Cultivating Hope Through Anti-Racism: with Jasmine Bradshaw (Official Declaration 2)

Monday, December 6, 2021

Thank you so, so much Sarah for completing this transcript!

Channing: Hi, I'm Channing 

Elise: And I'm Elise. 

Channing: And this is The Faithful Feminists Podcast. 

Elise: But this is not just any Come Follow Me podcast. We do things a little differently. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the really good ways faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience. 

Channing: We've saved you a seat on the soft chairs. So join us today for a conversation about Official Declarations 1 and 2, and the Articles of Faith for the dates December 6th through the 12th. We're so super glad you're here.

Elise: [01:02] Yes. Welcome, welcome everyone. Like Channing said, today the Come Follow Me manual has us kind of jumping all over. But we have a very, very special friend and special guest on the podcast. And maybe you know her, maybe you love her, maybe you even listen to her podcast. We have Jasmine from the First Name Basis podcast joining us today. Hello Jasmine!

Jasmine: [01:23] Hi, both of you. Oh my gosh. I'm really emotional. I wasn't expecting it, but hearing you do the intro– I listen to you all the time and to hear you do it in real life is like, I don't know why I'm crying. So thanks for having me. 

Channing: [01:38] Oh, my gosh. We're seriously so happy to have you here. This is a real treat for us. So all the feels all over the place. 

Elise: [01:44] Yeah, absolutely. And for those of you who don't know Jasmine, she's an anti-racism educator and she's the host of the First Name Basis podcast, which is an anti-racist podcast for parents and family. Each week, Jasmine offers tools and practical strategies that we need to talk to our children about race, religion, and culture. So not only is Jasmine a brilliant educator and podcaster, but she's also an incredible friend who, big bonus to me, lives in Phoenix, which is a huge deal because I feel like lots of people don't live in Phoenix, but Jasmine and I live in Phoenix and it's been so, so nice to be able to be real life friends.

Jasmine: [02:21] Yeah. It has been such a blessing. I love it. 

Elise: [02:24] Now because Jasmine's expertise lies in helping us find tools and strategies to practice anti-racism, fight white supremacy and spend our privilege, that's where we're going to spend most of our time in conversation today, which means that the backdrop for this conversation really is Official Declaration 2.

Channing: [02:40] But before we get into that, we just wanted to give a quick overview of some of the other places that the manual wants us to focus. Again, like we said before, it includes the Articles of Faith, which you can find in the Pearl of Great Price. And there are 13 of them that cover some of the most basic tenets or principles of belief in Mormonism. These articles cover the definition of the Godhead, a refutation of the idea of original sin, which for those of us who don't have theology lingo, that is the belief that we inherit sins from Adam and Eve. It also covers the tenets of faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost, the role of prophets, organizational offices, continuing revelation (more than once), the validation of canonized text, the gathering of Israel, freedom of worship, honoring the law and other many virtuous characteristics. So, yeah. Articles of Faith. There's a lot that we could talk about there. 

[03:57] There's also Declaration 1, which is also called The Manifesto. It was written and shared in October 1890, and it marked the official discontinuation of the practice of polygamy in the Utah territories. This practice was denounced and members were encouraged to stop practicing immediately. The Manifesto arrived as Utah was gaining statehood in the United States and the condition of that statehood in large part relied on the Saints no longer preaching and practicing polygamy. For the most part, members of the LDS church discontinued the practice, but not everybody. Those who did not were no longer recognized as members. So if you've listened to the podcast for any recent length of time, you know that we have talked and talked and talked about polygamy and today we're ready to talk about something else. So we're going to focus all of our attention on Declaration 2. And just like Elise said, more specifically, we're not really going to get into a ton of the history because we want to focus on what we can do today about racism, both in the church and in our communities at large.

Elise: [04:45] So a little bit of background about Declaration 2. And most of this comes from the Gospel Topics essay titled Race and the Priesthood, and also directly from the text of Official Declaration 2, but from the beginnings of the church people of every race and ethnicity could be baptized and received as members. And during the first two decades of the church's existence, there were a few black men who were ordained to the priesthood. But in 1852 President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter, many black folks continue to join the church through baptism and by receiving the Holy Ghost. After the death of Brigham Young, more church presidents restricted black folks from receiving temple endowment and being married in the temple. Within that same essay it says, “over time, church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations are accepted today as the official doctrine of the church.” In fact, at the beginning of Declaration 2 it says, “church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice [of banning black members from the priesthood and from the temple], and church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance.”

