CORVALLIS — It’s been several months since my wife Bobbie and I finished the nine-month JustFaith program on faith and racial justice. Responding to an article in the Sentinel last August, we became part of a group of Portland-area Catholics who completed the Faith and Racial Equity program via Zoom. The program was quite demanding. We read six books and many articles and participated in 30 two-hour Zoom discussions.

Different people likely took away different lessons from these readings and discussions. For me there were several takeaways. I learned that being white and male protects me and gives me unearned advantages that I didn’t realize I had. I learned about the damage that is done to both people of color and whites under the current structures. I learned that it is white indifference that perpetuates racism and that people like me must change our attitudes and work to undo structures of inequality before racism can be overcome. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, said that the greatest stumbling blocks to racial justice were “white moderates” and “the appalling silence of the good people.”

The JustFaith program did open my eyes and disrupt my comfortable ignorance. It made clear that racism is a shared problem, not just “their” problem. But it did not offer easy next steps or a list of quick fixes that we could check off as solving the problem. It did, however, give us a glimpse of the Spirit at work in the world and a group of friends with whom we could figure out what action our new understanding requires.

Bobbie and I recently met in person in Sellwood Park for a socially-distanced potluck brunch with those in our JustFaith group. These were people who had participated in the program last spring whom we had previously known only by seeing them on Zoom. We now know them as people with interesting lives and life histories, impressive culinary skills, and shared aspirations. Being part of this group has given us companions who can accompany us and keep us participating in the journey toward racial justice in our community and the larger society.

Weber is a member of St. Mary Parish in Corvallis.