Please join Rev. Barbara for a potluck dinner and to continue the conversation on race and diversity in Hopewell Valley that began at the Methodist Church in Pennington last February, Renata Barnes will be at St. Matthew’s Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 6pm for a potluck dinner and conversation. (Please bring a dish to share). She will help facilitate this really important conversation.
“If we’re all looking out for each other that means everyone is going to be better off. For those whose race doesn’t matter as it were, they don’t see it as an issue. But the conversations I have with my son, I tell him, ‘don’t put your hood up.’ I have experienced what it’s like to be ‘the element,’ or ‘oh there goes the neighborhood… I was never a slave, and you were never a slave owner, but this is what the not too distant past has done for both of us…Police shootings have been in the news, but this isn’t news to people of color. Most black people have three degrees of separation from someone who has been harmed by police. Everyone I know knows somebody, or knows somebody who knows somebody, who has been disappeared. Growing up my mother emphasized to me, you comply with everything police say…Talking about race and diversity is one of the conversations we have to have if we’re going to move on from where we are now.
Asked for an example of how things haven’t changed, Barnes shares an account of a job interview at a Princeton real estate office. She says when talking to people on the phone, they do not know she is black, but when she showed up for an interview, dressed formally, the receptionist’s greeting was, “Our deliveries come through the back.”
“I hear, thank you so much for doing this,” Barnes said. To her surprise, she’s also been able to have candid conversations. This creates an opening for individual reflection and perhaps change.