[06:00] And so on September 30th, 1978, during a General Conference, Official Declaration 2 was given. And it says:

 “that the long promised day has come when every faithful worthy man in the church may receive the holy priesthood with power to exercise its divine authority and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly all male members of the church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.” 

And if you'd like to hear a fantastic breakdown and refutation of some of the myths that surrounded the reasons for the priesthood ban, we really recommend watching and listening to James’ video that he made, (James is a part of the Beyond The Block podcast) all about Official Declaration 2. This is a fantastic video that really sets the record straight and debunks many of the myths about this ban being anything other than a racist practice spurred on by power, prejudice, and white supremacy.

[07:00] Now, with all of that in the back of our minds, it's time for our conversation with the one and only Jasmine from The First Name Basis podcast. So if you don't mind, could you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and maybe how you got started with anti-racism education and maybe the story behind The First Name Basis podcast?

Jasmine: [07:17] So, hi, everyone. I'm so happy to be here. I'm Jasmine Bradshaw. I am a mom. I have two little ones, a four-year-old and a one-year-old, and my husband Carter and I live in Mesa, Arizona. It is actually a really hard place to live for someone who is black biracial like me. My mom is white and my dad is black. And a lot of people are surprised when they, well, a lot of white people are surprised to know I'm biracial. Black people know right away, but white people are a little bit surprised to find out I'm biracial. And so, I think the biggest thing that I realized when I was starting First Name Basis is that I was kind of preparing for this for a lot of my life. I grew up in the suburbs of Phoenix in a predominantly white community, and I've had to figure out, What does it look like and sound like and feel like to talk to a lot of white people, specifically white conservatives about race and racism, and just, I've had a lot of opportunities to practice. And I was a teacher; I taught second grade. And so many of my students were coming from under-resourced communities. I had a lot of students who are undocumented, a lot of students who are emerging bilinguals, and I was teaching them all of these things like Aristotle. And I remember teaching them about Andrew Jackson and not having one single lesson on the Trail of Tears. And I was like, There's something wrong here. But I was so busy being just a baby teacher, you know, figuring everything out that there was no time to really dissect what I wanted with my kiddos. I taught second grade. And so after I had my first daughter, Violet, and I was home with her and I started to reflect on my teaching experience and I remember thinking, I just wish I could have done something differently. My students needed more. And I started looking into different Black teachers and just understanding their philosophies that were around teaching, ‘cause I felt like from my teacher education, it was so centered on white teachers and white educators.

[09:18] So from there I was able to find anti-racism and that for me was like the fire that I always knew I needed. Everything in it just made so much sense and clicked. And I felt like, Oh my gosh, I'm reading these vocabulary words and I felt like I had struck gold because I'm like, I've experienced that. And I have been gaslighted so many times thinking that, Oh, no, that wasn't racism or, Oh, no, you're just being dramatic. But then I'm reading the research behind it and realizing that I'm not alone in it. And so I was like, Okay, I need to get this out into the world. People need to understand what this is. And I was mulling over how I could do it. And then I went to this book club in my neighborhood with a lot of the women from my ward. And these were like my close friends and one of the women, she wasn't talking to me, she was just talking about something and she said the N word and the room kind of stopped. And I thought, She didn't really say that. That's not what I heard. And then she said it again and I was like, oh my goodness. And I think Violet was probably like six weeks old. I went home and I'm nursing her in the middle of the night, just thinking, What just happened? Why did no one in that room say anything? I'm the only woman of color, the only Black woman and all of my friends, my closest friends and my ward and my neighborhood looked at me. I was like, how could this possibly be my responsibility to tell this white woman that she shouldn't say the N word? I could not believe it. I was so frustrated. And so it was kind of like looking at my sweet baby in my arms and thinking, I don't want her to have this. I do not want her to be sitting in a room someday and have to be the one to speak up. Now, fast forward, my daughter, Violet is white presenting. So it actually would be her responsibility. But at the time I didn't know that’s what she was gonna look like!

