Recommended Resources

Begin the Journey

We put together a short list of resources for individuals who may be new to the subject of racial justice. As courageous Christians, we pray that we will be inspired by God and engage productively in these important and challenging discussions.

Strength to Love is a collection of sermons and writings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that explores God’s endless love for all humanity. Through the pages, we are called to become the hope and reality for Christ’s redemptive love in the world.
In his book, Gracism: The Art of Inclusion, Pastor David Anderson offers seven sayings of the gracist with practical examples for building bridges and including others. Gracism is an opportunity to extend God’s grace to all peoples, no matter what their color, class or culture.
The Third Option challenges us to fully embrace God’s creativity and beauty, as expressed in the diversity of His people. By following the steps and praying the prayers outlined in his book, Pastor Miles teaches us how we can all become leaders in unifying our communities, our churches, and the nation.
In Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, reliable spiritual guide, Will Willimon, invites readers to consider the gospel command to love (and not merely tolerate) those considered to be “Other” or outside mainstream Christian culture.

Unpacking Whiteness

Talking about race requires white people to unpack their experiences in a world that sees whiteness as the default. When we see ourselves as outside of the category of race, we feel exempt from the conversations around racism. Refusing to grapple with how the concept of race affects us only continues to divide us.  

The resources below are not meant to make white people feel guilty, but rather help answer the question – “How have I been shaped by the forces of racism?”

In Waking Up White, author Debby Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, and she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race.
White Awake author Daniel Hill will never forget the day he heard these words: “Daniel, you may be white, but don’t let that lull you into thinking you have no culture. White culture is very real. In fact, when white culture comes in contact with other cultures, it almost always wins…” Confused and unsettled by this encounter, Hill began a journey of understanding his own white identity.
White Fragility is how author Robin DiAngelo refers to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially. White fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.


Anti-Racist Resources

Being “anti-racist” goes beyond simply not being racist, and moves us into action. 

From the National Museum of African American History & Culture:

“When we choose to be antiracist, we become actively conscious about race and racism and take actions to end racial inequities in our daily lives. Being antiracist is believing that racism is everyone’s problem, and we all have a role to play in stopping it.”

The resources below will not only give you more information about what it means to be anti-racist, but will give you concrete actions you can take to address your own biases and have courageous conversations with others.

Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community equips church leaders to respond with confidence when crises occur, lower their own inhibitions about addressing this topic, and reclaim their authority as prophetic witnesses and leaders in order to transform their communities.
In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. In this book, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism.
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word.
Stamped : Racism, Antiracism and You is a remix of Ibram Kendi’s award-winning Stamped from the Beginning. This book is is a powerful primer on the historical roots and present-day manifestations of antiblack racism in America. Perfect for young readers 12+ and ideal for adult readers to start insightful conversations.
This Book is Anti-Racist is written for the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life. Learn about identities, true histories, and anti-racism work in 20 carefully laid out chapters. Written by anti-bias, anti-racist, educator and activist, Tiffany Jewell, and illustrated by French illustrator Aurélia Durand.
Understanding and Dismantling Racism traces the history of racism, especially in white America, revealing its various personal, institutional, and cultural forms. Without demonizing anyone or any race, he offers specific, positive ways in which people in all walks, including churches, can work to bring racism to an end.
Raising White Kids is for families, churches, educators, and communities who want to equip their children to be active and able participants in a society that is becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions.
Which acts by educators are “racist” and which are “antiracist”? How can an educator constructively discuss complex issues of race with students and colleagues? In Everyday Antiracism, leading educators deal with the most challenging questions about race in school, offering invaluable and effective advice.

Racial Reconciliation Bible Study & Prayer Guide

Until we treat others the same, regardless of their wealth or race, we will not fulfill the law “to love our neighbors as ourselves”. Use this 3-part program to open the conversation on prejudice and how it harms our relationships with others. Discuss how we can overcome prejudice through love and understanding.

Additional Resources

History of Race in America

Some of My Best Friends Are Black chronicles America’s troubling relationship with race through four interrelated stories: the transformation of a once-racist Birmingham school system; a Kansas City neighborhood’s fight against housing discrimination; the curious racial divide of the Madison Avenue ad world; and a Louisiana Catholic parish’s forty-year effort to build an integrated church.
In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. . . And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
A Different Mirror is a dramatic new retelling of our nation’s history, a powerful larger narrative of the many different peoples who together compose the United States of America. In a lively account filled with the stories and voices of people previously left out of the historical canon, Ronald Takaki offers a fresh perspective – a “re-visioning” – of our nation’s past.
Richard Rothstein’s groundbreaking book, The Color of Law, incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory housing patterns that continue to this day.
Americans like to insist that they are living in a post-racial, color-blind society. In fact, racist thought is alive and well; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, racist ideas in America have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.
America’s Unholy Ghosts examines the DNA of the ideologies that shape our nation, ideologies that are as American as apple pie but that too often justify and perpetuate racist ideas and racial inequalities.
In America’s Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians–particularly white Christians–urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is the companion book to the six-part, six-hour documentary of the same name, covering the 500 year history. By highlighting the complex internal debates and class differences within the Black Experience in this country, readers will learn that the African American community . . . has never been a truly uniform entity, and that its members have been debating their differences of opinion and belief from their very first days in this country.
Racism in Kansas City is a study of Kansas City’s darkest moments—slavery, the border war, the Civil War, bombings of black homes, lynchings, the segregation of neighborhoods and schools, the civil rights struggle, and much more. Threaded throughout the book are stories of those who fought ardently against racist policies and won. In the end, G.S. Griffin offers readers a hopeful message: with awareness comes understanding, then a willingness to push for positive social change.

Additional Resources

Mass Incarceration

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
In this The New Jim Crow, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control . . . The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community–and all of us–to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row is the memoir of Anthony Ray Hinton. In 1985, Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.
In Rethinking Incarceration, Dominique Gilliard explores the history and foundation of mass incarceration, examining Christianity’s role in its evolution and expansion. He then shows how Christians can pursue justice that restores and reconciles, offering creative solutions and highlighting innovative interventions. The church has the power to help transform our criminal justice system.


Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America. This piercing, Oscar-nominated film won Best Documentary at the Emmys, the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards.  

Netflix has made it available on YouTube for free.  

Runtime – 1 hour and 40 minutes. Rated TV-MA for mature audiences. May not be suitable for ages 17 and under.

Download the discussion guide.

Just Mercy

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian’s life.

Just Mercy is free to stream for the month of June.

Runtime – 2 hours and 17minutes. Rated PG-13.

Allies for Racial Justice (ARJ) is a partnership between St. James United Methodist Church and Resurrection, A United Methodist Church. ARJ exists with the purpose of forging authentic relationships to eliminate the existing racial divide in our communities and churches.