Racial Justice Ministries

Racial Justice
Ministries

No one is free until we are all free.

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co·con·spir·a·tor
(way of life) | to be an agent of change who disrupts and challenges ideologies and systems of oppression, driven by a love for and belief in the transformative power of the Beloved Community

Racial Justice Ministries at Scarritt Bennett Center seeks to create a world that eradicates white supremacy and its acts of racism. We aim to shift the narrative of racial justice from white allyship to diving deeper into the work of becoming co-conspirators, who dedicate our lives to the work of justice and therefore welcome the struggle.

Racism is not a BIPOC issue. Racism is a human issue. It is primarily the work of white people to dismantle white supremacy in white spaces; it is the work of BIPOC people to heal from racial trauma. Together, the work of the community is to create a new norm, a new society, a new way of being in community that reflects life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. But before we get there, we need reflection, confession, repentance, reparation, and finally reconciliation.

That is the work of a co-conspirator.

White man having a serious conversationResources for Growth
It is the work of white people

to dismantle white supremacy in white spaces and white communities.

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It is the work of BIPOC people

to heal from the trauma and culture of racism in BIPOC communities with a generational impact.

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Five Tenets of Racial Justice Ministries
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CONVENER
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We serve as host for summits, conferences, trainings, facilitated conversations, town halls, community meetings, and retreats as we create sacred space for teaching and dialogue virtually and in person.

CATALYST
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As a historically white institution, we serve as a co-conspirator to women of color who want to start nonprofit and/or not-for-profit organizations by offering access and resources to support their launch, success, and sustainability.

COLLABORATOR
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Big or small, we work with local and national organizations with shared values to push forward the work of racial justice individually, organizationally, and systemically.

EDUCATOR
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As a historically educational institution, we seek to develop innovative curricula that teach groups, non-profit leaders, organizations, and individuals how to be active agents of change.

STORYTELLER
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Amplifying the voices and experiences of the marginalized is a priority in the work of justice. Therefore it is embedded in our work and present in every training, conversation, and workshop. Storytelling is our way.

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Salama Circles: A Call for Black Women Across the Globe to Heal and Be Free

Salama Circles: A Call for Black Women Across the Globe to Heal and Be Free

Salama is a Swahili word that means safety. It has a historical etymological relationship with the Hebrew word shalom (“peace”), the Arabic salaam (“a greeting”), and Portuguese salamo (“flying or soaring”). The word points to the freedom that comes with being safe as you enter and dwell in a particular space or community.

Scarritt Bennett Center, in collaboration with The Global Arts and Theology Experience (GATE), presents Salama Circles: an intentional respite and safe space for Black women all over the globe to soar, to be free to express emotion, and release pain and anger for the sake of healing. Salama Circles is a virtual series that invites Black women all over the globe to directly address issues of grief, joy, pleasure, and burden by engaging in conversation about the intersectional realities that Black women face daily, and how they impact particular kinds of trauma and exclusion.

Salama Circles also offers resources and models of healing that allow Black women to reclaim joy and pleasure as mechanisms of liberation.

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Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie
DIRECTOR OF RACIAL JUSTICE MINISTRIES

Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie has served as Director of Racial Justice Ministries at Scarritt Bennett Center since 2019.

In 2010, Rev. Jean-Marie completed her Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. During commencement, Rev. Jean-Marie was awarded the coveted Florence Conwell Prize for outstanding preaching. In 2012, Rev. Jean-Marie was ordained into the Christian ministry by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, TN where she served as an Associate Minister. Rev. Jean-Marie completed her Chaplaincy work in Atlanta, GA in 2014 offering up the ministry of pastoral care and counseling to a diverse community of all walks of life and faith traditions.

Rev. Jean-Marie is a co-contributor for the African-American lectionary, three book projects: These Sistas Can Say it, Partner Prayers for Advent 2014, and Prepare: An Advent Devotional 2019 with the Bethany Fellows Group (Disciples of Christ). Rev. Jean-Marie is a Bethany Fellow (Disciples of Christ) and a member of the National Consortium of Black Women in Ministry – Nashville Branch, and serves as the Vice President of the Fellowship of Black Disciples Clergywomen.

Rev. Jean-Marie leads her ministry with a vision to form Scarritt Bennett Center into a leading voice that proclaims love, justice, and radical hospitality.

Cherisna smiles at the camera while sitting in church pews
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