[11:11] So I'm thinking about all the things I'm learning with anti-racism and thinking about what happened. And I have a ton- my husband is white, so I have a lot of white in-laws who I’ve had hard conversations with, and I was realizing, Okay, people need an opportunity to come to a place where they can hear, where they can ask questions, super earnest questions, with a beginner's heart and hear the answer and just feel like a soft place to land. And I felt like a podcast was a perfect opportunity to do that because you don't have to have this conversation to my face and all the things, all the emotions that you feel that come up, all of the yucky stuff, I don't have to hear it! Thank goodness. You can listen to it and then you can take it and you can reflect, and I'm not expending all this emotional labor over and over. And it's not just me, right? It's my Black and brown brothers and sisters who are having these conversations all the time. I wanted it to be a place where people could be like, Oh, you need to learn about tone policing? You need to learn about racial gaslighting? Here's an episode for that. Don't ask me, go listen to First Name Basis.

[12:17] And the name First Name Basis came because I was doing this research on how we really build connections and break down our implicit biases and the research shows that the more you can get on a first name basis with people who are different from you, the less biases you will have, and the more you'll be able to really overcome what's going on in the deep parts of your brain that you don't necessarily know are happening sometimes.

[12:43] So, that is the long version of the story behind First Name Basis, but I'm so grateful to do this work. And I feel like it's so important for our families to have these tools in their homes so that they can talk to their kids because this rising generation, I mean, we can see already that they're going to make some great changes and it’s amazing.

Elise: [13:03] Yeah, that's absolutely right. Thanks for sharing that with us. I know that a lot of our listeners have messaged us or talked to us at different times and said, How am I supposed to teach these things to my children? And I'm always really grateful that I have a friend and a model to look to as you to say, Okay, you know what, here's one way that one of my friends does it. And we often point people to your podcast. Not only because you're so well educated and well studied and intelligent, but because you have space and love for people to figure it out in the messiness. Although I'm glad to hear that you're like, Yeah, figure that out off air because I don't have time to care for all however many followers and listeners you have. I think that's a good boundary to have for yourself. 

Channing: [13:48] I love listening to your episodes. In fact, there was a time where my husband and I were having a conversation about cultural appropriation and he was asking me a lot of good questions and I'm like, Oh shoot, I don't even know the answer. And I'm like, But, I think I know who does. And so we listened to a couple of your episodes on cultural appropriation and I was so grateful for them because it did spark so much conversation and give me so much information even when I'm like, Oh, I think I know, I think I might know, actually come to find out I knew one tiny sliver of the piece of pie that was actually there to know.

[14:21] And so what I appreciate about your work is that I think your experience as an educator really shines through there. I think it takes a very special approach and a very particular kind of approach to say, Let me share with you in a way that's easy to understand, that's accessible, but also calls you to further responsibility and further action outside of just listening to this episode. And I feel like that's one reason why for me, and I think for a lot of our listeners, we keep coming back to the First Name Basis podcast, because it's so much goodness and then more. It’s been so important for me and for my kids. So for me, I'm like, Oh, it's Jasmine, on my podcast! This is so wild for me.

Elise: [15:14] And I know one of the things that I've been thinking about, just preparing to have you on the episode and also thinking about Official Declaration 2 is that it's not like Official Declaration 2 magically solved all the racism in the church, right? That's not even close to being true, but I think that sometimes, myself included, white members of the church will say, Well, there's no way that I could be racist. I'm a part of a church that says all people, we're all children of God. And there's this talk about unity and love and why can't we all just get along? And so one of the questions I wanted to ask you is, in what ways do you think that anti-racism work is different than these Christian phrases that we throw around, like Just love everyone, or We're all children of God. So first, what ways are they different, but do you also see maybe any ways that they're similar and maybe white members are doing or have the language to do better anti-racism work than we're currently doing? 

