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Second Baptist Church Interfaith Community Program to Dismantle Economic Racism in Evanston

Tiffani M. Watson (2022 Fellow)

The Second Baptist Church Interfaith Community Program to Dismantle Economic Racism in Evanston serves to identify the structural racial problems in the Evanston community that impacts African American people and develop concrete ways to dismantle those issues.

The Second Baptist Church Interfaith Community Program to Dismantle Economic Racism in Evanston project serves to benefit descendants of Africa, specifically, a collection of communities descended from native Africans, known as African and African American people who were enslaved, denigrated, and deprived of institutional property and generational wealth in the Evanston community. The overall goal is to identify economical, structural and institutional racial problems in the Evanston community that impacts African American people and develop concrete ways to dismantle those issues, ultimately making Evanston a better place to live for all people.

The Why

This project will be the catalyst for tangible change across institutions in Evanston and beyond, serving as an example for other cities and interfaith communities.

This project is significant because it’s being implemented to create a space that will be the catalyst for tangible change across institutions, and structures in Evanston and beyond. It will also serve as an example for other metropolitan cities and interfaith communities.

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The Collaborators

Collaborators include the Evanston Interfaith Community and Northwestern University professors through the Northwestern University Racial Equity grant, which was awarded to Second Baptist Church.

Collaborators on the project include the Evanston Interfaith Community, beginning with Second Baptist Church, Lake Street Church, Beth Emet, St. Mathews, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, and Unitarian Church of Evanston.


The project includes Northwestern University, which is the granter of the Northwestern University Racial Equity grant, which was granted to Second Baptist Church. We are working with Northwestern Clinical professor, Ava Greenwell, Ph.D. and Northwestern professor emeritus, Larry Muphy,Ph.D. Another partner includes the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy in Evanston.

The How

Second Baptist Church of Evanston will facilitate anti-racist solidarity circles at non-black houses of worship in each of the city’s nine wards to document racist undercurrents and develop an anti-racist manual. An interfaith racial justice coalition will ensure actionable steps are devised for each level of racism.

The project is being completed by using the following strategies:

  1. Implementation of anti-racist educational workshops led by a number of facilitators, including Northwestern University partners, Dr. Ava Greenwell and Dr. Larry Murphy, with curriculum development in the partnership between Second Baptist Church of Evanston leadership and the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy.

  2. Development of action-based cooperative learning groups arising out of workshops, with participants power mapping and creating actionable steps toward the long-term goals of economic empowerment for African Americans and people of African descent in Evanston.

  3. Implementation of anti-racist solidarity circles facilitated by Second Baptist Church of Evanston leadership and members at non-black houses of worship in Evanston. Including non-black houses of worship in each of the city’s nine wards will identify racist undercurrents throughout Evanston. Notes will be gathered during each solidarity circle to document topics, thoughts, and ultimate goals moving forward with the goal of developing an anti-racist manual.


Following the above, there will be an interfaith racial justice coalition that will stand to proactively identify interpersonal, internalized, structural, and institutional racism across racism that exists across Evanston. Groups for each level of racism will be formed, and actionable steps will be devised per each group and issue.

The Outcomes

Through the Race Solidarity Circles, we’ve set a goal to create a curriculum that addresses the history of racism in America and implementing it across elementary schools.

  1. Acknowledgment of inherent racism on the part of white houses of worship and throughout the Evanston community and improved anti-racist initiatives to combat racist innate thoughts, emotions, and actions.

  2. Improved race relations with white/non-Black houses of worship in Evanston.

  3. Improved allyship from white/non-Black houses of worship.

  4. To date, through the work of the Race Solidarity Circles over the last three months, we’ve been able to identify an initiative/goal of creating a curriculum that will address the history of racism in America and implementing it across elementary schools (and possibly the high school district).


The CUE Influence

CUE taught me about power mapping, a significant piece of this project. It’s how I get my workshop participants to understand the many steps we’ll need to take to make tangible change.

CUE taught me a lot about organizing, and crafting youth workshops, understanding, teaching, and implementing the four levels of racism, and understanding power mapping. All four levels were areas around equity and racial climate change that I was not well-versed in. It was through the workshops that we do each month, where I was able to learn more about solving city-wide issues through power mapping, identifying the different levels of racism and how to teach others about the levels. Further, the power mapping piece is really significant to this project, as it will be the way I get my workshop participants to understand the many steps we’ll need to take to make tangible change.