The Advocate needs abut 10 more narratives before it can begin work on its second racial narratives compilation. Your story is welcome.
Its first book, “Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists,” was published in 2018 featuring a foreword by South Carolina United Methodist Resident Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, and edited with an introduction by Advocate editor Jessica Brodie. It featured 20 personal narratives from people about their own racial awakenings, such as a white Air Force trainee whose eyes were opened while traveling with an African-American classmate on a train through the 1960s South, and a young African-American girl who first realized she was Black when she encountered a playground bully on an Upstate South Carolina jungle gym.
Given recent racial disparities and other racial justice awareness efforts, and given how well-received the first book was, the Advocate has decided to produce a second book. Brodie said she has already collected many additional and “highly compelling” racial narratives in the last few months and hopes to receive at least 10 more this fall before she begins layout on the book.
“We must talk about racial issues and racial awakening in the name of Jesus and His call to love all people as ourselves,” Brodie said.
Anyone with any tie to South Carolina United Methodism is welcome to submit. Submissions should be 500-1,000 words and include your name, church name and city and be a personal reflection about how your eyes were opened and you experienced a racial awakening in your life.
Email your narrative to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Oct. 31.
About the first book, Holston said, “My hope is that you will not only read this book, but that by hearing these stories you will look for opportunities to have conversations about race that make a difference in your community—and that encourage and inspire others to live into God’s preferred future with hope.”
The Rev. Carleathea Benson, chair of the South Carolina Conference Ethnic Local Church Concerns Committee, called it “an important read for anyone seeking racial awareness, healing and change.”
Brodie is hopeful the second book will bring more needed awareness and understanding.
“Your story doesn’t need to be dramatic to make a difference,” she said. “The important thing is that we all talk together so we can foster understanding—and, through, understanding, love.”