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Two days of exploration: Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America

October 28, 2013
Office of Public Affairs

The Episcopal Church will devote two days to the exploration of a critical topic: Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America.

This year marks significant landmark anniversaries in the struggle to end discrimination, provide equal rights and combat racism: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the pivotal March on Washington, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers, the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks.  In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.

On November 15, The Episcopal Church will host and produce the 90 minute live forum in collaboration with the Diocese of Mississippi. The forum will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS beginning at 1 pm Central (2 pm Eastern, noon Mountain, 11 am Pacific, 10 am Alaska, 9 am Hawaii).

There is no fee to view this live forum.  Access is available through the Episcopal Church website:

The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and PBS commentator Ray Suarez. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will present the keynote address.

The forum will begin with a thought-provoking video that explores the roots of the anti-racism movement in America. The video features the stories of leaders active in the civil rights movement in Mississippi, their reflections on pre-Civil Rights Era injustices and where they see hope for the future.

Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: Racism in America today – why does it persist? and Racism in America’s future – where is there hope for change?

Participating in the first panel – Why does racism persist? – are:

  • The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
  • Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams, civil rights activist and journalist and widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers
  • The Honorable William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi and founder of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

The second panel – Where is there hope for change? – will feature

  • The Hon. Byron Rushing, Massachusetts State Representative, civil rights leader and vice president of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies
  • Dr. Randy Testa, author, vice president of education at Walden Media LLC
  • Dr. Erma J. Vizenor, chairwoman of White Earth Band of Ojibwe, educator and community organizer
  • Tim Wise, educator and author of White Like Me, Colorblind and Affirmative Action.

Questions for the panelists can be emailed prior or during the forum to Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, at

Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later.  It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussions groups, and community gatherings.

Saturday workshops

On November 16, faith leaders and educators will gather to discuss and create curriculum and tools on the topics raised in Friday’s forum. The day-long event will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS.

The workshops and presenters are:

  • A Pastoral Response: the Rev. Neddie Winters of Mission Mississippi
  • Welcoming Table for Youth and Anyone Working with Youth:  LeRoy Clemons and Jackie Martin of the William Winter Institute
  • Racial Profiling: Who is Entitled to the American Dream: Merelyn Bates-Mims, the Bishop’s Task Force on Racial Profiling, Diocese of Southern Ohio
  • Tools for Organizational Response to Racism: Executive Council’s Committee on Anti-Racism
  • Racism Through Another Lens: “Yellow Peril”, “Enemy Aliens”, “Model Minority”: the Rev. Dr. James Kodera

In addition to the workshops, plenary presentations include Wise and Testa on Racism in America Today and another session on Where do we go from here? 

The workshops and plenary sessions will be videotaped for viewing on demand after the event.

For more information contact the Rev. Angela Ifill, Episcopal Church Missioner for Black Ministries.


Registration to attend the Friday webcast, the Saturday events or both here


Resources such as suggested readings, bibliography, videos, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available here



For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer,


Diocese of Mississippi


St. Andrew’s Cathedral