Peacemaking is a skill that requires practice and repetition. Without it, it is difficult to know how to respond when encountering racism in Kansas City, in our families, and wherever we find it. At our last gathering, Nick Pickrell and Iman Al-Hassan led an interactive workshop aimed at equipping people with practical tools to disrupt, distract and diffuse tense situations, especially when race is involved.
Nick is the Curator of The Open Table, so most of the people reading this will know him. But for those who don’t, in addition to being our Curator and founding pastor, Nick is an activist, musician, and performer and is a Kansas City native. He has led numerous workshops on nonviolence and de-escalation, and has had 10 years experience utilizing these skills. He is also heavily involved with local groups, Stand Up KC and Cherith Brook Catholic Worker.
Our co-presenter that night was Iman Al-Hassan, an international activist, volunteer organizer, poet and humanitarian in the making. She is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. She is in pursuit of a career in global health, in order to participate in alleviating suffering of marginalized populations across the globe. Iman is currently a supervisor and a health coordinator for Life Unlimited, a company that supports adults with developmental disabilities. Also, Iman is currently working with The Muslim Civic Initiative in Kansas City to enlighten Muslim communities to vote and become more civically engaged.
In his “sermon on the mount” Jesus speaks of God’s people as being makers of peace. Not to be confused with keeping the peace, being a maker of peace means actively interrupting cycles of violence and oppression. Jesus modeled this throughout his life in the first century, as he regularly challenged the economic, social, and political systems that oppressed so many. With this theological frame, Iman and Nick led us through a series of small group exercises in which each person had the opportunity to practice the skills of intervening when someone near them was harassed, or when a family member said something racist. Using the nonviolent communication process, we practiced speaking up and speaking out. For specifics on this, see the handout link below!
Following are some of our corresponding resources. We did not do an audio recording this time due to the workshop format, but we welcome you to check out any of the podcasts in this series, which began on Oct. 23, 2017 and ended Jan. 30, 2018. You can also check out our blog posts from that same date range to see the recaps and resources from each night.
We are incredibly grateful to our guest teachers who shared their time, wisdom, and experience with us throughout this series on race: Dr. Angela Sims, Dr. Nancy Howell, Minister Kiku Brooks, Rev. Jose Martinez, Father Turbo Qualls, PaKou Her, Mama Hakima Payne, Sandra Enriquez, Angela Martellaro, and Iman Al-Hassan. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Our next gathering will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO, and will be a contemplative service of music in the manner of the Taizé community.
Books, Articles, & Podcasts
Force More Powerful, by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, by Marshall Rosenberg
Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman
Dissident Discipleship, by David Augsburger
What Would You Do?, by John Howard Yoder
Allyship Post-Trump, by Hoda Katebi
The Art of the Protest, by Tina Rosenberg
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ-KC)
Showing Up for Racial Justice Kansas City (SURJ KC) is a local network organizing white people for racial justice, and is part of the national SURJ network.
One Struggle KC
One Struggle KC is a coalition of community activists seeking to harness the energy of Ferguson, Missouri in an effort to connect the struggles of oppressed communities, locally and globally.
Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2)
MORE2 is an interfaith social justice organization united in a commitment to transform communities by creating a metropolitan area that embraces all people and offers the opportunity to achieve their greatest potential.
Stand Up KC
Stand Up KC supports fast food and retail workers from across KC coming together to demand good wages and a voice for low-wage workers.
God, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine One, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
If you would like to contribute to the cost of our shared meals and conversations, we invite you to donate by texting the word “give” to 816-656-3310.