Truth and reconciliation resources

We share resources that can help you understand racial reconciliation.

About truth and reconciliation resources

We've curated resources to:

  • Give further insight into theoretical frameworks around racial reconciliation.
  • Highlight models that have been put into action around the world.

We hope to use these resources to support the City of Minneapolis’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They also give helpful insights into how and if we should put such a process in place.

Some resources are faith-based

The idea of racial reconciliation is heavily associated with the church. For this reason, some of the resources are faith-based in nature. The City means to share the theories and frameworks around them. We do not promote one faith expression over another.

Three ideas around racial reconciliation

Reconciliation involves three ideas. These ideas come from the William Winters Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. 

What racial reconciliation does

  1. Recognizes that racism in America is systemic and institutionalized. It has major effects on both:
    • Political engagement.
    • Economic opportunities for marginalized people.
  2. Leads to empowering local communities. This is done by building relationships and truth-telling.
  3. Involves justice as an important part of the process. This justice helps to restore the community.

View William Winters Institute racial reconciliation resources

Frameworks on racial reconciliation

People in meeting

 

Rethinking truth and reconciliation commissions, lessons for Sierra Leone

Highlights from this resource

  • Before a truth reconciliation commission (TRC) is started in a particular setting, it's important to establish whether it has popular support—not only among local NGOs but also among ordinary survivors.
  • Truth commission reports can provide important frameworks for
    • Talking about violence and repression.
    • Foster the development of stable national institutions.
  • Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Report offers this framework. But where there is no popular support for a truth commission, we need to find others ways of producing such reports.
  • Where a TRC is started, it will be more effective if it builds upon established practices of healing and social coexistence. If we discount or ignore such processes, we may jeopardize any form of social recovery.

Read "Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, Lessons for Sierra Leone"

Until all of us are free: how racial reconciliation fails Black women (video)

Highlights from this resource

This lecture from Dr. Chanequa Walker Barnes talks about how common conceptions around racial reconciliation come out of the Evangelical Church. Barnes says that the institution that not only overwhelmingly support white supremacy, but also privileges male patriarchy and hegemony. Walker Barnes discusses that the main assumptions of this movement are that all racial categories are equally sinful. Thus, Blackness is as problematic as whiteness and the solution is for all people to see themselves as Christian, which is achieved through social contact.

In this analysis, Black women are largely missing, and their experiences ignored. She notes that success is seen as Black men and other Men of Color attaining the same privileges of white men.

Watch Until All of Us Are Free: How Racial Reconciliation Fails Black Women

South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission

Highlights from this resource

South Africa’s TRC is one of the most cited examples of a government undertaking a process for:

  • Victims of violence to share their experiences
  • Perpetrators to confess their offenses.

The TRC was a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa. The collection of resources share their process and how effective it has been.

More resources

South Africa TRC reports

South Africa's imperfect progress, 20 years after the Truth & Reconciliation Commission

Truth Magazine: "Is it time for truth and reconciliation in the US?"

Highlights from this resource

This article in Yes Magazine discusses whether or not it's time for a TRC process in the United States. Drawing on Canada’s TRC process, which addressed the suffering of First Nations children in the residential school system, the article talks about the success of grassroots approaches in pursuing reconciliation. It also states that commissions that take place in the United States are most successful when they also take the grassroots driven approach.

Read Is It Time for Truth and Reconciliation in the U.S.?

People meeting around table in a conference room

 

People siting at table having discussion

 

"Why I stopped talking about racial reconciliation and started talking about white supremacy"

Highlights from this resource

An article by scholar and theologian Christena Cleveland discusses why she shifted her focus from racial reconciliation to white supremacy in her efforts to address racism:

  • Inside of the church
  • Within other institutions

Excerpt from the article

"When I first learned the term racial reconciliation in the early nineties, I found it very helpful and exciting. I was passionate about issues of race and justice, but had never heard those things discussed in Christian circles. Suddenly there was a Biblical basis and communal energy towards this value.

When I came on staff with a Christian non-profit I was taught that racial reconciliation consisted of a three strand rope- ethnic identity, inter personal relationships, and systemic injustice. Though the focus was almost always on the first two. Beginning with the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman and gaining momentum with the murder of Michael Brown Jr. in the fall of 2014, Black Lives Matter revealed the limits of the racial reconciliation model espoused by many evangelical organizations in nineties.”

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Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

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