Since the beginning of antiracism work at St John’s we have been especially concerned with our history as a predominately white congregation in northwestern Chicago. How might have previous generations at St John’s unjustly taken advantage of their privileged status? We immediately learned that St John’s was gifted with ownership of land that had been forcibly and unjustly taken from indigenous people living in the Chicago area.
Accordingly, we developed a land acknowledgement plaque affirming that the church’s land was previously home to many different Native Americans. The plague has been installed in the front walkway on Kostner Avenue. The plaque dedication, however, was not able to happen due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our revised plan is to present a series of virtual events from now through the dedication event some time in 2021. Some of the possible opportunities which need your leadership and support include the following:
- Update the St John website to include resources and links about Native American people
- Support the development of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Chicago
- Organize installation of art by a Native American artist or artists in the church garden
- Plan and facilitate education and cultural events for adults and for children
- Sponsor one session of Sacred Ground, a film-based dialogue series on race and faith developed by the Episcopal Church. Session 3 is “Whose Land? Exploring Indigenous History”
- Develop other ways to include Native American perspectives during our regular worship services
- Promote, participate in, and help fund public events sponsored by Native American organizations
- Identify and invite indigenous leaders to speak at St John’s
- With guidance from indigenous people design the plaque dedication event (2021)
To assist with the Sacred Ground events, please contact Andria Anderson at email@example.com
We are working to develop and obtain more antiracism education resources for our child and youth group education.
Another opportunity is to attend “How Do We Talk To Our Children About Race” Virtual training sponsored by All Saints Episcopal Church – Fall dates to be determined.
To help out with this gathering education resources or for more information on the virtual training, please contact Courtney Hug at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Follow online and support organizations such as the Northside Coalition Against Racism & Hate, Portage Park For Action, Respect and Community (PPARC) and Neighbors for Affordable Housing.
Upcoming event Juneteenth Car Caravan on Friday June 19th 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. around the Jefferson Park neighborhood. Sponsored by the Northwest Coalition Against Racism & Hate. Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nwsidecoalition/ for exact location details.
Courtney Hug and Erica Zazo are St. John’s liaisons this year to the Northwest Coalition Against Racism And Hate. Please contact Courtney or Erica for more info at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Organize and Promote St. John’s Antiracism Library
We have two antiracism reading lists on our website:
Wrestling With White Supremacy – https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:47a7ac64-c173-4a72-82ff-39170001e6fb#pageNum=1
We have some of these recommended books in the St. John’s library. We are looking for volunteers to set up and manage a borrowing system for the antiracism books and perhaps set up a curbside pick up program. To volunteer for this project, please contact Laura Singer at email@example.com
Another Source for books – All Saints Episcopal Church has moved their Free Antiracism Little Library to 3856 W Eddy St Chicago, IL 60618, Front Porch, Corner of Springfield and Eddy (near Addison and Pulaski)
In 2020, initial team members were commissioned in February and have been meeting monthly to work on this 7 step pilot project with the Diocesan Antiracism Commission and CROAR trainers. We have taken steps to institutionalize antiracism work at St. John’s to make sure this doesn’t go away with time. As part of Step 3, we will be presenting a vision, mission, mandate and charter/by-laws document to the vestry in June to strengthen the structure to support antiracism work and create systemic change at St. John’s.
To get involved with the 2021 Congregational Antiracism Model Project, complete a recommended antiracism training in 2020 to be ready to begin work in January 2021. For more info on the Congregational Antiracism Model contact Laura Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org
RAIN UPDATE: Candles will be placed just inside the front doors of the church. Please light a candle and then step out.
If joining in person:
You must wear a mask and remain 6 feet apart from other attendees.
We invite you to light a candle and remain for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Please return home so that others may light candles.
This vigil in memory of George Floyd is sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church, the St. John’s Antiracism Team, and Friendship Presbyterian Church.
Sunday, May 31
The Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer
“‘I don’t think black people have ever not noticed birds, really,” said J. Drew Lanham. “Birds are allegories for freedom. Birds do things black people can’t.’
The plaque has been installed!
We will have a dedication and day of learning whenever we can safely gather. We hope this is the beginning of meaningful relationships with our Native neighbors, a continued commitment to care for the earth, and symbol of our anti-racism work. In an irony of history this land was “free,” given by Sheriff John Gray in 1887. The cost of building the church in 1888 was $1,963.00; the plaque cost $1900. It was cast by by the Bronze Memorial Company and installed by Lopez Concrete. Expertise and wording donated by Dr. Dorene Wiese, president of the American Indian Association of Illinois. Please stop by and read about our history in your next walk around the neighborhood.