In the fall of 2015, I joined four fellow young adults from the Diocese of Massachusetts on a pilgrimage to Ferguson, MO, with a group of young (mostly) Episcopalians from all over the country. During this pilgrimage, we explored the church's role in racial reconciliation and were left with a commission to “go, find your Ferguson.”
The idea of this commission is that racism is alive and well all over the United States, and the social, economic and political forces that lead to the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson is unique to the time, place and history of Ferguson, MO. We are not called to try to recreate what happened in Ferguson, but to get to know our cities better.
Most of us who went on the pilgrimage to Ferguson are new to the Boston area. We discerned that a good place to begin was to educate ourselves on the history of racism here in Boston. Life Together fellows Adiel Pollydore, Dominique Bocanegra, Ashton Murray, and Eliza Marth, and the Rev. Jack Clark of St. Elizabeth’s, applied for a Life Together Community Grant to launch our exploration. We partnered closely with the Boston University Campus Ministry to host a screening of “Mission Hill and the Miracle of Boston” documentary that explores the development of Mission Hill, the history of Irish immigrants, and the role of racism in the projects of this neighborhood.
We reached out to the Harvard Campus Ministry, other Life Together Fellows, and friends in the area who are also new to the Boston area. Over a tasty meal, we watched the 1.5 hour film and discussed our thoughts and emotions about the film.
We left with heavy hearts, but with energy to continue exploring the history of our new city. Several of us are deeply invested in getting to know Boston better. Partnering again with the Boston University Campus Ministry, we are looking forward to continue learning and exploring so that we can take more informed action in the future.
I give great thanks to the Life Together Community Initiative Grant Team, especially Kelsey and Mia who provided wonderful support for this event, and catalyzed a budding relationship with the BU Campus Ministry.