Race & Social Justice Coalition
“It is the responsibility, yet the individual choice, of each of us to use the light we have to dispel the work of darkness, because if we do not, then the power of falsehood rises … Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice.“
–John Lewis, Across That Bridge
The Race and Social Justice Coalition, a diverse and committed group of faithful people based at a progressive Episcopal Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, dares to imagine a world free of racial oppression, poverty, educational inequality, and other forms of social injustice. By convening conversations, building partnerships, and engaging in direct action, it aims to help make that world a reality and ensure justice for all.
The group’s statement following the death of George Floyd:
The Race & Social Justice Coalition at St. Paul’s condemns the violent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless people of color by those who are supposed to protect them, a result of centuries of systemic racism in our country. We offer healing prayer for their families. We offer healing prayer for all. We commit to standing up and showing up as we continue to work for justice. We call for police reform and accountability. BLACK LIVES MATTER
The group meets every week to discuss current events, upcoming actions or advocacy, or books and media chosen for study. All regularly scheduled meetings take place Zoom on Wednesdays from 7-8:30pm. Check the calendar on this page to see all upcoming meetings. Contact Bob Giolitto for a Zoom link to the meeting. Newcomers are always welcome!
An accurate count of Norwalk residents ensures that future funding and resources match the needs of the community. The coalition seeks to make sure everyone is counted through community engagement and sponsoring local sign-up efforts. (Have you filled out your form? Responding takes just a few minutes! Click here for more information.)
Protests and demonstrations
Several coalition members attended a Black Lives Matter protest and march on May 31st, with plans to participate in future demonstrations.
Harry Rilling, Mayor of Norwalk, offered a “seat at the table” to all interested parties on a newly formed city committee on racial justice issues. Thirteen members of the coalition attended the mayor’s meeting to join the effort.
Feeding the hungry
Members deliver groceries to the homebound, including the sick, the elderly, and parents who cannot leave their children, by partnering with Person-to-Person. Members also volunteer at P2P’s food pantry in South Norwalk.
The coalition will focus its efforts in “getting out the vote” in the 2020 primaries and elections.
The coalition has read over a dozen books and watched several films and documentaries over the course of its weekly discussion group. The group is working to develop a curriculum for all interested in learning more about the principles of understanding racial justice. For a list of books, documentaries, films, and other media discussed by the group, click here.
In the course of its regular group meetings, the group has hosted multiple local experts and community advocates, including Jennifer Baharona of Norwalk ACTS, Bishop John Selders of Moral Majority CT, Denique Weidema-Lewis of Positive Directions, Margaret Suib of Fair Housing Norwalk, the Executive Director of Family Re-Entry, and Stephen Healey, Provost of the University of Bridgeport.
March 2020: True Justice screening
The coalition sponsored a free screening of the documentary True Justice, which chronicles the work of Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. The event, held in partnership with Norwalk ACTS, included a facilitated discussion following the screening.
January 2019: Let Justice Roll
Let Justice Roll, held in honor of MLK Day, was an evening concert and story-telling event at St. Paul’s featuring pianist, singer, and composer Mark Miller. The night included readings from texts the coalition had discussed, personal stories from the group’s members, and music led by the St. Paul’s choirs, directed by Mark Miller himself.
Contact the main office for more information on the Race and Social Justice Coalition, including what the group is up to this week.