Dear Friends,

When I was a campus minister I used to take college students to Montreat, a Presbyterian conference center nestled in the mountains of North Carolina for the yearly College Conference. In January of 2011 we had the privilege of hearing from civil rights activist, Congressman John Lewis. As he began telling stories about being one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, about sit-ins, and marches, and his other non-violent civil rights work, we were mesmerized, finding strength, determination, humor and great hope in his stories. One of his encouragements in particular stuck with me. He said, ”When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something, do something! Get in trouble! Good trouble, necessary trouble!

After the murder of George Floyd, as people were speaking out, protesting, and posting to their social media accounts I found myself wanting to say something too. I wanted to demonstrate that I was standing in solidarity with the Black community but it seemed anything I could say would fall short. Within a few days people started posting black squares to their Instagram accounts as a way of muting the self-promotional contents of their own accounts in order to amplify Black voices. But, by the end of that same day I began seeing others post that we should not post a blackout photo as it takes up space, drowning out Black voices. I didn’t know what to do. Should I post a blackout photo or not? Should I say something or not? In my confusion and fear of messing up, I did nothing.

But that is the problem. I literally saw something not right, something terribly unjust. I watched the video of a police officer with his knee upon a black man, crying out, “I can’t breathe!” and I did nothing.

I know I am not alone. That is why I want to invite you to join me and the rest of the staff at First Presbyterian Church, Bend in taking a 28 day challenge in which we will Lament, Listen, Learn, Look, and Love. We will lament how we have been complacent and complicit in racial injustice. We will listen to the voices of Black people, learning from those voices as they speak to us in articles, books, quizzes, and podcasts. We will look at how racism infects our own minds, our own communities, even our church. And we will love.  We will put what we are learning into loving action. There will be regular opportunities to come together (via Zoom) to have conversation around what we are learning, daily journal prompts for individual reflection, as well as a closed Facebook group where we can interact with one another.

My hope and my prayer is that at the end of 28 days we will have a better idea of how to stand in solidarity with the Black community, how to speak up, how to love well, and how to get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.

Please sign up for this 28 day challenge! I look forward to making this journey with you.

Grateful for you,

Rev. Kally Elliott, Pastor for Spirituality, Community Life, and Pastoral Care

The Challenge

Every Day you will have the opportunity to Listen, Learn, Lament and Love through different articles, videos and podcasts.

Reflect each day in the your 28 Day Challenge packet there is a journal spot for you to reflect and write down your thoughts.

Share your reflections through out the 28 Day challenge in our Facebook group or in Zoom discussion groups.

Pray for the places you are challenged and for those you are learning about whose lives may be different than yours.

Download the 28 Day Challenge Guides

The Guide The Guide - Parent's Edition

Join The Challenge

Take a few moments to register your participation.  Please add your name to the wall below, and add your email address to receive daily reminders and updates for the 28 days of this challenge.

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Listen. Lament. Love - 28 Day Challenge


Watch:  What does peanut butter and jelly have to do with our brains and bias? Who Me? Biased? comes from a selection of short films about how our brain works and how that impacts us in ways that we may not realize. We recommend that you watch the first 2 videos in the series–“Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Racism” and “Check Our Bias to Wreck Our Bias.” They will automatically play in order. Look for more from them later in the challenge.

Journal Prompt: Why are you joining this challenge?  Do you have any specific hopes for these next 28 days?

Watch:  The Cross and the Lynching Tree:  A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss.

Journal Prompt: There is an often-neglected prayer language in the Bible for our travels through a broken world: lament. Lament talks to God about pain. Lament also has an element of trust and hope in God. It is an insistence that things cannot remain the way they are and they must be changed.  Such prayers are partly an address to God, but they are also a communal resolve to hang in and take trans-formative action.


Option 1: Watch and listen to one of these short videos from the NYT on racial identity in America.

Option 2: Watch and Listen: What It Takes to be Racially Literate.  Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo (A 10 Minute TED Talk).

Journal Prompt:  What struck you as surprising in the stories you heard in either the NYT videos on racial identity or in the TED talk?

