21-Day Racial Equity Challenge

As part of Hope’s God’s Work Our Hands “21 Days of Hope” series, join us In a 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. Pledge to spend a few minutes of time each day for the next 21 days in prayer and study around issues of racial justice. We invite you to use these  daily prompts to explore how God is calling each of us to respond to issues of racial injustice in our world. 

 Day 1: September 21, 2020

For our Day 1 Challenge, let us pray this prayer together:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son.  Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unites us in bonds of love; and, through our struggle and confusion, work to accomplish your purposes on earth; so that, in your good time, every people and nation may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne.
      Lord in your mercy
      Hear our prayer.
O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams.
      Lord in your mercy
      Hear our prayer.
O God, call us into a deeper relationship to be your church for the sake of the world. Help us to see with new eyes the injustices within church and society. Call us to have a loving heart that respects and uplifts the humanity and dignity of every person; open our ears to listen to and learn from the experiences of people of color. Open our mouths to speak up and about injustices. Join us with others to work for racial equity and inclusion for all people.
      Lord in your mercy
      Hear our prayer
Trusting in your mercy and goodness, we bring before you these prayers and whatever else you see that we need, in the name of the one who heals all divisions and makes all things new, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
© 2015 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

 Day 2: September 22, 2020

For our Day 2 Challenge, watch this video:

Finding Myself in the Story of Race, TedX by Debbie Irving



Day 3: September 23, 2020


For our Day 3 Challenge…
Read this article: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh

 Day 4: September 24, 2020


For our Day 4 Challenge…

Take a look at these short 1-minute videos on systemic racism from the organization Race Forward.  https://www.raceforward.org/videos/systemic-racism


 Day 5: September 25, 2020


For our Day 5 Challenge…

ABC’s show “What Would You Do? Bicycle Thief Edition” explores the impact of racial and gender bias and prejudice at a family friendly park. Does this video surprise you? https://youtu.be/ge7i60GuNRg


 Day 6: September 26, 2020


For our Day 6 Challenge…

Watch this TED Talk from human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2tOp7OxyQ8&list=WL&index=28

Stevenson is founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of the best-selling book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Look for a Hope Lutheran Church book study on Just Mercy, coming soon! The book was also made into a movie; consider watching this when you have a chance: https://www.justmercyfilm.com/

In the feature film and the TED talk we learn some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives.


 Day 7: September 27, 2020


For our Day 7 Challenge…

Reflect. Pray. Sabbath.
Take today as a flex day.  If you’ve missed a few of the racial equity challenge days or haven’t had time to delve into the videos and articles as much as you would have liked, use today to catch up.  Consider journaling, blogging, or facebooking about your experiences so far.  What have you learned?  What emotions have been sparked in you through this journey so far?  Take some time for prayer, asking God where and how you are being called to respond. 

 Day 8: September 28, 2020

For our Day 8 Challenge…
Hope Lutheran Church is part of a denominational body, the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).  Ever wondered what the ELCA has to say about racism?  
Read the ELCA’s Social Policy Resolution, Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric  

 Day 9: September 29, 2020

For our Day 9 Challenge…
Watch this powerful sermon responding to the death of George Floyd: A Special Message from Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III – May 31, 2020

 Day 10: September 30, 2020

For our Day 10 Challenge…

Check out one or more of the episodes of The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.  It is free to watch on Amazon Prime –  https://www.amazon.com/African-Americans-Many-Rivers-Cross/dp/B00G9U4DDA  Each episode is an hour long; check it out whenever you get a chance.  


 Day 11: October 1, 2020

For our Day 11 Challenge…

Listen to the first podcast “The Fight for a True Democracy” in the powerful series “1619” by the New York Times Magazine.

https://nyti.ms/37yMFWQ or https://www.iheart.com/podcast/326-1619-48877024/  


There are also accompanying essays (if you have NY Times access). All the podcasts and essays are worth listening to and reading if you have the time.


 Day 12: October 2, 2020

For our Day 12 Challenge…

Check out one or more of these short articles from Living Lutheran:  https://www.livinglutheran.org/tag/racial-justice-and-covid-19/  

“COVID-19 has uniquely impacted communities of color and their lives and ministries. In this series, we will feature ELCA Racial Justice reflections from each of the ELCA Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministries associations, focusing on racism and racial disparities amid the coronavirus.”  –livinglutheran.org


 Day 13: October 3, 2020


For our Day 13 Challenge…

Read the article “Paternalistic Racism of Nice White People” by Pastor Angela Denker:



 Day 14: October 4, 2020


For our Day 14 Challenge…

 Reflect. Pray. Sabbath.

Take today as a flex day.  If you’ve missed a few of the racial equity challenge days or haven’t had time to delve into the videos and articles as much as you would have liked, use today to catch up.  Consider journaling, blogging, or facebooking about your experiences so far.  What have you learned?  What emotions have been sparked in you through this journey so far?  Take some time for prayer, asking God where and how you are being called to respond.


