As a result of the difficult and tragic events around the country last summer, our church has found our interest reinvigorated in racial justice and equality here in the United States. Many of us are realizing that there is still much work to be done, here in Weston, at First Parish Church, and in our larger community and region.
The work of our Social Justice Task Force and the work of the Weston CARES Fund inspired a larger discussion among our congregation about ways that we might be able to make a difference. As a result, a group of us began working with the Standing Committee last winter to research and identify minority-run non-profit organizations making a difference in the Boston area. We used our network, hosted at least one focus group, and spent several months learning and talking with different people.
Out of these conversations, we invited the leaders of two different organizations to come and speak during a service here at First Parish Church. On February 28, Officer Daryl Owens, the founder and director of the Boston Teen Police Academy, shared some of his own powerful story and why he founded this outreach and enrichment program for at-risk youth in Boston. Then on March 7 we heard from Tony Richards, the founder and executive Director of No Books No Ball. Tony recounted how he founded this after-school program for low-income kids almost 30 years ago and what a difference this program has made in many young people’s lives.
On April 4, Easter Sunday, two of the leads from our Racial Justice Project Team presented a proposal for our congregation, one that hopefully excites and inspires us in the months and years ahead.
Bruce Peterson and then Janie Plank offered a few words about these two organizations we have identified, vetted and wish to support. The material referred to in their remarks are posted here: