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by Cesar Cornier, Social Justice Coordinator

As many of you know I am currently serving as First Church’s Social Justice Coordinator through the Public Allies program. Public Allies is an organization that helps develop leaders in the city by working on capacity building throughout various community organizations and social justice programs. My journey with First Church started in September, and it’s been a truly life changing experience ever since! My service is coming to an end as I graduate from the Public Allies on July 10th. I will be answering emails until July 8th so please feel free to contact me during this time. I will be away from First Church until 2021 to visit.

As the Social Justice Coordinator, some of my duties included supporting the Social Justice Council and its partner organizations. I also worked on the Anti-Racism Team at First Church and helped coordinate the Beloved Conversations opening retreat, a curriculum designed to talk about race in a healthy and progressive way. Other projects I’ve been a part of at First Church include creating a partner relief fund document to support the greater community during this time as well as the mask project with Scot Henry. With the congregation’s help and community partnerships, over 2,200 masks have been distributed in the greater community including 900 to people who are incarcerated.

When I look back at the progress made throughout the year, what I will appreciate the most is the relationships that I’ve built with many of you. Initially, I did not know how I would be received among the congregation and coming from a different background there was a sense of uncertainty. However, those assumptions quickly faded by seeing how supportive people were, and how being from a different culture was actually beneficial in building an inclusive community.

Whether it be a conversation during Coffee Hour or working directly with me on social justice projects, I genuinely appreciate the connections that have been made and will carry them in my heart moving forward. I am proud of all the work that has been done towards social justice and look forward to hearing about the amazing things First Church continues to do!

May we all continue to fight for healing and change in this world.

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