Race Matters Friends Meetings

2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at Bethel Church, 201 E. Plank Rd., Columbia MO 65203

• First meeting of each month includes a potluck dinner beginning at 6:00pm, with the discussion beginning at 6:30. This meeting is intended as a shared educational experience based on the history of racial inequities, white fragility, etc. This helps us build a common foundation for our work.

• Second meeting of each month begins at 6:30pm and often features guest speakers on a wide variety of topics related to African American history, culture, as well as systemic racism. We invite candidates for local offices to discuss how they intend to advance racial equity.
We also use meetings to plan and report on our actions to dismantle racism in Columbia. 

• Meetings are filled with interesting and and often difficult conversations about race and racism. We encourage newcomers to take time to simply listen and absorb the content of meetings for a while before taking a more active role. Many members have been active in this group for years. If something in a meeting confuses or disturbs you, please talk to someone to gain some background. 

The final 10-15 minutes are reserved for mini “co-counseling” sessions based on the work of Re-Evaluation Counseling (RC) principles as a way to integrate the mental and emotional stimulation of our meetings. Go to https://www.rc.org to find literally hundreds of resources about applying re-evaluation counseling to the ending of racism (type “racism” in the website’s search bar). RC understands racism as one of the core systemic oppressions (along with gender, class, ableism, environmental degradation) that affect people’s functioning and thinking. By “discharging” (expressing stored tensions in our bodies through shaking, crying, laughing, yawning, fast and non-repetitive speech) on topics related to racism we think more clearly and act more effectively for justice and equity.

Upcoming Speakers

Wed, Mar 04 @ 8pm - RMF Goes to Ragtag: Welcome to Chechnya
- post-viewing discussion wiith filmmakers and subjects
Wed, Mar 11 -  National Bail Network
- Sharlyn Grace (via Zoom)

Wed, Mar 25 - Reparations
(Black History)
Discussion Panel:
- Khesha Duncan (moderator)
- Kevin Brown, PhD (intro)
- Stephen Graves, PhD
- Ayanna Shivers, PhD
Wed, Apr 8 - RMF Annual General Meeting
Wed, Apr 22 - Alternative Minimum Sentencing
- Elad Gross
- Cydney Mayfield
May (tbd) - RMF Annual Salon
Outside of Meetings: 

Much of our work takes place outside of meetings. Joining an ongoing effort is a great way to learn more about our work. If there is something you love to do, there is almost certainly a way that you can use that skill with RMF. Watch for Facebook and racematterscomo email list appeals for volunteers. 

Public Speaking: RMF began speaking regularly at City Council meetings in August of 2015 and continues to do so. Policing has been at the heart of many of our comments, but we have spoken about a wide range of issues bearing on policies and practices that maintain racial disparities in the city. We need more speakers. Contact: Ginny Muller at mullerv@missouri.edu. 

Social Media: We engage in advocacy and social action, and we use social and mainstream media to get our message out to the public. Those with social media savvy have helped to improve our information outreach.

The Arts: Artistically inclined members have created poems, quilts and paintings based on what they have learned at RMF. Research: Those with strong research backgrounds have initiated archival research on redlining in Columbia. An analysis of the Vehicle Stops Report is being tackled by those with statistics backgrounds. 

Writing: Preparing comments for social media alerts, City Council Comments, and Letters to the Editor are great tasks for those who like to write.
Being There: Members support RMF’s work at Council by sitting together in Council Chambers to support our speakers as well as listening and learning about the issues discussed by Council. Watch for news of other meetings where we will be participating. 

Criminal Justice: Our work in criminal justice includes court observation, attending meetings of the Citizen’s Police Review Board and other public events related to criminal justice. 

Book Club: We encounter so many relevant books. Someone could organize a book discussion group (or just read one on your own) and then report out to the rest of us.

We hope you will find your time with RMF to be stimulating, expansive and joyful. It is hard and challenging work. We invite you to broaden your perspective on what it means to be an American, what it means to be a citizen of Columbia, and what it means to create the Beloved Community. Join us!
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