Jasmine: [16:15] Yeah, that is such a fantastic question. And I think the biggest thing for us to remember is, what is anti-racism? It's understanding that we live in a society that is built on systemically oppressing black and brown individuals. So if we're going to be anti-racist Christians, that means that we are people who recognize that in our society and are working to actively dismantle those systems and rebuild ones that are equitable and fair for everyone. And so I think what's hard for me when I hear people say, Can't we just get along? Is that I want them to really help me understand what does ‘get along’ mean to you? Does ‘get along’ mean that I am silent in the face of my oppression to make you feel comfortable? Because that is not okay with me. It's not okay with Jesus. Like, no, that's not happening. And so I think that a lot of people need to understand that when they're thinking they're keeping the peace, what they're actually doing is harmful because who are you keeping the peace for? If you're sitting around a table, even if you don't have any people of color and there's a racist joke that's happening, even if I'm not there, it's hurting me, but it's also hurting you, our children and ourselves, there is empirical evidence that when we let racism flourish and continue in the systemic way, we are all hurt both socially and emotionally, but also economically. This is terrible for our economy for people to be so racist.

[17:46] So I think that when we're thinking about us loving the Lord and being Christians and heeding their call to seek justice and love mercy, that is an anti-racist thing to do. And so being peaceable and being humble doesn't mean staying silent. It means bringing these things up in a way that allows people to learn and grow. 

Elise: [18:10] I love that answer. Thank you for that. And I'm also thinking about the ways that this same phenomenon will show up in church on Sunday when this Come Follow Me lesson comes up because if people sitting in the audience start calling out comments or bringing up the church's true racist past and current racism, I think that there will be a lot of other white members in that same lesson who will say, “Well, no, no, no. We just need to all get along. No, no, no. We need to keep the peace.” And I think the question that you pose so nicely here is, well, what does it mean to get along and how is your silence protecting the peace and whose peace is that, really? I like that. 

Channing: [18:52] Yeah. And I think that that's a really illuminating question, and kind of coming on the coattails of that, I think for me, it really seems like the church as an institution is not willing to admit the past wrongs and go out of their way to repair these years of pain and, in addressing that, restructure their power systems. And so because of this, I think that there are a lot of white members that also take a similar approach of not admitting their racism and trying to sweep things under the rug because it's uncomfortable. So Jasmine, I'm hoping that maybe you can share some ideas with us, if we look at kind of the past, present and future way of understanding our participation in racism as white members of the church, why is our admission of past wrongs, and following that with a present accountability and a commitment to change, why is that important and essential to anti-racism work?


Jasmine: [19:48] I think the biggest thing when we're thinking about being followers of Christ is understanding the repentance process. I mean, the church has yet to repent for the racist and systemically racist things that they've done and continue to participate in. And so I think that individual members understanding– and James Jones from Beyond The Block always talks about having this anti-racist perspective be part of our faith journey, but also really understanding its connection to what would it be like to be in the temple, if that's a place where you choose to go, or sitting in a pew next to somebody who, you know, is actively hurting people in your family. That is, I'm just going to be very transparent and say that I am like, I call myself right now, LDS-adjacent. I mean, I'm a member of the church, but I watch on my TV so that I can turn it off if anybody says anything, because it's really, really difficult to sit down in a pew next to someone who I know has posted things on social media or shared things that are directly hurting myself and my children. And so I think when we look at it from the lens of repentance and understanding how that process would continue on, not just, Okay, I've repented for this and we can move on. I've had people literally tell me, I searched my heart, and I realized that I'm not racist. If you're living in a racist system, it's not really possible. So maybe look again. I think, so that's the first part of it is understanding the repentance process. 

[22:38] But I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks for people is that they think that accountability is equivalent to guilt and shame. And that to me is like your guilt and your shame, I'm sorry if that's what you're experiencing, but it's so not productive. Like we do not want you to feel guilty. That is not the goal. If you do, there's that remorse that you can feel for something maybe you've done or experienced or been a part of and that is important to recognize, but the guilt and the shame I think can be left out of this. And I think that when people bump up against that is when they kind of abandon the work. And so when we're looking forward, it’s truly understanding, What does accountability mean? What does it mean to me and how should I feel when I'm being held accountable? I always try to tell people that accountability is actually a gift. If someone is telling you that you've done or said something racist or that a church that you belong to has done or said something racist, that you're participating in that, that is a true gift. Because for me, if there's someone who I know isn't going to receive that information well, I just don't tell them. So for me to share that with you, that means I trust you and I love you enough to believe that you can change. 

