presentations.
4. A one-day training will reinforce the understanding and forge a commitment from participants to work actively and intentionally to change their attitudes and behavior regarding race relations and the impact of racial oppression. It will empower the people to set realistic personal and chapter related goals to address institutionalized racism.
Community Action and Follow-up
1. Participants will be encouraged to be actively engaged in their communities working against discrimination and restrictive immigration practices. They will be in contact with other members of their local team. To share their work.
2. On a monthly-basis, two representatives from each site will gather on a conference call to report on what actions and progress are being made locally.
3. Support, technical assistance and follow-up from the National staff will be provided as needed.
Evaluation and Next Steps
1. The participants will be gathered from around the country, in conjunction with the 2008 Annual Conference for evaluation and analysis of what has worked and what has not.
2. Four additional sites are identified for 2009 training.
3. The post-survey will be given to all participating members of the four chapters to assess progress in areas of knowledge, attitudes and action individually and as a chapter in the community.
These interventions are based on 30 years of Call To Action practices – motivating people to action for justice, inclusion & accountability; the long experience of the Christian Family Movement – which uses the tools of observe, judge and act; two years of training by Crossroads Ministries, the consulting group also used by Pax Christi and several religious communities for their antic-racism initiative; and peace and nonviolence training from Pace e Bene, the Franciscan service of education, community building and action.
For this pilot program, Call To Action will work with four locations, with at least 15 members of the chapter/affiliate in each locality willing to engage in this initiative. Location selection is also based on interest in participating and having a member of the Anti-Racism team in that chapter. For the most part, participants are progressive Catholics, white and over 50 years old. Many, if not most, have been involved with Social Justice, if not Racial Justice, along with their dedication to Church Justice. Most live in middle class neighborhoods or suburbs, are involved in their local parishes and see themselves as non-racist. But their experiences in the Civil Rights Movement dealt with prejudice and laws, not the inculturated systems of power and structures. They have lacked the tools needed to analyze and confront systemic racism. By reaching ten leaders in each of the four locations and activating them, we believe we can begin to have an impact on changing Call To Action and the Church at large into anti-racist institutions.
By the end of six months the following progressive outcomes and outputs will be accomplished:
1. Four locations and at least 15 initial participants per location will be identified for the 2008 program
2. A baseline pre-survey identifying current knowledge, attitudes and individual actions related to racial justice will be completed by participating individuals
3. In addition the chapter baseline survey will be completed by all four locations re: demographics and current involvement in racial justice community action.
4. A two-day January through April training for the four Call To Action chapters or affiliates will be completed with at least 60 total participants involved in the training.
5. The May through August one-day trainings will be completed or scheduled for the four locations with at least 10 of the original 15 participants involved.
By the end of 12 months
1. At least 40 or the original 60 participants will continue the program throughout the year.
2. 90% of those will be able to define racism as institutional as measured by the post-survey.
3. 75% of those completing the post-survey will have increased their knowledge and attitudes toward racial justice by at least 20% based on the baseline and post-survey results.
4. 40% of individuals continuing will have become involved in a coalition working for the common good which includes organizations of people of color as shown by comparing the baseline and post-survey.
5. 50% of the participants will be willing to share their experience with racial justice education and how it has impacted their lives to other groups.
6. 60% of individuals will increase their public witness to racial justice by 20% from the baseline and post-survey. Examples of public witness include: letters, emails, speaking up publicly against institutional racism, and asking questions.
1. Two chapters/affiliates involved in the project will have developed a plan and/or taken specific community action on an issue related to anti-racism beyond what they were involved in prior to this initiative. This may involve such things as: community education, coalition building with people of color, participation in racial justice action campaigns.
2. The formal agenda for 1 of the 4 communities will include an item of racial justice activity.
3. Two of the groups will have established a working relationship with a diocesan office, parish or community group, involved in racial justice.
4. All four chapters/affiliates will have brought into their group at least two persons of color and/or developed a new relationship with an organization in their community s that deals with racial or cultural diversity. This may include co-sponsorship of community education programs, social action projects with other groups, etc.
These outcomes will be measured by comparing baseline and post-surveys completed by the chapter/affiliate leaders.
1. Process evaluation of the first year pilot will be complete and modifications to the process made for 2009
2. Four additional sites will be identified for 2009
Long Term Impact
One year after the grant has ended, all four organizations will have incorporated racial justice into their chapter goals. Overall there will be anti-racism training going on in at least 6 parishes. Half of the participants will have incorporated anti-racism language in their communications. Two chapters will have had experience working in coalition with organizations of people of color. Two of the organizations will involve people of color as part of their core leadership. Two of the four groups will be actively engaged in racial justice education for other groups. The formal agenda for 3 of the 4 groups will include an item of racial justice activity. 60% of those who completed the program remain involved in racial justice work on the chapter level. Call To Action national will have completed a JustChurch campaign on an anti-racism theme and will have begun another.
Project Support Information
Potential Barriers: A challenge to successful implementation is that people in the local communities may have the feeling that they already understand racism. Strategies include offering to participants facts that even if prejudice and bigotry are decreasing, racial injustice continues because the structures of power remain intact. Participants will learn about white privilege.
Collaboration: Call To Action national will be working with Call To Action Chapters, affiliates and branches. At all levels of the organization, we will gain from the ongoing consultation from Crossroads Ministry and Pace e Bene. At the local level, our Call To Action organizations will collaborate with anti-discrimination and pro-immigrant organizations. We will also reach out to Pax Christi groups and religious congregations who have engaged in similar anti-racism training.
Key staff for the project include:
Nicole Sotelo – Of Mexican-American heritage, Nicole graduated from Wellesley College, received a Masters in Theology from Harvard, worked at NETWORK, the Catholic social justice lobby in DC as well as Bank of America. She has been Next Generation Coordinator, Media Contact and Church Reform Organizer and for the last year, acting co-director of Call To Action. She will help with any JustChurch projects that come out of this program.
Bob Heineman – Call To Action Resources Developer and liaison to the 52 Call To Action chapters and affiliates around the country. A graduate of Notre Dame in Great Books and holding a Masters in History from the University of Vermont, he has experience in teaching, organizing with the statewide coalition of citizen organizations, and working for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He’s been at Call To Action for 12 years. He’ll be involved in working with chapters and monitoring the timely administration of the evaluation tools.
Anti-Racism Team Volunteers: Lena Woltering, David Saavedra, Chuck Ripp and Myra Brown will be among the Call To Action leadership volunteers who will be called on for consultation and trainings.
Call To Action’s membership has funded the project to date with the help of various religious communities. We intend to seek further community support from foundations and other religious communities. We will continue to rely on our membership donors.
For more information on the AntiRacism Program, email Bob Heineman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 773-404-0004 x263. Please check back periodically forupdates soon as this site is actively under development.