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Anti-Racism Training Events

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

For All Rostered Ministers, TEEM Ministers, Synodically Authorized Ministry Teams, and Youth Leaders.

As part of our ongoing racial justice work, and in compliance with Churchwide Assembly decisions to do regular anti-racism training for all rostered leaders, the Building Bridges team of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod is offering two anti-racism events in the weeks ahead. “Save the Date” emails were sent out in January, but this email provides you with some of the details and a strong encouragement to be a part of one or both of these programs.

If you have not already done so, please RSVP to Ida McAllister at the Synod Office at TODAY so we know how many we will have for lunch. If you have any questions, please give us a call. Thanks!


The Events:

Thursday, February 13, 2020 – 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Faith Lutheran Church, 7525 W. Markham St., Little Rock, AR

Thursday, March 26, 2020 – 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 2330 N. Quaker Ave, Tulsa


The Day:

Led by our presenters, we will explore the context and history of race and racism in Arkansas (in Little Rock) and Oklahoma (in Tulsa) and consider how that context and history impacts and shapes our ministries. After lunch, led by members of our Building Bridges Team, we will reflect together on our own awareness and experiences of race and racism and how those experiences impact and shape us as leaders. Our conversations and discussions will be anchored in scripture and surrounded with prayers.


The Day:

In Arkansas:

Dr. John A. Kirk is the George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History and director of Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Kirk was born and educated in the United Kingdom, where he taught at the University of Wales and the University of London before moving to UA Little Rock in the summer of 2010 to chair the History Department. After serving five years as department chair, in 2015 Kirk became director of the Anderson Institute. Kirk’s research focuses primarily on the history of the civil rights movement. He has published eight books including the award-winning Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1940-1970 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002). Kirk’s publications also include Martin Luther King, Jr. (London and New York: Pearson Longman, 2005), Beyond Little Rock: The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2007), and Race and Ethnicity in Arkansas: New Perspectives (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2014). He is currently completing an edited and annotated collection of primary documents The Civil Rights Movement: A Documentary Reader (New York: Wiley, forthcoming 2019). Kirk has published in a wide variety of journals, edited book collections, newspapers, and magazines, and he has held a number of grants and fellowships in both Europe and in the United States, including as Roosevelt Study Centre Fellow (Middleburg, The Netherlands), John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Fellow (Boston), and Rockefeller Archive Center Scholar-in-Residence (New York).

In Oklahoma:

Vanessa Adams-Harris is Muscogee Creek American Indian with African-American/European ancestry. She is an artist/actor giving particular interest to the historical accuracy of the African-American and Indigenous aesthetic. A producer, director, documentary filmmaker, *AACT-adjudicator, workshop facilitator/presenter, playwright, docent, human rights community activist/peace-builder, and spirit walker. She has performed and/or presented both nationally and internationally. She is Outreach & Alliances director for the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Oklahoma Chautauqua Scholar, and is with international coalition of Women as Drivers Towards Peacebuilding – Just Governance Human Security-X Initiatives of Change – Caux, Switzerland.

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