Elise: [22:44] I love what you said here about the guilt and the shame kind of being the stumbling block for true accountability and also a true change. I'm reminded of what you said earlier in the episode, when you said that you're glad that you have a podcast so that you don't have to deal with all of people's messiness outside of that. And I'm almost wondering if that's an approach we could maybe take to guilt and shame is that– Look, those feelings of guilt and shame might come up when you get called out, might come up when you get asked to change your behavior and you need to deal with that on your own. That is not the responsibility of black and brown folks to comfort you, to coddle you, to remind you that everything's going to be okay. And I think that the longer we stay in the guilt and the shame, like you said, I think the more discouraged we can be. We can misunderstand our action, we can misunderstand feeling our feelings as doing the work, and that's not the same thing. 

Channing: [23:39] Well, and I think too, like just, this is like my own opinion, but I think anti-racism work at the end of the day is about being in relationship with other people. And if we're so focused on how we're feeling individually about how we've participated in that relationship, we're not actually investing in the relationship. We're just investing in ourselves. And so being able to simultaneously hold whatever our experience is and recognize that an investment is still necessary. At least for me, that was an essential part in the process of recognizing, Oh shoot, I am not the only person that matters in this equation. So I really appreciate that reminder that guilt and shame is not the end goal. That's not where we want to stay because at the end of the day, it's about a relationship. I love that. 

Elise: [24:29] One of my very favorite episodes from you that I often teach to my students is your episode titled What is Privilege and What Do I Do With It? And when I teach this to the students or when I introduce them to the podcast, I know that many of them are really kind of trepidatious or hesitant to open themselves up to the message that you have to share. Because I think that we misunderstand privilege as something that means we haven't had to work hard or that we don't have any type of struggle. But in the episode that you share, you have this really wonderful reframing that says, No, that's not privilege. It doesn't mean your life wasn't hard, but it means that there are aspects of your identity and your experience that haven't made things harder for you than it is for Black and brown folks, right? And so I was just wondering if you could speak a little bit about the responsibility of white people when it comes to spending and using our privilege. 

Jasmine: [25:21] Thank you for sharing that episode because you did an amazing summary of it and that really is what privilege is. It just means that your social identities haven't made your life harder. It doesn't mean that you don't work hard. It doesn't mean that you haven't experienced hard things. It just means that the social identities that you hold are not hindering your opportunities in any way. And so I think one of the biggest things, when people come up against privilege, is that I've noticed that the people who are the most resistant to understanding their privilege are the people who care a lot about fairness. And it's confusing to me because I'm like, You guys are actually the perfect people to be anti-racist because you care about fairness so much. But they care about fairness so much that they see the idea of privilege and they feel frustrated by it to a point where they put up a wall and don't want to do anything about it. So they're like, No, things are fair. They should be fair. You're telling me that they're not, and this is not something that I'm open to.  

Elise: [26:25] And you're like, I'm saying, I also want them to be fair. For everyone, not just you. 

Jasmine: [26:31] Exactly, yes, we have the same end goal. And so I think when you're able to approach it from that lens and recognize that the friction that you're feeling in your heart is just because you love fairness so much, that means that you really should understand privilege and figure out what to do about it. And so I think that that is one of the very first starting points of anti-racist work for, especially people who hold white privilege is, What is my privilege? And just taking the time to read about the Black experience and understanding so many of the experiences that we have that you've never had to even think about. I remember one time my husband was complaining to my dad. It's okay that I tell this story, I've asked him. I think he's probably told it before. He was complaining to my dad who was Black (my husband's white) about someone asking for his ID when he went to a store and he was like, Oh my gosh, they asked for my ID. He was so put out, he could not believe it. And my dad was like, Oh, so it's your first time? And it was a little awkward cause my husband was like, Did I just step in it? Yes I did. 

[27:50] We've had those experiences as a family, as a multi-racial family. We have these conversations all the time. Oh, that's a privilege for you. And then he went back and he reflected and was like, Oh my gosh, I didn't even think about it. And that's what privilege is when you have that, ‘oh my gosh, I didn't even think about it’ moment, that is your privilege. So understanding the privileges that you hold and then how you can leverage them to create opportunities for the people around you is the number one first step of being anti-racist. 

