Social Justice

Formed in March of 2021, we are exploring opportunities for our congregation and our wider community to learn about racism and inequality with a further goal of making a positive impact in St Louis through collaboration with other area churches, the wider American Baptist denomination, local government and our immediate community.

Some of our initial steps include:

  • Contacting area churches to discover parallel efforts and conversations and seeking opportunities for collaboration.
  • Conversations with local government and police to understand measures they're taking to address racism and inequality and ultimately to advocate social justice issues
  • Reaching out to American Baptist Churches USA to learn from our denomination's journey with social justice issues, specifically their Anti-Racism Taskforce
  • Educate ourselves through readings and sharing personal experiences

If you have any interest in collaborating with us, please drop us a line at with Social justice in the subject line or call our church office at (314) 991-3424.

Second Baptist's Statement on Racism

Last year our pastor crafted a statement of racism which he initially intended as a more of statement from the staff and leadership. However after sharing it with the full congregation, the statement was so strongly endorsed that we voted to claim it as our church's collective stance on racism. Read it in full here

American Baptist Policy Statement on Racial Justice

Back in 1983, our denomination released a statement on racial justice that reads as if could have been written within the last year. While it echoes the sentiment of our own church's statement, includes an itemized list of specific acknowledgements about racism and takes stances on those observations. Our group considers it a must read. 

What We're Reading

While we may settle on a single book to read together in the late summer or fall, until now we've each been reading different books stemming from our own personal interests in broadening our understandings of racism, structural inequalities, and racial justice. Hopefully we'll add some short reflections on each book below and keep a list of who's read what in case others want to connect on a specific book.

  • STAMPED – Racism, Anitracism, and You

    by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

    Review by Pat Justis:
    This #1 New York Times Bestseller is a “remix” of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, by Kendi. This book is meant for youth, and I enjoyed how it provided an overview of related history while claiming it is “not a history book.” Certainly, it is not written as a typical history book, and is very direct and conversational, and provides extensive source notes. This was a fast read that balances humor and tough realities in a way that kept me engaged and I learned a lot about how racism started, progressed, and how it manifests today. I highly recommend it!

    Link to NPR Review

  • How to Fight Racism

    by Jemar Tisby

    Review by Larry Marks:

    Jamar Tisby is a social commentator, historian, lecturer, and author of The New York Times bestseller, The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism . He holds a MDiv degree from the Reformed Theological Seminary.

    In his book, How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice, Tisby provides specific recommendations for white and Black individuals and congregations that focus on what he refers to as “The ARC of Racial Justice”, which involves three key components:

    •          Awareness of essential knowledge, information, and data required to fight racism.
    •          Relationships with people who are different in order to enhance understanding and facilitate opportunities for cooperation.
    •          Commitment to specific activities and processes designed to dismantle racist structures, laws, and policies.

    Given Tisby’s religious background and training, he provides frequent Biblical references and moral perspectives. 

  • The Color of Law - A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

    by Richard Rothstein

    Review by Pat Justis:

    This eye-opening and well-documented book makes clear just how systemic racism has held back and hurt Black Americans through restrictions and inequities. Interesting to me was to learn how much was done by federal policy that contributed to racial segregation in St. Louis. I think it is important for us to think about why those policies were put in place and who they were meant to benefit.

  • Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

    by Emmanuel Acho

    Review by Pat Justis:
    I love this conversation book that unconventionally, but logically, takes on racism by having a conversation. Acho’s take is that we have to have uncomfortable conversations to dismantle racism, and I agree with his thinking. In the book, Acho presents a number of questions he’s been asked, and for each he answers the questions in three sections:

    • “Let’s Rewind,” where he gets into the historical context;
    • “Let’s Get Uncomfortable,” where he dives in directly to the issue at hand; and,
    • “Talk it, Walk it,” in which Acho suggests ways that we can deal with the specific issue at hand.

    I highly recommend this easy to read and interesting dialogue with Acho. It would make a great book club selection!

  • The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

    by Heather McGee

    Being read by Larry M.

  • Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City

    by Colin Gordon

    Being read by Pat J.

  • How to Be an Antiracist

    by Ibram X. Kendi

    Read by Pat J.