First Presbyterian Church hosts discussion of race, racism

Published 12:05 am Sunday, March 5, 2023

SALISBURY — “Ignorance is not a bad thing, chosen ignorance is.”

Those are the words of Michelle Strong, who along with her husband Frank, hosted a three-week event discussing race and racism at First Presbyterian Church. The church’s Race Task Force puts on events every year to help create a dialogue between people of different races to talk about their backgrounds and stories. This year, they asked the Strongs to be in charge of these meetings. Michelle runs a nonprofit organization called Eyes (Embrace Your Elephant Scripturally) Table, which has a similar concept of people discussing race.

“This is about educating the community and towards hopefully moving the needle and learning about race and racism. Just the things that divide us. They want to educate and bring people of different races together,” Michelle said.

The third and last event included clips from the documentary film series, “Race: The Power of an Illusion.” The episode shown was titled “The House We Live In” and exhibits the economic, sociological and psychological ramifications of the Fair Housing Act. Other parts of the documentary were shown in earlier gatherings.

Through the meeting, people in attendance got to go over topics and were asked uncomfortable questions that forced them think about their part in how race is processed in America and all over the world.

“I’ve been intentionally working to pursue relationships with people of color. It is through knowing people for real that I get to really know what goes on in their world and that has given me a better voice to speak out for equity for all,” Dorothy Jane Cross Kozlowski said.

While the church is doing its part to come up with new ways to think about race, members are still aware of their role in how things got to the point where they are now.

“The church has been one of the things that has caused a lot of the problems so I feel like the church has a responsibility to try and be part of the solution,” Andrea Bullock, a volunteer at First Presbyterian, said.