Channing: [28:10] So Jasmine, we've talked about a couple of the ways that people who are engaging in anti-racism work might get kind of tripped up. We've talked about maybe getting stuck in the guilt and shame and we've also talked about having such an allegiance to fairness that we fail to recognize our own privilege, but I'm also curious about what are some of the other stumbling blocks that you see for people who are maybe beginning their own work of anti-racism? And if I can ask a follow-up question, how could we avoid these or jump over these roadblocks? 

Jasmine: [28:45] That is such a great question. And there are three that come to mind right away. The first one is racial stamina. So there are a lot of people, especially people who hold white privilege, that if you haven't had to think about race very often in your life, you haven't had to build up that stamina of being able to talk about it and think about it and it feels uncomfortable. So I've seen a lot of people who will start by listening to my podcast or reading a book and they'll get totally fired up. And then they're burnt out really quickly because they haven't taken the time to really build it into their life in a sustainable way. So we saw this with the summer of 2020, right? Everybody was so excited about anti-racism and buying all the books and listening to all the podcasts. And where are they now? So much crickets. And you've seen, I'm sure, Black creators being like, Where is everybody? What's happening? Why aren't you listening anymore? Because they don't have that racial stamina. So I think that it's really important that you take a minute to check in with yourself and figure out, What does it look to do this work in my life in a sustainable way? And I can't give a clear cut answer for that, because that is super personal, but just taking a minute to reflect, and understanding that you need to have accountability to come back to the work. Elise and I have had this conversation before. I feel like it was a long time ago, maybe a year ago? But we were talking about how important it is to have someone there and you're saying, Hey, I'm going to take a step back for a minute, cause I need to catch my breath. Please hold me accountable. I'm coming back in, you know, in two weeks time or however long. So that you can be able to come back into it and feel like, okay, I took a minute. I rested and now I'm ready to continue on. 

[30:36] And the second thing that I would point out is that I've seen a lot of people who hold white privilege, especially LDS people, try to “lead out” when it comes to anti-racism. And that to me is, it's a no. It's a giant no. It was really hard for me because I was excited that the prophet was speaking about anti-racism and inclusion, but it was really hard because the message that he was sending was completely inappropriate. It is not appropriate for white people to be leading out in this work. We need to be looking to Black and indigenous people of color, the people who are actually experiencing the racism, to show us the way. And I'm even doing that. I'm an anti-racist educator and there are tons of activists that I follow and learn from and look to as leaders in my life. So if you're leading out, maybe it means leading out by speaking up when you hear something happen in your all white spaces, but it does not mean that you are, you know, teaching a class about it to your ward or something like that, because sometimes that's just not your place.

[31:31] And then the third stumbling block that I see is that people get really, really down on themselves when they make a mistake. And the reality of this work is that you're going to make a mistake. I always tell people it's just like going to the gym. It's like a muscle that you're building. The first time you go to the gym, you do it, and it's so hard and you feel so awkward. And you're like, Everyone's staring at me, I don't even want to go inside. Right? And it burns. And then as you keep going, you get a little more confident, you use a little more weight and you are going to– Oh my gosh, I was at the gym a few weeks ago with my friend and guys, I don't go to the gym, I usually just work out at my house, but we were doing something and I let go of the bar and it made this huge sound. It was like, boom! And everybody in the gym is staring at me and I'm like, I want to die. This is so embarrassing. And that's going to happen in your anti-racist journey. You're going to say something. You're totally going to step in it in front of your father-in-law, like my husband. Something is going to happen. And it's more about how you respond in that moment. It's not about whether you'll make a mistake. It's about how you respond when you do make a mistake. That really matters. 

Elise: [32:38] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And one of the things that I've heard you talk about and other anti-racism educators talk about, is that, how does your response sound in those moments? Does it sound focused on yourself, right? Are you feeling that guilt and shame and you've changed the conversation to, Oh my gosh, I can't believe I did this. And the tears come after that or is the response an apology and a promise to educate yourself and to do better the next time? I think that's a nice response.

[33:07] Another thing that's often on my mind is just kind of the smallness that we can sometimes feel about, can our individual actions make a change when we are participating in the larger system of white supremacy and patriarchy? In what ways can individual actions change large systems like white supremacy? Do you have any thoughts about that? 

