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Beloved Syracuse Beacon

"The world does not need white people to civilize others. The real White People's Burden is to civilize ourselves."


Robert Jensen

ARCHIVE ENTRY: August 24, 2017

Action Alerts

This week in our work to transform Syracuse, eliminate poverty, and create equality:

ACTS Transformation Reading Groups: Discussion on "White Privilege"

September 01, 2017

Contact: To participate in the ACTS Transformation Reading Groups, contact Peter Sarver, ACTS Interim Co-Executive, at 315-530-5514. Or Email him at Special Offer: ACTS will provide discounted book copies for a donation of $14.

ACTS has launched a program called "Transformation Reading Groups."  Peter Sarver, ACTS Interim Co-Executive, cites the need for white congregations and other groups to examine institutional racism and specifically white privilege as a first step toward racial healing.  The expectation of the ACTS initiative is that two dozen or more small groups will convene in congregations to have a shared reading experience throughout the community this Fall. Participants will read America’s Original Sin- Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, by Jim Wallis. On November 21st, ACTS will host a prominent keynote speaker to conclude what readers discovered through their two-month journey with America’s Original Sin. The November gathering will present an opportunity for continuing growth and a platform for future social justice actions.


When it comes to addressing White Privilege, a clear and courageous voice is needed to shine through the fog of our nation’s confusion. Sarah McTyre, Parish Associate for Education at Park Central, has read America’s Original Sin in a similar reading- program. She lauds Wallis’ theological and factual discussion of America’s most neglected racial injustice.  


“Jim Wallis invites us into this ongoing work of repentance for the sake of our sisters and brothers. We need to get uncomfortable as we learn about White Privilege, and allow our hearts to broken open—not just once, but over and again,” said Sarah.

The tragedies that transpired in Charlottesville demonstrated clearly that America’s wound of racism is far from healed. Less conspicuous than the outpour of white supremacy in Charlottesville, however, are the murky institutions which nourish the oppression of minorities. These racist institutions have existed for centuries, and persist today beneath the surface of American society. An especially subversive tool of institutional racism is “White Privilege.”


“White privilege is the assumption of racial entitlement and normality of whiteness, something most of those who are white still fail to recognize or resist,” writes Wallis. 


“Those of us who are white are being called on a journey towards anti-racism. It is time for us to wake up and see anew,” said Sarah. 

Group facilitators will meet on September 6th to collaborate on the community-wide Transformation Reading Groups. In the meantime, ACTS encourages Syracusans of all faiths and organizations to commit to this opportunity. America’s Original Sin, by Jim Wallis, may be the catalyst to a compassionate conversation across Syracuse.


“Talk about America’s Original Sin with other members of your congregation. It can open the way for truth telling…and the transformative work of grace in the world,” concluded Sarah.

History of the 15th Ward: Hosted by the NYCLU

August 27, 2017

When: Sunday, August 27, 3-7pm Where: Sankofa Park, next to Beauchamp Branch Library Address: 2101 S Salina St, Syracuse, NY

When New York State approved funds for the I-81 overpass in 1956, they were likely warned of the suffering it could cause. Political rhetoric and slick promises, however, helped Syracuse City officials and development firms latch on. They demolished the 15th Ward, a close-knit and vibrant black community, and built the highway that would divide Syracuse for over 60 years. I-81 has been the monolithic cause of concentrated poverty in Syracuse, which is now the worst in the nation among Blacks and Latinos. As I-81 reaches the end of its functional life-span, we have a chance to rectify a historic blunder. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has taken center stage in this debate, and is hosting a public event to raise awareness. 


On August 27th, 2017 the New York Civil Liberties Union will host a community picnic and exhibition of the 15th Ward's history, the impact I-81 had on the 15th ward and the Syracuse community, and what DOT is considering as replacement to the current viaduct/highway. This community picnic is free and open to the public. There will be a discussion of the of the advocacy work that the New York Civil Liberties Union has undertaken regarding the response to the I-81 challenge, including what Syracuse Housing Authority's Master Plan and vision is.

Disarm Hate March at the State Fair

August 25, 2017

When: Friday, August 25th, at 5:30pm Where: New York State Fairgrounds Address: 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse

Join Moms Demand Action NY to #DisarmHate! They'll be marching in the NY State Fair parade on Pride Day. Click the button below to view the Facebook event and learn more. 

Demand Hearings on White Supremacist Terrorism

August 24, 2017

Call Today, Or As Soon As Possible

From the CNY Solidarity Coaltion: Call John Katko and ask him to have the Homeland Security Committee on which he sits hold hearings on White Supremacist terrorism. Also write letters to the editor asking for this action. In the years since 9/11, white nationalists have caused more violent deaths than Islamic terrorists in the United States. Katko’s numbers are 315-423-5657 (Syracuse),315-253-4068 (Auburn), and 202-225-3701 (DC).

Follow this link to read general information about this issue:

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Weekly Community Events

If you are an ACTS Member Organization and have an upcoming social justice event please email Ryan Ivers at

Newsletter Archives

Weekly Stories

Together we came closer to our goals. Let's reflect on the vital work we have done:

Upstate County Jails Are Challenged for Sending Juveniles to Solitary

Written by the New York Times

The New York Times has picked up a story championed by the ACTS Community for two years.


As early as October 2015, youth at the downtown Justice Center were thrown in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. Many of the youth were unconvicted. Some had symptoms of mental illnesses, such as psychosis or depression.


That all changed when the New York Civil Liberties Union and Legal Services of Central New York secured a settlement with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office. Read more by clicking the button below:

ACTS Youth Council Brings Multiculturalism to School Lunches

The ACTS Youth Council presented their new project proposal to the Syracuse City School Board earlier this week. In response to their peer's concerns about school-food variety and nutrition, the Youth Council's project aims to reform the status-quo of midday meals. After surveying 200 students from four district high schools, the Youth Council found that 93.9% of students believed the menu needed change. Apparently, the Syracuse School Board could not agree more. The Board has decided to approve the project for this fall. wrote an article about the presentation and its successful reception. To read the article, click below: 

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