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Church in 94 Percent White Town Struggles With White Privilege

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Members of Fox Island’s United Church of Christ needed only a couple of outreach visits to the Northwest Detention Center to come to a realization.

Just about everyone visiting loved ones at the Tacoma Tideflats facility, where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees are held, were people of color.

The 130 members of the church are all white, save for two Asian families.

“We are painfully and sadly aware of our lack of diversity,” the Rev. Janet Matthews said.

That led Matthews and some church members to question whether they were doing enough to understand how their lives affect others.

For the past two months, some of the church’s members have been learning about white privilege — specifically, how they’ve benefited from it and how to dismantle it.

Church members are doing it by themselves, without the direct input of nonwhites.


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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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