Jasmine: [33:28] Yeah. The biggest place where you can start is within your own sphere of influence. Because there are places that you will be that I can not be. Even though I have a podcast and you can send it off to people, I can not be sitting around at Sunday dinner with you. I can't be in your ward. I can't be at your workplace, right? So you taking the time to understand, What are my values and what does it look like to stick to my values and speak out for my values in every, in “all things and in all places.”

[33:58] But for real though, there are so many people that don't understand that when I'm around, hopefully people don't say those racist jokes, but I know the moment I walk out the door, those things are happening and you are there to speak up. And so I think that starting within your own sphere of influence and change, and then figuring out where does your puzzle piece fit into this work. Because there are so many– I mean, racism touches every single sector, whether it be healthcare, education, the criminal justice system, the job market, all of these things that we are all really passionate about. I, as an educator, that is something that sparked my interest first off, was the education piece of it. So understanding what is your passion and how does it align with anti-racism and how can you use the talents that you have been cultivating for so long to further the work? 

Channing: [34:54] I really love that idea of following your passion and your interests, because, for me, that has been one of the most effective ways that I can still continually be engaged because I'm interested in it. So for me, ecological conservation and ecological justice is a really big passion of mine. And I'm really grateful for all of the ways that the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 kind of coincided with a lot of my love and research for the natural world. And that's when I discovered Leah Thomas, you can find her on Instagram at The Intersectional Environmentalist and I've really appreciated all of the ways that she illustrates just how intertwined racism is with ecological justice and ecological conservation. And so for me, that's one way that I feel like I am just continually unlearning and unraveling so many things in a way that's fascinating and keeps me coming back again and again and again, because it's something that I'm highly motivated toward. And so for me, I feel like that's been a super effective way to engage because I'm there and I want to be there and I'm excited about it. And my passion is there a hundred percent of the time. So I will return if I make a mistake. I do want to be there. And so that's just basically me saying over and over again, Yes! Cheers for that.

Elise: [36:22] One of the things I've loved so far in the conversation is the ways that we've interwoven these small kind of kitschy church phrases that come up time and time and again, like, Oh yeah, be anti-racist at all times, and in all things, in all places, that was the one that you just shared. I think for me, one of the places that I both struggle and love within the church is the fact that we have so many of these gems or these stories that promise liberation for all people or where a God shows up in history to care for their people and to fight for the cause of justice. And I would love to know if in your experience, it doesn't necessarily have to be a primarily LDS story, but do you have any stories that you really love about God and race, or any type of spiritual or scriptural stories that you continue to turn to to find that God of liberation?

Jasmine: [37:19] Yeah. I mean like the New Testament? If you look at Christ, Christ did not come to tell people, “Gather up the most wealthy you can and hoard it and then make sure that no one else has it and make sure that you always have a class of labor people who are doing the work for very little to no cost.” So to me, Jesus is anti-racist. But when I think about God being in the midst of all of this, I think specifically about the civil rights movement, because so many of the leaders were pastors and ministers. I mean, if you look at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, if you look at John Lewis, if you look at so many of the people, this started in the Black church, like the Black church was the home of organization for the civil rights movement. And so I think that that is a really important piece of it, because if you look at the history of our own church, there was a big pushback to the civil rights movement. And I was reading recently that they even opened up their church buildings to people who were segregationists to have organizational meetings so that they could continue to keep segregation in place. And so that is really hard. And that, I think when I shared earlier that I feel more LDS-adjacent right now than I feel like a full-throated member of the church, is because I had an opportunity to go to the Black History Museum in DC. And as I was walking through the walls and like looking at everything and how far my people have come and realizing that I saw God's hand in all of that, it was really hard for me. There was a huge cognitive dissonance between knowing that that was God leading those people, and that the people in our church were specifically speaking out against it and organizing against it. 

[39:14] If I could share a quote from Dr. King in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail, it's one of my favorites. I mean, he has so many great– okay, let me start with this. There is a book, it's called “The Radical King.” It's a compilation of his speeches and it's a really amazing look at Dr. King's perspective through what he said. It's not anyone else. It’s his words. And it starts with, it's chronological. So if you read it, I encourage you to read it, if you can, within a couple of weeks so that you can really see the transformation that he made from the time he first started speaking to the end and it's called “The Radical King” for a reason. So in the Letter From a Birmingham Jail, he says:

“But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the 20th century. I meet young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.”

