Lamenting the devastating impacts of racism in the United States, claiming ways that our actions can and do perpetuate unjust systems, and seeking to engage our communities in ways that undo the racialization of American society are priorities that flow from FMC’s commitment to following Jesus.
A group called “FMC Works for Racial Justice” meets monthly. We seek to be informed and active in current community concerns, meeting with public officials and working in conjunction with other groups with whom we share objectives.
Committee contact person: Tammie Bouseman.
A few of our ongoing foci include:
- Fair Housing for formerly incarcerated persons, including working for the repeal of Section 17-4.5 of the Champaign City Code. This policy gives landlords the right to discriminate against former felons in search of housing for five years following their release from prison.
- Restorative Justice Practices within our church and the Champaign-Urbana Community. Bringing an Anabaptist perspective to issues of justice and continuing First Mennonite’s community involvement, several members have undertaken training in restorative practices. Some have engaged efforts in the local schools to enhance use of restorative practices as a way to address inequities in educational settings.
- Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery. A 15th century religious edict known as the “Doctrine of Discovery” created the philosophical, theological, and legal framework that justified Western colonization and continues to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands today. Guided by the work of the Anabaptist Coalition for Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery, we consider our own responsibility and ways forward.
Local Resources guiding the work:
- The 2017 Report and Recommendations Developed to Reduce Racial Disparities in the Champaign County Criminal Justice System, prepared by the Racial Justice Task Force of the Champaign County Board.
- The 2018 Champaign County NAACP Report: Criminal Justice System Reform: Moving to Transformation
- For further information on restorative justice in Illinois, visit Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice (IBARJ)