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ARC was formed in 2015 as part of the Summit Interfaith Council’s response to the murder of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, in August of the previous year. Recognizing that systemic racism is a fundamental aspect of American life and present in all its institutions, including, and perhaps especially, law enforcement and the criminal legal system, the Council formed ARC as a standing committee to lead the Summit-area community in addressing issues of racial oppression and inequity, both locally and in the larger world. 


Since 2015, ARC has developed and engaged congregations and individuals in numerous anti-racism programs and events. Chief among these are Dialogue Circles on Race (DCoR), five-week, facilitated discussion groups based on select materials in which awareness is raised of white privilege, systemic racism, racist thought, and how to be change agents for racial justice. In 2018, we launched DCoR 2.0, offering a deeper dive into understanding and dismantling systems of racial hierarchy and oppression. DCoR is offered twice annually, in the late winter/early spring and the fall. Since 2015, about 1,000 people have participated in DCoR.


Also beginning in 2015, ARC created the STAR program (Strong Teens Against Racism) to develop racial justice leaders among Summit-area youths. The program offers professional racial equity training and community building over several weeks and empowers youths to use their knowledge and skills to promote racial justice in their congregations, schools, and communities. Leaders emerging from STAR have organized community events on racism, including vigils and film and panel discussions, which hundreds of area residents have attended. In 2018, ARC added Teen Facilitator Training to the STAR program, which is professional training to give teens the skills and knowledge needed to facilitate tough conversations around racist incidents in their schools, communities, statewide, and nationally. STAR training and Teen Facilitator Training are offered annually.


In 2016, ARC began offering periodic community Education and Engagement programs, which have included book discussions, prominent speaker events, and community forums, all aimed at educating participants about racism and inspiring them to work for racial equity.


In 2018 and 2020, ARC offered professional Racial Equity Training (RET) to Summit-area clergy and civic leaders; we plan to offer the training again in late 2023/early 2024. The RET fosters effective leaders who can recognize and name systemic racism, help others become anti-racist, and work collaboratively across different segments of the community to promote racial equity. One outgrowth of the RET has been the formation of the Summit Policing Workgroup, in which community leaders work with the Summit Police Department to change culture, policies, and protocols in ways that promote racial equity in the Summit community.

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