Montclair, NJ – Thirty years after the Undoing Racism Team of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair (UUCM) first brought trainers from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond to address systemic and institutional racism, the work continues with a presentation by the authors of Deconstructing Racism; A Path Toward Lasting Change. Barbara Crain Major and Joseph Barndt, expert trainers from PISAB, will discuss their work and its lasting impact. The book signing is set for February 8, from 7 – 8 pm in person at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, 67 Church Street, Montclair and via Zoom. To register, please follow this link: https://tinyurl.com/UUCMURTBCM
Wendy McNeil, a member of UUCM and Chair of the Undoing Racism Education Team that organized the event, states: “ It’s an honor to help introduce this important book to our community. It continues UUCM‘s activism in antiracist work to address systemic and institutional racism and by building coalitions in our area. The presentation of these two outstanding racial justice thought leaders ties in with our recent efforts promoting reproductive justice; encouraging the passage of legislation to create a reparations taskforce; and in saving the Howe House, one of the oldest homes in New Jersey that was once owned by James Howe, a formerly enslaved Montclair resident.”
UUCM has a long history of working with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB).
Margot Sage-EL, owner of Watchung Booksellers, remembers attending that first PISAB training offered at UUCM, then known as the Unitarian Universalist Church of Montclair: “The PISAB Undoing Racism and Community Organizing Workshop was one of the most consequential programs I ever attended. The timeline of America’s racial history, the group sharing of personal stories and the work to develop constructive rebuilding has guided my work and purpose over the last 30 years.”
Barbara Crain Major and Joseph Barndt together bring ninety years of experience as community organizers, teachers, and anti-racism trainers in community and church settings to this book. In Deconstructing Racism, they propose the deconstruction of racism’s roots within systems and institutions that have been created, both structurally and legally, to serve white people. The authors state that the deconstruction of racism can only take place through the reconstruction of our institutions.
The authors seek to unmask racism and the invisible patterns that keep it in place. There is no quick fix, but they believe racism can be deconstructed and undone. In order to do this, they identify and address race-based identity, history, and cultural issues rooted in current systems.
The books’ chapters address societal systems and provide anti-racism strategies for community organizers and the racism rooted in faith-based institutions. A final chapter outlines a way forward to and through a new era of anti-racist reconstruction. This way forward includes a new anti-racist mission statement, a new model of decision-making power, and new processes for accountability.
The evening will be moderated by Marta Esquilin, Associate Dean of the Honors Living Learning Community at Rutgers Newark, and a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant.