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Jun 23

Taking Steps in Listening and Learning about Race

By Marsha Mayo & Esther Circle Members


I was excited to support Shandon Klein’s suggestion to study the book White Fragility with the newly formed UMW Esther Circle. Wow, it was a deep and emotional study on racism addressing the subtle ways it is perpetuated in our modern culture. It took a lot of courage for our group to show up, open our hearts and minds, and have honest and real discussions on race and racism. Esther Circle officially started in January 2020, and this was the first program the group tackled. Such courageous women. Esther Circle is also the most diverse circle with regard to age and race. With the pandemic and the social unrest, this has been a time of deep reflection for me. I struggled with some of the book’s content and didn’t always like how it made me feel. I am so thankful that I got to walk through difficult feelings and uncomfortable admissions with a wonderful and loving group of women. It is time to speak up, and if not us then who?

Thank you, Esther Circle. 
– Marsha Mayo, UMW President 2019

 

Thoughts From Some Esther Circle Members

White Fragility is an insightful and challenging read that started me on my anti-racist journey. I’ve always agreed with the statement: growth happens outside your comfort zone, and this book proves it. I learned so much from the book, and processing it with the Esther Circle has been life changing. It brought my privilege as a white woman, my racist upbringing, and my racist thought processes to my awareness. Having this insight has changed the lens through which I view the world and current events. For me, this is only the beginning. I’m starting the book So You Want to Talk About Race and educating myself through blogs and documentaries. I want to be an advocate for change and help others understand and unlearn racism, white privilege, and white fragility. I will no longer be silent.

– Shawna Lewis


I don't want to be color-blind. I love colors and want to see all of them, hear all of the stories behind them that make them beautiful. I want to be part of the healing just as Jesus was and is, because everyone is welcome in my heart and my life. The more I learn, the more I grow in Him who saved me. Oppressing the world around me oppresses my growth in Him and for Him and His purpose to love and unite. Thank you, Robin D’Angelo, for an eye opening book on my own white fragility.

– Shannon Sharp


My experience reading the book White Fragility and discussing what we read with my UMW Esther sisters was eye opening. It was emotional for me to hear how as a whole society, we continue systematic racism of many cultures and races.

– Cynthia Shamblin


Reading White Fragility has helped me see that racism is not simply an act of an individual but a complex system that I have grown up and been socialized in. I get uncomfortable when race is brought up, but the group discussions have helped me begin to be okay with that discomfort. Talking about these complex issues is the only way we can work against the racist systems all around us.

– Heather Rindfuss