Social Justice Matters, Inc. of Scotch Plains/Fanwood and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Westfield joined forces in 2018 to create the Anti-Racism Community Collaborative (ARCC). ARCC’s mission is to bridge divides, create awareness, and develop innovative ways to build just and equitable communities.
ARCC aims to pave the way for collaboration among communities, organizations and leaders, connecting them in common causes and promoting information-sharing with the goal of:
· amplifying their impact on the community and maximizing their efforts
· creating efficiencies of scale, and
· crafting opportunities for collaboration
In 2019, ARCC launched its ongoing Dialogue Circles on Race. Through two-hour, facilitated sessions over five consecutive weeks, participants engage in honest conversations about race and racism, respond to enlightening readings, deepen self-awareness and seek ways to make communities more equitable. Dialogue Circles are made possible through generous grants from The New Jersey Council for the Humanities and The Westfield Foundation, and in collaboration with the Summit Interfaith Council Anti-Racism Committee. Participation in Dialogue Circles is free of charge.
ARCC’s recent offerings include two well-attended, free community events at Shady Rest Country Club in Scotch Plains, the nation’s first African American-owned and -operated country club.
On May 18, 2019, ARCC presented “The Secrets of Shady Rest … and Other Hometown Stories in Black and White, Hidden in Plain Sight.” The program was designed to deepen understanding of the intersecting histories of black and white residents in our corner of Union County.
On Jan. 21, 2020, ARCC offered a Day of Racial Healing that featured the Meta Theatre’s production of “Dismantling the Racism Machine.” The program brought together organizational leaders for a session on interaction, healing, and inspiration as part of the National Day of Racial Healing created by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.