Processing Racialized Violence with Students

The following post kicks off an emphasis on Racial Reconciliation. Our hope is that the content shared provides a starting place for a larger conversation around race in the church. We invite you to join us as we wrestle with these issues.

Written by Jennifer A. Guerra Aldana, Irene Cho, & Brad M. Griffin for Fuller Youth Institute:

Stories of racialized violence erupt in our newsfeeds with little warning, leaving some shaking their heads in a sort of resigned disappointment while others experience the re-traumatization that accompanies victims of discrimination and violence. Some of us take to social media brandishing hashtags or to the streets in protest. Others gather to pray, or organize to petition lawmakers for help. What most of us can agree on is the tragedy of the word “again.”

Here at FYI, we wonder, How long, oh Lord?

How long until we stop adding names to the list of cities that have become known as bywords for violent racial injustices—cities like Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and Charlottesville? How long until we stop adding names to the list of bodies brutalized and killed primarily over skin tone—names like Trayvon Martin, Dajerria Becton, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, or Tamir Rice?

In the meantime, it happens again. And again. Each time we wonder how we can help leaders and parents like you process acts of racialized violence with the kids and teenagers in your ministries and homes. Our conversations often stall around the complexity of feeling like we need to “get it right” or that we won’t be able to cover such complex topics in a way that will really help young people learn to navigate these waters well, including learning how to grow through their mistakes and poor responses to each other about race.


Fuller Youth Institute