Option 1:  Take this eye opening privilege self-self-assessment to find out where you are on the spectrum.

Option 2:  Read:  “Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Race” from the PBS docu-series, Race: The Power of an Illusion (5 minutes).

Option 3:  Study the Week One lesson from the PC(USA)  Facing Racism Study Guide.

Journal Prompt: Have you ever felt racist yourself? Be open and honest about this because even tiny things like a sarcastic joke or an internal opinion can be included in racism. Why do you feel as though you’ve formed this opinion and do you want to change it?

Test Your Awareness: Do The TestThis video shows us the importance of paying attention, and how much more we see when we are looking for particular things around us.

Journal Prompt: Now, watch some ads on youtube, tv, or another form of media.  Who is represented in these advertisements?  Who is missing?  Write down your answers in your journal.  What is the racial mix of the main characters in your favorite TV shows? Movies?  Write down your answers in your journal.

Read:  Speak Up! Responding to Everyday Bigotry, fromThe Southern Poverty Law Center (5min)

Your brother routinely makes anti-Semitic comments. Your neighbor uses the N-word in casual conversation. Your co-worker ribs you about your Italian surname, asking if you’re in the mafia. Your classmate insults something by saying, “That’s so gay.” And you stand there, in silence, thinking, “What can I say in response to that?” Or you laugh along, uncomfortably. Or, frustrated or angry, you walk away without saying anything, thinking later, “I should have said something.” When a Native American man at one roundtable discussion spoke of feeling ostracized at work, a Jewish woman nodded in support. When an African American woman told of daily indignities of racism at school, a white man leaned forward and asked what he could do to help. When an elderly lesbian spoke of finally feeling brave enough to wear a rainbow pin in public, those around the table applauded her courage. Using the stories of real people, this guide helps you to navigate those spaces and those conversations.

Journal Prompt: Have you ever been uncomfortable when someone made a racist joke or comment?  Did you do anything in response?  Why or why not?  Are there times when it is okay to let a racist joke or comment slide?  Why or why not?

Journaling: Spend a few minutes reflecting on these questions.  You are invited to write down your reflections in your journal.  In what ways were you aware of your racial/ethnic background when you were growing up? How would you describe that background? In what ways has your racial/ethnic background shaped your current values, habits, practices, ways of worship, and personal priorities?


Check your email for a video to be e-mailed to you today.


Light a candle and find a quiet space and then read out loud, “Lamentations 5 for 2020”, pause after reading to sit quietly.  Read it again out loud or silently.  Pay attention to the feelings that come up for you.

Journal Prompt: Write a lament about how you have hurt others with racist comments or actions or how you have been hurt by racist comments or actions.


Listen to Podcast, Black Like Me:  Dr. Alex Gee brings his Black Like Me Live conversation to the podcast as he talks with a former white police officer. Chad Melton is now a pastor but brings his law enforcement experience to the conversations. Dr. Gee also connects with Anthony Ward, a former African-American police officer, to add a new perspective to recent events.

Journal Prompt: What feelings came up for you as you listened to this podcast? Did those feelings challenge you?  What will you remember from this conversation?

Option 1:  Take a quick quiz from the publisher of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism,” Robin DiAngelo, PhD, to see if you exhibit “White Fragility” traits.

Option 2:  Watch “Debunking Myths About Race”

Author Robin DiAngelo (3 Minutes) Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility,” unpacks common excuses white people make about race–and how to address them.

Option 3:  Study the Week 2 Lesson from the PC(USA) Facing Racism Study Guide.

Journal Prompt: What is something specific that you learned?  How will you integrate this learning into your daily life?

Look at

Check out a graphic on national data, that shows that even when controlling for poverty, African Americans are dramatically more likely than whites to become homeless.

Journal Prompt: How much do you know about homelessness in your city?  What would you like to know about homelessness in your city? How might you begin finding answers to your questions?

Do:  Google whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation training. Write to your city or town government representative and police chief and advocate for it. The racial make-up of your town doesn’t matter.

