IT’S BEEN A LITTLE WHILE since you’ve heard an update from the Reparations Committee, so we will now begin to issue monthly updates to the parish regarding our work on the various reparations proposals that the parish has developed. If you have forgotten what they are, there are three different education-based proposals; a proposal to discern incorporating the name of St. Jude’s into the St. Michael’s name; and offering space in our cemetery to the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force for any remains found during future excavation and construction.
In regard to the ‘non-educational’ proposals, plans are in process for celebration on St. Jude’s Day, and more significantly, the vestry negotiated language into our General Contractor contract regarding the hiring of Black subcontractors and vendors. We also did extra work to find and interview Black candidates for our own hiring, and blessedly were able to welcome Samuel Francois to our staff.
Working groups are being formed for both the Marshall-Murray Scholars and the Goddard-Riverside scholarship, and we are so thankful to those of you who are giving of their time and expertise to flesh out how these proposals might be put into action. Marshall-Murray Scholars has a larger scope and will require both participation and investment from other churches and church organizations, so our first step is to lay out a possible curriculum and program structure that would form the basis of our invitation to other churches’ participation. You can reach out to Juanita Pratt if you’d like to know more or get involved. Regarding the Goddard-Riverside scholarship, our current work is to determine the focus of scholarships – for example, whether it would help cover tuition or other expenses. You can reach out to Gregory Bryant or Carole O’Connor-Edwards if you’d like to know more or get involved. The proposal to sponsor a seminary student is paused while General Seminary undergoes a merger with Virginia Theological Seminary, but if you’re interested in this proposal, please contact Jeannie Terepka.
You might also notice that there are some beautiful signs hanging around in the parish house and on the fence that speak to our reparations work. Those signs also include a QR code that takes you to our brand new shiny reparations page on the St. Michael’s website. Thanks to Damon Hankoff for creating both the signage and the web page. We hope that putting this information out there will provide both transparency and witness to this important work.
Juanita Pratt gives an update from the lectern.