 Day 15: October 5, 2020


For our Day 15 Challenge…

How do we as a community of Christ talk together about issues of racial justice?   Watch this webinar: Becoming the Body of Christ – Condemning White Supremacy where over 450 participants joined Bishop Kevin Strickland of the Southeastern Synod – ELCA, and several panelists on Thursday, May 21st 2020 for a conversation around “Becoming the body of Christ where all bodies are valued: A conversation around the ELCA’s resolution to condemn White Supremacy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAatEgzrSnA


 Day 16: October 6, 2020


For our Day 16 Challenge…

You may have heard the term “microaggressions.”  Microaggressions are subtle and often unintentional statements of prejudice.  Read this article “Dear anti-racist allies: Here’s how to respond to microaggressions” for more information on what microagressions are and how to respond to them.  https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/05/health/racial-microaggressions-examples-responses-wellness/index.html


 Day 17: October 7, 2020


For our Day 17 Challenge…

Take a test to find out your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics. Project  Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.    https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/index.jsp


 Day 18: October 8, 2020


For our Day 18 Challenge…

View, read, and pray this week’s Weekly Scriptures and Prayers on Racism from the National Council of Churches: http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/topics/weekly/


Day 19: October 9, 2020


For our Day 19 Challenge…

Make a commitment to continue in your practice of learning about racial justice!  One way you can do this is by joining us at Hope Lutheran Church in our upcoming book study of Just Mercy.  Click here for more information about the book and about the movie based on the book.  If you are interested in joining the book study, which will be held via zoom beginning in late October, email pastor@hopeonbluerock.org

Other ways to continue upon this path might be to read additional books or watch more movies.  See below for lists of options.


A short list of books to help in understanding racism, privilege, and antiracism work:

  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates—A deeply personal letter to his son about how to be a black man in America, how to deal with trauma, and how that trauma came to be. Painful and beautiful and difficult.
  • The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James H. Cone—An accessible look at the history of American Racism and black spirituality; perhaps a Letter from Birmingham Jail for our generation; by the grandfather of Black Liberation Theology. 
  • How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi—A raw look at American Racism from multiple disciplines and how to become a better ally. (Also available: How to be an Antiracist Workbook)
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, Robin DiAngelo—Another hard read because DiAngelo challenges readers to examine their own actions and intentions; you will come away from this book changed.
  • Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US, Lenny Duncan—Duncan is an ELCA pastor in New York calling the Lutheran Church to account with love and ferocity.
  • White Allies in the Struggle for Racial Justice, Drick Boyd—Read one chapter at a time of this hopeful book and let it settle for a bit: stories from the last 400 years of white folk seeing the injustice of racism and doing what they can with what they have to help.
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander—A history of how we have arrived in an era of mass-incarceration and its connection/continuation of slavery. Excellent book, a little bit more on the academic side.


A curated (and by no means complete!) list of movies to help us work on antiracism:

  • 13th—A compelling look at the mass incarceration of black men, the drug war, and the historical thread from slavery to Jim Crow to today. Written and directed by Ava DuVernay.
  • A Time for Burning—A Documentary and classic Lutheran film from 1966 about a pastor attempting to build bridges in Omaha.
  • Do the Right Thing— Spike Lee’s classic, critically acclaimed film about a couple of hot summer days in Brooklyn in the 1980s. Eerily relevant to this summer.
  • Malcom X— biopic starring Denzel Washington chronicling the life and transformation of a polarizing and misunderstood civil rights leader.
  • Moonlight—Academy-award-winning, intimate portrait and “coming-of-age” story of a black man. 
  • 42—A biopic of Jackie Robinson biopic, a good entry-point for those unfamiliar with critically conscious film: Harrison Ford as Branch Ricky. Could be watched as a family (contains brief graphic racist language).
  • 12 Years a Slave—A raw look at the horror of slavery.
  • Blackkklansman— A “comedy” based on the true story of a black detective who infiltrated the KKK in the 1970s. Contrasted with tear-jerking footage from 2017.
  • When They See Us— “In the Spring of 1989, five boys of colour are arrested, interrogated and coerced in to confessing the vicious attack of a woman in Central Park.”
  • Selma—Critically-acclaimed and Oscar-winning biopic of a particular moment in the Civil Rights movement.
  • Dear White People— Both a movie and a series, black students on a college campus navigate the white world that thinks of itself as colorblind.


(lists curated by Pastor Alice Connor, Matthew Petersen, and Edge House student Patrick Chavis)


Day 20: October 10, 2020


For our Day 20 Challenge…

View the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge and related resources at https://www.elca.org/racialjusticepledge

If you feel comfortable, sign the pledge to commit to study, prayer, and action to become an anti-racist individual in an anti-racist church.


 Day 21: October 11, 2020


For our Day 21 Challenge…

You did it!!

Congratulations on completing the 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge.

Reflect. Pray. Sabbath.

Consider journaling, blogging, or facebooking about your experiences throughout this challenge.  What have you learned?  What emotions have been sparked in you through this journey?  Are there any actions you will take or behaviors you will change as a result of engaging in this study?  Take some time for prayer, asking God where and how you are being called to respond.