Let’s Talk Series Continues!
Painfully aware that the hyper-partisan divisions within our country and community make it difficult to talk with our neighbors about critically important social issues, the congregation has taken upon itself to host a series of forums to which people from metro-west are invited to discuss difficult social issues in a safe and honest manner. The subjects we initially chose to explore are racial and environmental justice in America. If these forums prove to be useful and lead to positive action, this series may be expanded to address other topics in the future.
Past Let’s Talk Topics
Rebuilding a Life: The Refugee Experience
Held November 12, 2022
Dr. Omar Bah, founder of the Refugee Dream Center in Providence, RI, offered stories from his own experience as a refugee fleeing The Gambia after being targeted by state violence for his journalistic work covering the human rights violations, political corruption, and injustice by the totalitarian regime. He also reflected on his experiences supporting other immigrants and refugees from throughout the world through the Refugee Dream Center. A discussion addressing how attendees can be part of the work of supporting refugees in our area followed.
Confronting the Crises in our Backyards with Rev. Mariama White Hammond
Held January 9, 2021
The Congregational Church of Weston held this virtual event on zoom with Rev. White-Hammond who spoke about the ways that
climate change and the pandemic have disproportionately impacted communities of color in Boston, and helped us start a discussion about how we might begin to address these issues. Follow-up groups were formed and met to further the discussion.
Unearthing the Root of Racism: A Conversation with Dr. Vincent Rougeau
Held November 23, 2019
We recognize that our country was built upon bondage, discrimination and racial privilege. Despite generations of struggle, and after sweeping changes in law, culture and individual beliefs, we continue to see profound racial disparities in employment, health, justice, education, housing, wealth and life expectancy. Dr Vincent Rougeau, Dean of the Boston College Law School led a conversation on the hidden face of racism in America. We explored what if feels like to be a black man growing up in a world that is frightened by you just because of the color of your skin; what it takes for a black person to succeed in the academic world, or professional fields like the law; and the contrast of this experience with that of white people, who have “privilege” just by being white.
Sustainable Values in a Climate Crisis World
Held April 28, 2019
Jim Antal, the former Massachusetts Conference Minister for the United Church of Christ, and author of the book, Climate Church, Climate World, visited Weston in April 2019 and let a discussion on ways our shared values, which have evolved over centuries and were taught to us from our childhood, will have to be rethought and reworked to accommodate a sustainable lifestyle for the future. Change like this is extraordinarily difficult to accomplish, but also absolutely essential to save our environment. Jim believes that institutions like churches, whose role it is to help people understand what is fundamentally valuable in their lives, are essential voices in articulating a new climate friendly value system for our communities, state and country.
Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
Held February 3, 2019
James DeWolf Perry, a member of the DeWolf family, a prominent slave trading family in Rhode Island in the late eighteenth century, came to Weston to lead a discussion on the role of Northerners in the promotion of the slave trade, and the advantages this has afforded all white Americans ever since. The discussion revolved around a PBS documentary about ten DeWolf family members, who retraced the triangle trade from Bristol, Rhode Island, to Ghana where the slaves were purchased, to sugar plantations in Cube where the slaves worked to produce the sugar and Rum that was sold in New England to finance the trade. This conversation awakened many of us to our role, albeit unintentional, in the legacy of racism and white privilege in America today.
CCW is a Level 1 green church and has, for many years, taken an active interest in the environment and climate change. We have been honored to host a community event featuring environmentalist Bill McKibben, and have also invited climate activists Jim Antal and Wen Stephenson to our pulpit. Members of CCW participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City, and one of our members participates in the Environmental Ministries of the Southern New England UCC. In 2019, we hosted a public discussion for people from different towns and faith communities led by Rev Jim Antal, author of ‘Climate Church, Climate World’.