Not In Our Town is presenting a series of discussion questions for faith, community, and educational groups to use with the short video Charleston: The Days After.
Questions for communities:
- Which voice in this video was most memorable to you?
- Why did you find the message to be powerful?
- How do you think your community would respond to a hate crime attack?
- What do you think should happen to prevent a horrific attack like this in your town?
- What do you think keeps us from addressing the "elephant in the room" - the racism that continues to plague our country?
- At the end of the video, a faith leader makes a call for solutions. What steps can we take in our community to begin to overcome these barriers to addressing hate and racism?
Questions for faith leaders:
Reverend Dr. Luonne Rouse
Reverend Rouse is a United Methodist Minister who grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and has supported Not In Our Town for almost 20 years. In addition to partnering with NIOT, he works as a licensed marriage & family therapist in New York. Below Reverend Rouse provides questions for hosting a discussion with a congregation or faith group.
- How does the Charleston massacre present a call to change race relations in the country?
- Ask the group to rate the state of readiness for changes in race relations throughout in our country, our city, our house of worship, our school. Discuss why people gave the rating they did.
- After viewing the film, who do you believe presents obstacles to readiness for change in race relations? Is it possible to address those obstacles and/or move those people? How do we do this?
- What are our commitments to follow-up on conflict resolution in race relations in our community, our state and the nation?
- Looking at where there is the strongest readiness for change, how can we take action to move forward? What should change in race relations look like in faith communities; organizations, governments, etc...?
- How would a lifetime of focused love and teachings on forgiveness with reconciliation erase hate-crimes in the United States of America?
Rabbi Sydney Mintz
Rabbi Mintz has served at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco since her ordination in 1997. A long-time supporter of Not In Our Town, she has used the NIOT origin story in her sermons. Below Rabbi Mintz provides questions for hosting a discussion within the Jewish community.
- How did the video make you feel? What does the video make you want to do?
- What are questions that come up from the video that you would want to ask if you were in Charleston right now?
- In the Bible, the story of creation includes the phrase "B'tzelem Elohim," that all humanity is created in the "Image of God". Does this video and the peoples' experiences in Charleston reflect that idea? How does this account for the fact that we are actually all different and that striving for equality does not mean striving for sameness?
- What does it take for people of different races to feel compassion or connection to one another in a city like Charleston? What do you imagine has happened since that time in Charleston?
- Where do you see the golden rule or the idea "Love your neighbor as yourself" in your own life or in this country?
- What is the difference between what is portrayed in this video and other examples of racism and violence against the African-American community in the United States?
Reverand Robert Rybicki
Reverand Rybicki is an Episcopal priest with the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and was also recently received as an assisting priest at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Below he provides questions for hosting a discussion with a congregation.
- How is Paul's teaching about the Body of Christ relevant to this tragedy?
- How could we apply Jesus's teachings from the Sermon on the Mount to this situation?
- How could Jesus's teaching on loving your enemy be used to produce social change?