How Does Your White Privilege Impact Your Volunteer Work?

How Does Your White Privilege Impact Your Volunteer Work?

Old First consciously works towards racial equality by educating ourselves and by advocating for those who face discrimination based on the color of their skin. Once a month, a small group of parishioners join together to discuss their book of the month. The topic of the book is always relevant to current and past racial events. If you haven’t been to church in a while, you may have missed our huge signs facing Race and 4th Street that let the community know we are taking a stand against racism.

Being cognizant of the privilege that we (self included) white people have is the first step in working towards relating to our neighbors and advocating for racial justice. The article below is written by a Case Manager Supervisor at Bethesda as he reflects on his privilege as a white man in a position of power over the shelter guests who are predominantly people of color. Perhaps you haven’t thought about the ways we inadvertently add trauma to our shelter residents. Most of our volunteers are white, the office staff are white, and many of the people who are offering help, sympathy, and prayers for them are white people. Sometimes our good intentions have a negative connection with our guests because of their own life experiences, as well as their generational and societal trauma. I hope that you will take the time to read the below article and reflect on the ways you are being the church and bringing the church to guests at the shelter and cupboard.

Working Toward Racial Justice in an Emergency Shelter

(From generosity. org , originally posted on 09/04/2019)