By Joyce Rothermel
The Racial Justice Summit, formerly known as the Summit Against Racism, is a flagship event for Pittsburgh organizers. The Summit creates opportunities for attendees to learn, connect, and act on behalf of racial justice. Its founder, the Black and White Reunion, began in 1998 with the mission to bring together organizations and individuals intent on eliminating racism and becoming allies in the struggle for human equality.
The 22nd Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit will be on Jan. 24-25, 2020 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Avenue in East Liberty. It will be preceded with a Town Hall on Tuesday, December 10. This year’s theme is: “1619 Decolonize Our Histories; 2020 To Reclaim Our Humanity.” The opening ceremony will be held on Friday, Jan. 24, with the Summit following all day Saturday, Jan. 25.
The organizers of the Summit state firmly: “If you don’t like the world you’re living in, change it. Starting from you. Allow what you want to radiate out from you. To not do this is to forfeit your capacity for love. We have an amazing ability to create a new world that radiates from each of us.”
Together they proclaim:
–We, the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit, believe that racism is a tool of white supremacy that operates on individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels.
–Ignorance, prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination are all aspects of racism.
–Racism was used as a means to commit genocide against indigenous populations and to enslave Africans for economic gain.
–Whiteness was created and is maintained through laws and policies that advantage white people and negatively affect non-white people.
–The ideology of white supremacy has shaped cultural behaviors and beliefs which produce cumulative and chronic adverse harm for non-white people.
–Because it is passed on through our culture, racism shows up in personal interactions, even among those who are well-intentioned, often without awareness.
–Racism damages relationships and causes psychological harm to both the oppressors and the oppressed.
–The Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit organizes from a western-oriented position and acknowledges the shifting nature of white supremacy worldwide.
To find out more about the 2020 Racial Justice Summit, to volunteer and to register, visit www. pittsburghracialjusticesummit.org
Joyce Rothermel is a member of the Editorial Collective of the Thomas Merton Center.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 40 No. 10. December/January, 2019/2020. All rights reserved.