On July 11 and 12, 2019, Hayes Barton was a host site for Phase I training provided by the Racial Equity Institute (REI) which is an organization based in Greensboro that conducts programs year round across the country. The training included an in-depth curriculum focusing on the historical, cultural, structural and institutional analysis of racism and provided multiple opportunities for open discussion in a racially diverse group. It is the belief of REI that training of this type is essential because “organizations often work for equity with multiple understandings of racism that rely more on personal feelings and popular opinion. The lack of a common analysis creates complications to the goal of eliminating racial and ethnic disparities and producing equitable outcomes.” Church member Audrey Gastmeyer was a first-time participant; she said, "The workshop taught me so much about the history of race in the U.S., things I wasn’t aware of, even though I took tons of history classes and had wonderful teachers in school. Now, I understand better that racism is the water we swim in, and I plan to attend more workshops and get involved in anti-racism efforts locally with OAR. I thoroughly enjoyed learning over those two days."
The program at HBUMC was attended by 48 participants (including 16 members of our church) who experienced the REI Phase I training for the first time. In addition, eight other church members who had attended REI training in the past came for a refresher and also to volunteer their time at the event. All who attended were amazed at how much information they had never heard before and came away overwhelmed by the depth of this educational experience. Pastor Rick shared, “As a Christian, I found this training inspires us to intentionally work to reconcile the racial injustices imbedded in our culture.”
If you were unable to attend the program at Hayes Barton, please be aware there are other opportunities to attend the same training in other locations in the area. Please visit the Organizing Against Racism website for other training dates and locations. Our church is also working on obtaining approval to host REI Phase I training again next summer.