Journal Prompt: How do you feel about the police in your city?  If you could ask the police chief any question what question would you ask?


Explore this webpage on the PCUSA website.

Specifically, watch the video (second video posted on page) on the Belhar Confession.  For extra conversation, listen to the podcast at the top of the page.  One way to listen when you think you don’t have time is to put on some headphones and head out for a walk or run, clean your kitchen, start your laundry, listen in the car as you run your errands.  You can listen while still getting stuff done!

Journal Prompt: How does your faith affect the way you feel or think about issues of racism and racial justice?


Check your email for a video to be e-mailed to you today.



Listen to one or all of the songs on this album by Naomi Wachira.  Look up the lyrics, pay attention to her words.

Journal Prompt: What feelings came up as you listened to the music? Did any of Wachira’s lyrics touch your heart?


Listen to this podcast:  My Father Stood for the Anthem for the Same Reason that Colin Kaepernick Sits

Journal Entry: How have your feelings about America changed over the last several years? What makes you proud to be an American?  What makes you worry about America?  What makes you ashamed to be an American?


Option 1:  Read “Who Gets to Be Afraid in America,” by Ibram X. Kendi.

Option 2:  Read “America’s Racial Contract is Killing Us,” by Adam Serwer.

Option 3:  Study Week 3 in the PC(USA) Facing Racism Study Guide.

Journal Prompt: Have you ever felt threatened or afraid in a public space because of your skin color?  If not, have you ever thought about what it might be like to feel fear in a public space because of your skin color?


Option 1:  View this info-graphic on the different levels of racism.

Option 2:  Take Project Implicit’s Hidden Bias tests, created by psychologists at top universities, to uncover some of your own unconscious biases. Remember, having biases doesn’t make you a bad person—it only makes you human.

TIP: Proceed as a guest to access their library of tests and find out your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, skin tone, and other topics.

Journal Prompt: Have you been surprised by your own biases or your level of racism?

Donate to anti-white supremacy work such as your local Black Lives Matter Chapter, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Negro College Fund, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change, The Sentencing Project, Families against Mandatory Minimums, A New Way of Life, and Dream Defenders.

Journal Prompt: How do you feel about giving to an organization you may never have supported before?  What excites you about supporting a new organization?  What worries do you have?

Option 1:  Look at this chart about micro-aggressions.

Option 2:  Read this article on micro-aggressions.


Journal Prompt: Have you ever used any of these phrases before?  How might you change your language so as to avoid using these microaggressions?


Check your email for a video to be e-mailed to you today.



Listen and watch: “I Just Want to Live” 


Watch: For those of you that don’t understand, every black mother has to tell her son these things!

Journal Prompt: Write a lament for all the mothers and fathers who have lost sons and daughters because of racism.

Listen to the Podcast: Scene on Radio, How Race Was Made

Journal Prompt: What did you learn from this podcast?


Option 1:  Read: The Unbearable Grief of Black Mothers.

Option 2:  Study Week 4 from the PC(USA) Facing Racism Study Guide.

Journal Prompt: What elements do a confession and apology require?  Do you believe racial reconciliation in our country possible? What gives you hope?  What makes you doubt?

Option 1:  Watch  “Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture” The Clark Doll Test: Then and Now (13 minutes)Based on the original research used in Brown vs. Board of education, “renowned child psychologist and University of Chicago professor Margaret Beale Spencer, a leading researcher in the field of child development, aimed to re-create the landmark Doll Test from the 1940s.

Option 2:  Read:

Journal Prompt: Who is filling what kinds of jobs/social roles in your world?  Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?

Learn about and give to one of these organizations.

The Conscious Kid:

The Wanted Project:

Journal Prompt:  How have you been stretched during this study? Has your perspective shifted in any way?  If so, how?

Watch the video of Stated Clerk, The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II

Journal Prompt: How do you think the church and/or religious community has handled the issue of racism in society and in the church/religious community? What is one small step (y)our church or place of worship can take in order to eradicate racism in our society and our religious community?


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