GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A group formed at a Quaker church is working to be anti-racist.
The first time working group member Rudy Gordh can remember paying close attention to racial issues in America was when he got to college. He was a student at Guilford College in the 1960s during the integration of schools.
“I was a student at Guilford College down the road here on Friendly Avenue and arrived in 1962 which was the year the first African American student was admitted,” Rudy said.
That exposure is what set the foundation for the work he’s doing today alongside his wife and church family.
He, his wife, and 4 or 5 other First Friends members formed a smaller group called the Working Group to Undo Racism.
“The Working Group to Undo Racism has been established since 2017 and we try to do exactly what our name says. Undo racism in any way that we possibly can impact that,” said Rudy’s wife, Lou Gordh.
The group works to find ways to be anti-racist. It’s a concept they’re still working to truly understand.
“We started by educating ourselves. Trying to educate ourselves as much as possible. Reading lots of books, having speakers, and talking, seeing videos, zoom conferences, things like that to educate ourselves,” Lou said.
Education was key for another member, Vicki McCready. She says she grew up sheltered from any talks about race, civil rights and social justice.
“I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee in the 50s and 60s when the civil rights movement was happening. And a lot was going on in Nashvill,e Tennessee at the time. I didn’t know anything about it. It wasn’t talked about at my school, my high school, it wasn’t talked about at my church and it wasn’t talked about in my home. So I missed out on a lot,” McCready said.
Being a part of the working group has helped Vicki and the other members learn more about how racism is woven into the fabric of our society, the struggles people of color face, and themselves.
This group isn’t just all talk. They’re about action too. One thing they know how to do well is making a statement. One of their latest conversation starters was a sign they put up outside of First Friends Quaker Church that reads “Racism harms us all.” It’s the third sign they’ve installed that speaks out against racism and bigotry.
They hope the signs are sparking conversations outside the church, just like the ones they’ve been having with each other.
While we have indeed come a long way since the 1960s, this group wants to bring awareness to the progress still left to make and help it move forward.
The group welcomes anyone — member or not — to come and join. They also welcome the voices of people of color to continue to educate them on the best ways to combat racism. Worship services at First Friends are held Sunday mornings at 9 and 11.