Area Meeting in March included a workshop led by Edwina Peart, Inclusion and Diversity Coordinator for Quakers in Britain, and Kirsty Philbrick, our Quaker Youth Project Worker. We committed to finding ways to educate ourselves for a better Quaker response to ‘a sticky and difficult subject’ as Edwina put it.
One of the responses has been to set up an AM-wide book group, which has now met twice by Zoom. We discussed first Reni Eddo-Lodge’s anguished challenge “Why I am no longer talking to white people about race”. Of course, she does still talk to white people, but she is tired of having to rebut old prejudices, tropes and whatabouteries, so the discourse won’t continue unless it improves.
We found the second book, Emma Dabiri’s “What can white people do next?” to be a short accessible complement to Eddo-Lodge: seven ways to tackle the subject better.
We have also had an excursion to an art gallery – a rare activity of late. On the recommendation of a Bath Friend, a group of us went in person to view a (very small) new exhibit at the Holburne Museum linking the Holburne family’s wealth to their Caribbean plantations and other slave trade connections – without which many of the artefacts in the Museum would not have been bought and treasured.
Another response to the concern is the publication of a newsletter edited by Ruthie Howard entitled (what else?) Educating Ourselves. Ruthie invites you to subscribe to the newsletter for interesting articles, quotations, queries and images – just write to her at email@example.com to get on the mailing list. Or to read Issue 1 published in May, click here.
“Do not be content to accept things as they are, but keep an alert and questioning mind. Seek to discover the causes of social unrest, injustice and fear; try to discern the new growing-points in social and economic life.“
Extract from Advices (1964), quoted in Quaker Faith & Practice Chapter 23