Enlarging the Tent
Two Quakers honestly explore racism, and the best responses to it.
On 25th May, 2020, George Floyd, an African American, was murdered by a white police officer. Storms of outrage and protests spread globally. Many learned about the Black Lives Matter movement, and perhaps the most honest conversation began on racism’s causes, the tools that engineer and sustain it -- and how best to dismantle it.
In late 2020, teacher, community development worker and freelance writer Jonathan Doering approached Nim Njuguna, a retired Baptist minister and former Quaker prison chaplain involved in social justice and mental health issues, seeking an interview on the current situation. Nim offered a project of co-interviews, both participants developing their thoughts on racism and right responses.
These dialogues between willing novice and seasoned activist offer possible ways forward whilst the worksheets encourage allies to delve into their thoughts, feelings, and responses to this major challenge of our time.
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It's a delight to get to know two such faithful and thoughtful Friends as Nim Njuguna and Jonathan Doering through this wide-ranging and profound set of conversations that explore what Friends and others may be able or perhaps ought to be doing in regard to anti-racist and other liberationist spiritual witness. While this intersectional book is highly practical, at its heart it feels just like sitting down with a cup of tea in the authors' presence and being drawn into an open-ended conversation that sprawls beyond the pages of this book, as one asks, what more am I being led by the Spirit to do? ~ Stephen W. Angell, Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies, Earlham School of Religion. Co-Editor: Black Fire; The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies; The Cambridge Companion to Quakerism.
Nim Njuguna's and Jonathan Doering's Enlarging the Tent records a provocative and informative dialogue between two Quakers coming together to address issues of racial justice, particularly in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. In addition to providing this heart-felt and compelling dialogue, the book also includes a set of exercises for small groups of Friends to engage in discussions about what is surely a key matter for our time. I highly recommend this book as a mechanism for Friends meetings to take on the often difficult discourses of race and anti-racism work. ~ James W. Hood, Charles A. Dana Professor of English Emeritus, Guilford College. Editor of Quakers and Literature.
In "Enlarging the Tent", the reader is invited to listen in to a series of dialogues on the journey towards racial justice. These warm, enjoyable and rich conversations offer personal stories and insights to inspire, and are ideal for group study. This book will be particularly appreciated by Quakers on a similar journey to the authors, and who want to bring others along with them. ~ Mark Russ, Quaker theologian, blogger and author of 'Quaker Shaped Christianity'.
I have read works on allyship and racial justice, but none come together in quite the constructive, co-operative and conversational way as Nim and Jonathan's exchanges. They make a great basis for workshops, but also stand on their own as insights into how we might build better understanding. ~ Dr Helen Meads, Quaker writer and activist.
The power of [their dialogue] lies in the relationship between these two kind and generous F/friends and their ability simultaneously to verbalise and demonstrate the quality of Ally-ship that we were discussing throughout the weekend. ~ Quaker activist, Racial Justice Conference at Bamford Quaker Community