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United Methodists Stand Against Racism in Carol Stream

Posted: September 1 2021 at 07:06 AM
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On Sunday, August 29, 2021, United Methodists from Saint Andrew UMC in Carol Stream and First UMC of West Chicago gathered together to take a stand against racism as part of the conference-wide DIY Rally Against Racism efforts this summer.

About a dozen members marched from St. Andrew UMC on Gary Avenue where they joined community leaders and other church members for a socially distanced rally at the Ross Ferraro Town Center in Carol Stream. Together with United Methodists throughout the country, those gathered expressed their support for policies that undo the legacy of division brought by racism. As Mark Manzi, one of the organizers of the gathering said, “yes, we have made progress, and we appreciate that. People have worked hard for that. But we still have a long way to go.”

Many of those who were there felt compelled to do something more to put their faith into action. Longtime Carol Stream resident, Barb Farley, said she was present, “to do something more than just read about being anti-racist and to actually put it into action.” David Meisner, another resident, emphasized that this action grew out of his connection with other churches throughout the country, saying, “I’m here to stand against racism because our social principles as United Methodists say that we should.” Dr. Mark Manzi also voiced how this action was faith-filled, saying, “I’m here to make my voice and my feet work together to show that racism is incompatible with Christian teaching.”  Rev. Michael Mann, pastor at St. Andrew UMC, echoed a statement by a retired Bishop Sally Dyck, who intoned Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel to say marching against racism is putting legs to our prayers. 

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As the marchers gathered at the town center, many spoke out about their beliefs. These included Dr. Manzi, Steve Mecker, Rev. Mann, Lucy Nelson (of West Chicago), and Barb Farley. Rick Geiser, Village Trustee, was also present and spoke about how the Village of Carol Stream has taken a proactive approach to addressing racism through valuing diversity and through the kinds of dialogues set up by the village’s Social Service Division. For nearly a decade, the Social Service Division, along with the leadership of Carol Stream, has done actions like the Martin Luther King Day celebrations held at Wheaton Christian Center church. The Social Service Division has also held circle conversations that have included police, leaders of the NAACP, and local citizens. Quite a few who were present had taken part in those conversations and expressed appreciation for those efforts.

Many expressed hope that this gathering would be a first step in continuing efforts against racism. That includes not only individual attitudes and thoughts, but continual improvement in educational and employment opportunities as well as enhancing the conversation between police, village officials, and those most impacted by racism in our community.

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