The Racial Justice Committee began our compilations with the references cited in the NH Conference United Church of Christ The Process for Becoming a Racial Justice Church, and added suggestions from various congregation members.

The compilations are split between Books and Other than Books (i.e. magazine articles, video, web-pages, podcasts), and are as follows:

Highlighted Materials

Criminal Justice References

Statistics related to Criminal Justice in NH

Jim McCloskey

We received a suggestion from Russ Gates (one of our presenter’s on the 26th) to “look into Jim McCloskey’s work.  McCloskey is a pastor advocating for the rights of the wrongly convicted with his Centurion Ministries, which re-investigates and provides legal representation and post-release support for the wrongly convicted, even taking on cases with no DNA evidence”.

 Jim McCloskey’s presentation with author John Grisham for Centurion

 Terry Gross interview of him, with transcript

Current Events

Food for thought in light of current events as they relate to Criminal Justice:

Failed response to Capitol riot shows deep divide over police use of force ( (includes images of National Guard standing in force on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this summer for the peaceful BLM protests versus the images from 1/6)

President-elect Biden’s plan for Criminal Justice Reform

House And Senate Democrats Propose Change to 13th Amendment, Ending Slave Labor in Prisons | Colorlines

Bryan Stevenson

Resources either by or about Bryan Stevenson, the founder/executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).  “Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.”

Bryan Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy

Movie Dramatization of Just Mercy  (also on HBO Max)

Discussion Guide for the movie from The Equal Justice Initiative

True Justice:  Excellent HBO Documentary about Bryan Stevenson (free)

Brand new Krista Tippett interview with Stevenson that ties in the faith aspect

Good lecture on Race and the Criminal Justice System at Stanford:  (Stevenson comes on at 5:00)

Between the World and Me

The HBO television special of Between the World and Me (one of our spring book club readings) became available as of November 21st.  In addition, here is an article relating to its development, how it came to be.

A Word about White Privilege

You will note that the UCC Guide highly recommends that we learn about the concept of white privilege as a helpful context for the social justice journey.  We remind our congregation that a couple years ago, we together read the book by Debby Irving, Waking up White. We will revisit this book, the issue of white privilege and other racial awareness concepts throughout this year.  Additionally, we encourage everyone to read a short article on White Privilege by Peggy McIntosh, originally published in 1989; as well as view “How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion”: Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools.

Latino Americans

In 1993, the UCC 19th General Synod adopted the pronouncement thatcalls upon the United Church of Christ in all its settings to be a true multiracial and multicultural church. A multiracial and multicultural church confesses and acts out its faith in the one sovereign God who through Jesus Christ binds in covenant faithful people of all races, ethnicities and cultures. A multiracial and multicultural church embodies these diversities as gifts to the human family and rejoices in the variety of God’s grace.” 

And so, while our study to-date has emphasized the African American experience, it is not our only focus.  Premiering on PBS in 2013, “The Latino Americans was the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S.”  It is 6 hours / 6 episodes:  as is currently available for free.  The parallels and intersections with Many Rivers to Cross are intriguing.

Slavery & the Underground Railroad in NH

As an adjunct to Renée Rouse’s lecture and the New London Library presentation of Noyes Academy, this book recommendation from the NHCUCC adds detail to some of the stories we heard, and expounds on others.  Informative read.  The book talks about persons in slavery, including those at Dartmouth;  some notable Black individuals (Amos Fortune, Richard Potter, Harriet Wilson, George Blanchard, and those at Noyes Academy); the Abolitionist movement; the efforts of the Underground Railroad; and present-day commemorations.  Some of the undertones are eerie and historically repetitive.  It is available with Kindle Unlimited, and also for around $20 at various book outlets.  A copy will be available in the church library by 12/11