[40:11] And I know that is not like the inspirational fluffy Martin Luther King quote that you're probably used to, but it resonates with me because that is how I've been feeling lately. And my husband, when we were at the museum together, we took a minute to pause and sit on one of the benches. And I said, How do you feel? And he looked at me and he said, this is sacred. He said, I feel the same feelings that I've experienced in the temple walls. This is sacred ground that we're standing on. I'm so grateful I get to be here. 

[40:46] So really taking a minute to look, not just at scriptural stories, but at historical stories and seeing the hand of God in those has kept me afloat on this journey, because I think that one of the biggest things we need to focus on is hope, and hope is cultivated. Like you were saying, how can these little tiny actions that we're taking really make change? And I think that recognizing that no progress is too small, will help us in the practice of cultivating hope because it does take practice. 

Elise: [41:08] Yeah. Thank you for that reminder that the hand of God can be found not only in church spaces, and in fact, it's often in church spaces where we lack God the most, even though we think we have all the right language and we think we have it all figured out, it's often where we could use the biggest dose of New Testament anti-racism Jesus.  

Channing: [41:32] I'm so grateful that you shared that Martin Luther King Jr. quote, and you're right. It's not like the fluffy fuzzy feel-good warm quote that, you know, especially white people are accustomed to hearing, but I think that that quote illuminates just how important it is that we don't center comfort and we don't center feel good, warm fuzzies because racism isn't a feel good, warm, fuzzy thing. And so for me, I'm here for it. Like, I want those hard hitting reminders that unless this space is open and we can see God, not just in our scriptures, not just in a church framework, but we can see God's hand throughout history and allow ourselves to expand our definition of what God and sacredness actually looks like, unless we're able to do that, then we have forgotten our roots and we have forgotten what it means to truly be one and be inclusive and be unified. So I just am really feeling deeply grateful to have that reminder and yeah, to now be able to have a brand new book recommendation to read. I'm very excited about that.

Elise: [42:44] As we're kind of closing things up here, Jasmine, first of all, thank you for being on the podcast and for sharing all of your thoughts and your experiences and your time and your talents with us. And before we close, you also have some amazing resources out there for families and children. And you have an amazing new project, Ally Elementary. Would you mind sharing that with us?

Jasmine: [43:05]  Yes, I would love to share. So Ally Elementary is a brand new program that I created for families. It's a five week program. And within the five weeks you do a few modules a week and it takes you from beginner to anti-racist allies. It really is your roadmap for raising those anti-racist courageous allies that our communities need. Right now, enrollment is actually closed because I'm taking my very first group through the program and it's been so amazing, but you can absolutely join the waitlist. Just go to, and you can join there. 

[43:50] But this coming year, we're doing Season 2 of Bite-Sized Black History. Bite-Sized Black History is my program that is for kiddos. It is a bite-size black history podcast. So every episode is 10 minutes or less. And it's all about amazing black leaders from history that you probably haven't heard of. So people who have been overlooked by our history books. So I'm really excited to release that in February.

[44:14] But if you're looking for something that you can download right now today, I have, it's called a Race Talk Roadmap. So just go to And I have one for younger kiddos and one for older kiddos and it tells you the first three steps for talking to your kids about race. So if you just enter your email, it will come right to your inbox. And then you can be part of our First Name Basis family.

Channing: [44:38] Oh my goodness, Jasmine, you're so generous with your knowledge and your resources and your everything. Seriously. What an abundance for us to be able to share with our listeners. And we're just so grateful to have the opportunity to be able to share that with everyone. So thank you for sharing it with us and thank you for sharing it with the world.

Jasmine: [44:54] Oh my gosh. Thank you for having me. I really did not mean to cry at the beginning, but I hope that shows you how much I value and appreciate you both!

Elise: [45:03] Yes, we have so much love for you. So again, thank you. A big, big, thank you for being on the podcast. Listeners, we love you so much and we can't wait to talk with you next week. Bye.
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