Speakers on Racism Coming to Pittsburgh

by Joyce Rothermel

Following the Sept. 9 speaker, Rev. Jack Bendik addressing “Creating Vibrant Faith Communities Amid Changing Realities” in the Fall Speakers’ Series of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP) comes “A Conversation with Beverly Tatum – Can We talk About Race?” on Wed., Oct. 2, 2019 at 7 PM at the Kearns Spirituality Center, 9000 Babcock Blvd. in Allison Park.

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D. is a nationally known woman of outstanding awareness and insight. She comes to guide all who attend who strive to understand the difficult experiences of many African Americans. In her easy conversational style, Dr. Tatum will be discussing our unexamined racial attitudes and their impact on the continuing divisions in our country, in dialogue with Rev. Liddy Barlow, Executive Minister of Christian Associates of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Dr. Tatum will also share her concerns about the under-reported re-segregation of America, the topic of her book Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Re-Segregation.

A thought-leader in higher education and a clinical psychologist, her frequent focus on children and teens led to her path-breaking, best-selling book Why Are All the Black Children Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?.

Dr. Tatum’s recent TED Talk “Is my skin brown because I drank chocolate milk?” was enormously popular. She was a dialogue partner with President Clinton on his nationally televised series on race, as well as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Those who attend will participate in an important, timely conversation with a woman who has not only studied whereof she speaks, but has also lived it.

Pursuing her degree in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Dr. Tatum was often the only black student in her classes, one who would go on to author several books, as well as to become President of Spelman College (2002 -2015), the oldest historically black women’s college. Among other books she has authored is Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community.

Her awards abound. Two among them: the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award and the American Psychological Association’s award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology.

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Then, mark your calendars for Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 PM to hear Rev. Carolyn Helsel, PhD who will speak on “The Racist Next Door: How to Have Anti-racist Conversations in Your Community.”

Dr. Helsel is a professor of Homiletics at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and has been working on the seemingly impossible task of helping future preachers speak about racism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their homilies.

She describes herself as “a white woman who wants to help other white people talk about race.” Her passion to do so is such that she wrote a book to guide their journeys: Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about Racism. It won the Academy of Parish Clergy’s 2018 Book of the Year Award.


Those who attend are invited to bring your experiences, questions, and hopes to unite our divided country, Church, neighborhoods, and families.

The suggested donation for the upcoming talks is $20 each. Participants can register at the door the evening of the talks. For more information and questions, contact Fr. John Oesterle at 412-232- 7512 or You are also invited to visit www. Pre-registrations can be made to the Association of Pittsburgh Priests, P.O. Box 2106, Pittsburgh, PA 15230.
The APP is a diocesan-wide organization of ordained and non- ordained women and men who act on our baptismal call to be priests and prophets. Its mission, rooted in the Gospel and the Spirit of Vatican II, is to carry out a ministry of justice and renewal in ourselves, the Church and the world. They are an organizational member of the Thomas Merton Center.

Joyce Rothermel serves as chair of the Church Renewal Committee at the APP
Originally published in VOL 49 No. 7, September 2019

Categories: News

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