January 2024 Update: ‘Understanding & Combating Racism’ — HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January 2024 Update: ‘Understanding & Combating Racism’ — HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dear Friends, Colleagues, Family, and some new additions from Elders & Allies …. 

As mentioned in December’s update, 2024 promises to be a very (pick your word) year on many levels … and now we are officially here in 2024 on the first day of the New Year! 
I also suggested last month that HOPE, especially important in 2024, is the governing value related to twelve important principles that are foundational to the ideals of our Democracy. As mentioned, I am selecting one principle each month to focus on and December’s was Equality. This month’s is Participation which I believe is very appropriate since we have virtually all of the year ahead of us to do just that.

So the Hope in Participation I have means trusting that active engagement in civic life (as well as other parts of our lives) can bring about positive change and improvement. Hope serves as a driving force, inspiring individuals to actively participate in democratic processes, work towards positive change, and maintain a sense of optimism about the possibilities for a just and equitable society. Hope can be a powerful motivator, encouraging people to persevere in the face of challenges, and contribute to the betterment of their communities and the world … this is the essence of prophetic leadership!

To further amplify my thoughts regarding the importance of Participation in our Democracy during the coming year, I am forwarding a second e-mail in a few minutes for your serious consideration, reflection, and action. I welcome any feedback you may have.

Now, I’d like to briefly go back to “Equality” since Jerome Underwood, CEO of ‘Action for a Better Community’, provided the following feedback to me that I thought was important to share (Please note that Jerome gave me permission to add his thoughts):

” Hope, Democracy and Equality are all desirable states indeed if, and only if, there was a level playing field in the US. In particular for those of us who are antiracists, the principle of Equality has to take a back seat to Equity and Justice. If we continue to promote Equality, it does not provide space for the repair that is necessary to obtain Justice. 

To repair the harm that lingers requires a disproportionate allocation of resources in favor of those that have been systematically and deliberately harmed by public policy and practice. I’ve been told that doing so (disproportionate allocation to repair harm) would be ‘reverse racism and discrimination’. I agree. We must first and foremost repair the harm before we can get to the desirable state of Equality.” 

My thanks to Jerome in taking the time to provide his insight for each of us to consider and hopefully participate in their fulfillment to whatever degree possible.

Some upcoming programs:

  • Wednesday, January 17th, 6:30-8:00 PM at the Pittsford Barnes & Noble Community Room (2nd Floor): I am presenting an updated program about my post-publication antiracism work titled “Bill Wynne & Friends”. I will be joined by a couple of new friends I have met on this journey, Tiffany Porter and Alvin Mitchell, who will provide an overview of their respective community work. In Tiffany’s case she will discuss her ‘Being Black in the Burbs’ initiative; Alvin will talk about his ‘Alwayz For The Kidz’ program at Cobbs Hill Park. There may also be 1-2 other speakers as well so it promises to be a very informative program that I hope many of you will attend. Note: see flyer attached.
  • Thursday, March 14th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM at  Hipocampo Bookstore (638 South Ave.,Rochester) I will be joined with another local author, John Strazzabosco, the program is tentatively titled ‘Understanding, Combating, and Navigating Racism’. 
  • I have some other upcoming programs at Asbury First United Methodist Church (January); Brickstone by St. John’s, an independent senior community (February); and Mount Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Community (Date TBD).
  • Also, on Wednesday January 10th, 7:00 PM at the United Church of Pittsford (123 South Main Street, Pittsford: beginning of a racial equity series at the church. The pastor, Rev. Julius Jackson, Sr. also has a presentation titled ‘Start 2024 with Resilience’ at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church on January 3rd

Additionally, I recently submitted an Inclusionary Zoning housing proposal to the Town of Perinton. There will be more to follow in 2024 about this and I’ve already been contacted by other interested parties in the Rochester community due to its relationship to the affordable housing crisis in our region. 

Lastly, please see (Pgs 59-61) for an article in the recent edition of ’55 Plus’ magazine . It is primarily about my antiracism ministry but unfortunately has a very provocative title that I would have worded differently if I had had the opportunity. I can discuss this further with anyone who might have an interest but suffice it to say that I prefer to look at my primary antiracism message as one not of “calling out” but of “calling forward”* in love, meaning an invitation for people to pursue something greater from their hearts and for the common good versus the mere pursuit of knowledge and recognition of our collective racist past. 

As Rev. Jackson of the United Church of Pittsford says at the end of the article, “Bill may not have all the correct answers, but he’s out there creating dialogue, and that’s important.” Thank you, Rev. Jackson, for your thoughtful message and ’55 Plus’ magazine for allowing me (and Sandy!) a few pages to briefly touch upon some important issues and transformative possibilities. Fr. Richard Rohr elaborates as follows:”

The prophetic path is a daily choice to walk along an ever-unfolding landscape.” (see

More from Fr. Richard Rohr:

Also: Embracing Race Group:

A closing prayer from

Lord, we are so removed from our Black friends’

suffering. Our beds are too soft; our stomachs are

too full. We don’t hear their call.

When they begin to cry for change, we tell them

to be patient – Go back to your unfair living

conditions. Be quiet. Then we slip back into our

own comfort.

But they’re not going back this time.

The Holy Spirit is leading these children of God.

They won’t abandon the march toward equality.

We will join hands with them

Showing that we are all one family in Christ,

Headed for our Father’s home together.

Let’s hope and pray for this type of loving peace in 2024! … Bill

*Re: “Calling Forward” … a term from the book ‘How We Ended Racism’

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