Pastors husband learns about racial righteousness
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:57 PM
ARLINGTON Chris Jones had an interesting experience that he would like to share with his community.
The husband of the pastor at Arlington United Church, Jones joined a four-day racial righteousness workshop, touring the Pacific Northwest paired with a partner with a different ethnic background.
We traveled together to process and reflect on some of the cross-cultural issues that various ethnic groups have faced and still face today, Jones said.
The tour, called the J2M, or Journey to Mosaic, was modeled after the Sankofa Journey which began in the 1990s in West Africa. Sankofa means looking back to go forward, Jones said. The Journey to Mosaic refers to the mixing of many different colored materials to reflect the spirit of unity.
In the United States, the concept was launched first by the Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Jones tour was organized by the Pacific Northwest Conference of the ECC.
Jones partnered with a Latino, born and raised in the U.S., Pastor Moises Garcia, from an ECC church in Hillsboro, Ore. and the group included Chinese American, Japanese American, African American and Native American people along with those of European decent.
The group of about 35 mostly ECC members, traveled Nov. 8 - 11 around the Pacific Northwest: They traveled to Tacoma to hear about the Immigrant Detention Center; to Prescott to learn about the Vista-Hermosa Community and the Broetje Orchards; to Toppenish to learn about Celilo Falls and the struggles of the Yakama Nation; to White Swan for a powwow and talk with native American veterans; to Portland to visit the Columbia River Correctional Facility where they learned about the Home for Good community based re-entry program; to the Wing Luke museum in Seattle to learn about the Japanese concentration camps and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; and to Rainer Valley to learn about the Urban Impact Ministry and the Emerald City Bible Fellowship. They attended Sunday service there. All this in about 60 hours.
While on a bus between destinations, they viewed films: The Color of Fear, Dying to Live, Celilo Falls and the Remaking of the Columbia River, A Century of Genocide: The Residential School Experience, Race, The Power of An Illusion The House we Live In, Becoming American: The Chinese Experience and Going for Glory, Going for Broke: the 442nd Story.
The J2M was inspired by Revelation 7:9, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
J2M is meant to open the eyes of the participants to the injustices that have occurred in the past and to those that are happening today and to begin the process of reconciliation, Jones said.
When you grow up without personally experiencing such injustices on a daily basis you are often unaware of the pain people suffer at the hands of other people.
Jones said he was especially moved when he learned of the injustices that Chinese immigrants faced in the late 1800s when they were brought here to build the Northern Pacific Railroad.
When the construction was completed there was an excess of labor and white workers feared their wages would be undercut, the Chinese were ordered to leave Seattle and Tacoma by Nov. 1, 1885. On Nov. 3 about 200 Chinese remained. Some 200 men led by the mayor rounded these people up, corralled them at 7th Street and Pacific in Tacoma and marched them to the train station to board a train to Portland. This process of expelling people came to be known as the Tacoma Method, Jones said.
The group also reviewed the history of Executive Order 9066, when 120,000 American citizens of Japanese descent were moved to concentration camps after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
They lost their homes, businesses, and land and were allowed one suitcase only, Jones said. Then after they joined the military to fight the enemy, only about 10 percent of the estimated $4,000,000,000 in property was returned.
Jones said the Pacific Northwest Evangelical Covenant Church will offer more J2M tours in the future.
I highly recommend this experience your eyes and heart will be opened.