Racial Justice

First Baptist Church-Madison has a strong tradition of social justice activism, but recent events have galvanized us into new action. We organized a discussion in June 2020 to see what our church was going to do in light of the racial injustices that were highlighted in the news. Participants were encouraged to identify individual actions to commit to in order to promote racial justice.

In addition to that, a Racial Justice Team (RJT) was formed to create and implement a program to educate ourselves on racial injustice and the ways it manifests itself in the systems that impact our lives.  Ultimately, we want to be a part of, individually and as a collective, solutions for healing and transforming the systems that perpetuate systemic racism.

Our goals are to:

  • educate ourselves about racial injustice and systemic racism through such means as reading materials, lectures, films…
  • dig deeper through dialogue and discussion
  • create individual and collective actions to promote racial justice
  • live in ways that reflect our new or enhanced awareness

We invite you to embrace your goals by:

  • investing time in exploring and learning
  • spending time in self-reflection to enhance your self-awareness
  • stepping outside of your comfort zones

We are grounded in Micah 6:8 (NLT) which says,

“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Please keep reading to see how we are living that.

FBC-Madison Racial Justice Newsletters

Discussion Questions for Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara’s January 10th, 2021 presentation: Complicity in the Making of Race-Based Slavery: From Roger Williams to the Cotton Kingdom.  

Dr Clark Pujara Discussion Guide.FBCMadison.WI



Fall 2020

Fall Sunday School Speaker Series/Self-Directed Curriculum


Summer 2020

Stamped Book Study: Discussion Guide

Stamped Book Study: General Explanation and Information

13th Documentary Discussion: Explanation and Questions

Shared Agreements






Stamped Discussion Guide

Members of the FBC Racial Justice Team and of the congregation of First Baptist Church, Madison, WI, worked together to create a discussion guide for Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi.  Members of our discussion group also had the option of reading this book: Stamped: Racism,  Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi.  Questions applied to both books.

Click Here:  Stamped Discussion Guide.FBCMadison.WI



Stamped Book Study

Starting July 26th, FBC-Madison will begin discussing the history of racism in the US.  We will read one (or both) of the following books:

Stamped From the Beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi


Stamped: Racism, antiracism, and you by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi.

These two books explore the history of racism in America.  One is written for adults while the other targets young adults from about the age of 12 on up.  Both books follow the same organization; the adult version contains more information and is more formally written.  The young adult version is more informal and more brief.  Reading either book will prepare you for participation in our online discussions.

Choose your book and join us for a series of discussions about the history of racism in America.

Please purchase your book individually.  We encourage you to use Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, a Black Woman-owned bookstore.  If you need assistance purchasing a book, please contact the church office.

Discussions will be held using Zoom and will meet on Sunday mornings at 9am for an hour on the following dates: July 26, August 2, August 16, August 23, and August 30th.  Check back for updates on discussion questions.

Bookstore options:

Stamped From the Beginning (ADULT)
Semicolon (Black woman owned bookstore in Chicago)
A Room of One’s Own (Locally owned)
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (YOUNG ADULT)


13th Documentary Discussion

July 19th, 2020, 9am

13th is rated TV-MA and is currently available on Netflix and YouTube (Youtube is streaming the full documentary for free).

Contact the church office for the Zoom link.  It is the same link we used for the June meeting.

Discussion Questions for 13th, the documentary

These questions were pulled from four discussion guides that are linked at the bottom of this document.  We encourage you to check out page 14 of this discussion guide by Amy Williams, as it is particularly thought provoking for Christians.  

This documentary has four primary themes: African Americans portrayed as criminals, Mass incarceration as replacement for slavery, Corporate interests shape prison population, and the Dehumanization of African Americans.

  1.  How did you feel after viewing 13th?  Did you feel helpless, inspired, stirred to action, or a combination of all three?  Do you think the message of the film was ultimately hopeful?  Why or why not?
  2.  How does 13th characterize our criminal justice system and political institutions?  How did this film shape your understanding of the prison system?  Was there a particular case or series of facts that altered or challenged any of your pre-existing views?  
  3. This documentary emphasizes that the current crisis of mass incarceration is directly tied to our country’s legacy and history of slavery.  By showing how slavery shifted to convict leasing, to Jim Crow segregation, to the war on drugs, 13th argues that “systems of oppression are durable and they often reinvent themselves.” As Angela Davis stated in the film, “Historically, when one looks at efforts to create reforms, they inevitably lead to more repression.” What do you think are some of the factors that allowed this system of racial control to simply evolve and replicate itself for the past 150 years?  What are ways to end this cycle?  
  4. Many politicians, including the Clintons, Newt Gingrich, and Charles Rangel in this film, have apologized for their role in promoting devastating “tough on crime” legislation.  Considering the billions of dollars made off the imprisonment of people, the ongoing practice of prison labor, and the cases of unjust imprisonment, is an apology enough?  Is our country compelled to repay these communities and families in a more material, restorative way?  Why or why not?

5 questions from our local Nehemiah organization’s discussion guide:

  • A Legacy of Slavery: What’s the underlying motive for the 13th Amendment leaving a loophole for slave labor?  Were you aware that the 13th Amendment still allows for some forms of slavery?
  • The Politics of Mass Incarceration: Before watching this documentary, were you aware that both political parties were complicit in creating the conditions that led to mass incarceration? 
  • African American Representation: How do you think media and popular culture representations of Black Americans, particularly Black men, have contributed to a climate of white fear and anxiety? How has that affected tough-on-crime policies? 
  • Black Stigma: How do you think media have contributed to the “dangerous black man” narrative?
  • The Humanity of Statistics:  This film is full of statistics, many of them startling. Which statistic stood out to you the most? Why do you think this is? What will you do with this statistic? 

Discussion Guides we used as resources:

Nehemiah Discussion Guide

Amy Williams, aHopeDealer.org Discussion Guide

Influence Film Club Discussion Guide

Education for Justice Discussion Guide

Shared Agreements

GROUP  AGREEMENTS  (via AORTA Co-op aorta.coop)

  • ONE MIC:
One person speaks at a time. We ask people to try to leave a few moments in between speakers, for those who need more time to process words, or are less comfortable interjecting in a conversation.
In any conversation, especially ones about systemic power (race, class, gender, etc.), we know that each person comes to the conversation with different levels of lived experience and embodied expertise. We also believe that each person has something to contribute to the conversation. We ask that we all practice being humble, and look for what we have to learn from each person in the room. It asks us to share what we know, as well as our questions, so that others may learn from us.
Often, when someone does or says something that causes harm or supports the values of oppressive systems, it is not their intention to do so. But when we use our good intentions to deny (or avoid being accountable) for the harm, more harm is caused. We ask that we each do the work to acknowledge that our intent and the impact of our actions are two different things, and to take responsibility for any negative impact we have.
This agreement is a twist on the one more commonly known as “step up, step back.” If you’re someone who tends to not speak a lot, we invite you to move up into a role of speaking more. If you tend to speak more, we invite you to listen more. The “up/up” confirms that in both experiences, growth is happening. (You don’t go “back” by learning to be a better listener. In fact, listening is a frequently feminized skill that is often seen as a lack of something. On the contrary, choosing to learn how to listen moves both you and the group “up.”)
We may wish we could! Often people feel hesitant to participate in a workshop or meeting for fear of “messing up” or stumbling over their words. We want everyone to feel comfortable participating, even if you don’t feel you have the perfect words to express your thoughts.
We make better decisions when we approach our problems and challenges with questions (“What if we…?”) and curiosity. Allow space for play, curiosity and creative thinking.