In November 2017, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings hosted the “Faith Based Forum & Dialogue on Racism and Patriotism” event in Columbia. Supported by Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, who represents District 13 in the Maryland House of Delegates, the program brought together Howard County faith leaders and persons of faith — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Unitarian Universalist, and others — to talk more honestly and openly about issues of race and racism.
That evening’s program was the first step. To continue the community dialogue, faith leaders from six Howard County congregations hosted a four-part series of “Courageous Dialogue about Race” small conversation circles that ran from February to May.
Comprised of 10 to 12 persons, each conversation circle took place on the fourth Tuesday of each month beginning Feb. 27 and then March 27, April 24 and May 22, from 7 to 8:45 p.m. at six places of worship throughout Howard County: St. John Baptist Church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Beth Shalom Congregation, Glen Mar United Methodist Church, Maryum Islamic Center and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
The conversation circles feature trained facilitators who guided participants through a process of uncovering biases and then developing and practicing new behaviors to change those biases. They believed that the more we share honest dialogue with one another, the more adept we’ll become at confronting our own implicit biases and dismantling racism in our communities.
The program was a huge SUCCESS!
In 2017, the leaders of several faith communities who are members of PATH came together to promote courageous conversations about race and religious bias among diverse members of our Howard County community.
Check out this dialogue from last year featuring Representative Elijah Cummings