Workers’ Rights, ‘New Jim Crow’: Report from ACREC

Report from the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns

December 2, 2011, by Courtney Hoekstra

ACREC LogoThe Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC) had their fall meeting in early November in Louisville, where the major highlights of their time together directly contributed to the work they are doing for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 220th General Assembly (2012). The committee used most of its time learning from experts about the issues of racial justice that ACREC hopes to bring to the attention of the denomination.

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer awakened the group to the depths at which the Bible addresses issues of workers’ rights, criminal justice, and immigration. In preparing their reports for General Assembly, ACREC will ground their work in the wealth of scriptural resources presented by Dr. Aymer.

Kim Bobo, Director of Interfaith Worker Justice, spoke to the committee on the many injustices committed against workers in the United States. While ACREC’s attention to workers’ rights was initiated by the major attacks on unions and collective bargaining rights and the ways in which people of color are most acutely affected by these attacks, one of the concerns Ms. Bobo also brought to the fore was the major issue of wage theft. Most of the committee was unfamiliar with how widespread this particular injustice is, and they plan to use their report to the General Assembly to expose this issue more broadly.

Finally, the committee attended a lecture by Dr. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Several people had already read her book in preparation for their report writing, but this gave the entire group the opportunity to learn about the ways in which the so-called “war on drugs” has systematically stripped away the basic rights of countless black men across the country.

Equipped with these invaluable resources, ACREC is now working on how to connect and challenge the larger denomination with this information.

Read more about the issues examined and advocated by ACREC!


photo og courtney hoekstra


Courtney Hoekstra serves as Associate for Advocacy Committee Support in the Presbyterian Church (USA), staffing the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns and the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns. Before serving in her current position, Courtney completed her M.Div. and Th.M. at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
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