Racial Justice Resources
Resources for students, parents, and families regarding racial justice and diversity.
We are living in provocative and stimulating times. The COVID-19 virus — the occasion for our pandemic — has highlighted longstanding racial inequities that are rooted at the foundation of our nation. We live in a country built with the labor of African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and immigrants from every nation in the world. Thus, we are a diverse nation.
Yet, as COVID-19 has made abundantly clear to us, neither equality nor social justice marks our diversity. The coronavirus is simply the latest light cast on our national history and its consequences. We are not an exceptional nation in this regard. Nonetheless, we are a nation that can recognized its exceptional opportunity to make important change that works to the benefit of us all.
Mercy is a diverse community as well. In diversity there is struggle, change, and myriad opportunity. Our work to educate ourselves in all the fundamentals we will need to succeed in life cannot be complete without recognizing the place that Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns occupy in that education. That is why Mercy resources top this list of resources available to you for now, over the summer, and as you rise to the next level of your education.
Review this list as often as you like. Select a new resource each time to familiarize yourself with what you do not know. Share what you learn with someone else. This document is dynamic and will be updated as we review more resources.
Please note: While these are all useful resources, some contain language that may be offensive to some readers and viewers. Mercy High School has developed an educational policy statement that moderates the use of offensive language in classes.
This document is dynamic and will be updated as we review more resources.
How to use this resource:
This resource list begins with documents and statements from the Sisters of Mercy, specifically the Critical Concerns. The Critical Concerns offer a solid foundation for anti-racism and ally work. Beginning by reading and reflecting on this brief but powerful statement of concerns will ground the reader in unassailable principles that matter and sustain in this work.
Once you have read and reflected on the Critical Concerns and other Mercy resources, select and article or book that is right for you.
- If you feel you need to learn more about diversity, privilege, or the current racial strife before moving forward, you may want to begin with Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, a book that helps readers understand that racism is not a behavior indulged in by bad people.
- If you want to get more history under your belt, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns or Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi are great (long) reads. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Beverly Daniel Tatum’s Why Do All the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria? are also great starts.
- Parents may want to begin with some of the 26 short films about race from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/learning/lesson-plans/25-mini-films-for-exploring-race-bias-and-identity-with-students.html. Or, perhaps the books marked (YA) can be read with your middle school student or teen to begin a family discussion.
- For those who are already engaged in this work or personal education around these issues, the list of readings and listenings may include items with which you are not yet familiar. Use the list to keep building your personal library of resources.
Open, honest, and clear discussion is imperative to the growth process. At Mercy High School, we use a framework from Glenn Singleton’s (a Baltimore native) Courageous Conversations* model. You can use the self-explanatory process for any challenging conversation, including conversations about race and difference.
The Four Agreements (with a bit of explanation)
1. Stay engaged.
- Learn to listen actively.
- Use active listening skills to stay connected to the conversation.
- Do not let fear push you off-topic. Focus.
2. Speak your truth.
- Speak for yourself, knowing that you do not represent your entire race.
- Know that your experience may not be universal.
3. Experience discomfort.
- Do not avoid speaking because you think speaking may be difficult, or that you might make a “mistake”.
- Listen without judgement.
- Believe the truth of another person’s personal experience.
4. Expect and accept non-closure.
- You are not going to resolve our history of racial conflict in one conversation.
- None of us alone has all the answers.
- Know that this discussion is best understood as a continuing dialogue for the good.
Use this model for discussion in your family, religious community, book club, neighborhood, work group, or any group where you can begin a fruitful conversation about race and current events.
Catholic Teaching on Racial Justice
- Pastoral Letter by Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore: The Journey to Racial Justice
- Pastoral Letter by Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore: The Enduring Power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Principles of Nonviolence
- Statement by the Maryland Catholic Conference of Bishops
- Letter from Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore regarding ministry to Black Catholics
- Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns, https://www.sistersofmercy.org/files/documents/resources/Justice/CriticalConcerns-1Pger-FINAL.pdf
- “For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies” by Courtney Ariel, https://sojo.net/articles/our-white-friends-desiring-be-allies
- “How Not to Appropriate: A Guide for White People,” by Courtney Ariel, https://sojo.net/articles/how-not-appropriate-guide-white-people
- A Timeline of Events that Led to the 2020 ‘fed up’ Uprising (spicy language, but useful reference)
- The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
- White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo (plus a free guide: https://robindiangelo.com/2018site/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/WhiteFragilityReadingGroupGuide.pdf)
- The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas (also a movie; she has other great books) (YA)
- Understanding White Privilege, Frances Kendall
- Dear Martin, Nic Stone (YA)
- The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
- How to be Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
- The Racial Contract, Charles Mills
- Waking Up White, Debby Irving
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
- White Like Me, Tim Wise
- Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X Kendi
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi (designed for Grade 7 and up) (YA)
- A Black Women’s History of the United States, Diana Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross
- When Affirmative Action Was White, Ira Katznelson
- The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein
- White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, Carol Anderson
- A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
- A Young People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn (designed for Grades 6-9) (YA)
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad
- So You Want to Talk about Race, Ijeoma Oluo
- Book link for parents with young children: Picture books for courageous conversations with your children
- This list is for older children, young adults and grown-ups! The best books about race to be reading RIGHT NOW.
- “Let it Fall”
- “The Hate You Give”
- “Just Mercy”
- “When They See Us”
- “I Am Not Your Negro”
- “Fruitvale Station”
- New York Times mini-films for students, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/learning/lesson-plans/25-mini-films-for-exploring-race-bias-and-identity-with-students.html
- “A Decade of Watching Black People Die”, https://www.npr.org/2020/05/29/865261916/a-decade-of-watching-black-people-die?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_term=nprnews&fbclid=IwAR0W1CtHdLVtsPUCopck5-gda4lfHM-4E-IqZ7YbDRAGjygt0h4huYkelmEh
- Seeing White, https://www.sceneonradio.org/s... Switch (NPR)
- “One Murder of Many: Subverting White Privilege to Save Black Lives,” https://sojo.net/media/one-murder-many-subverting-white-privilege-save-black-lives
- “Let’s Talk About Whiteness,” https://onbeing.org/programs/eula-biss-lets-talk-about-whiteness-sep2018/
- 1619 (New York Times)
- A School Library Journal interview with Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi who co-authored Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You. Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi Interview
Mental/Emotional Health Resources
- BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health) Collective
- Therapy for Black Girls
Other Resource Lists
- bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES or https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/preview?pru=AAABcr4J5Ng*OJD2dtZ65gQcn1Mu-KwWYA