As we celebrate the What Lies Between Us (WLBU) curriculum’s 5-year anniversary, it amazes me to think that it all started in someone’s living room. At that point, the curriculum didn’t even have a name! But it was a beginning — a starting point. We all have a starting point in all things, and rarely do we begin a journey without a clear destination in mind. But what do you do when that destination isn’t so clear, when that journey begins in a certain direction but without a certain end-result? Well, I have always been taught to set smaller goals to keep on the right path. My teaching pastor says, “Your direction determines your destination.” Who could have predicted that a pandemic would direct us to move from the living room to having people meet online across so many different time zones?
I believe God knew the direction Brownicity would be going, and He knows the ultimate destination. But in the meantime, we encourage each WLBU participant to share with us their goal prior to taking the 5-session class. This seemingly small goal helps class members anchor themselves each week and stay the course when things get emotionally heavy. Our recent online group participants shared some of their goals with us:
to learn more about our country’s history,
to grow in awareness of the past,
to help them navigate the present and future,
to understand their own biases surrounding race/ism,
to learn how to dialogue on difficult topics when others disagree.
This curriculum is designed to foster first steps toward racial healing; and by the end of this class, each participant realized that this was simply their starting point, rather than a destination. A journey toward racial healing is a life-long learning process — with ups and downs, with tears and celebrations, with difficult ‘aha’ moments, and never without HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. This is that safe place where we lean in to grow in our understanding of people, policies, and practices that have led to individual and systemic racism today.
I am grateful to Dr. Lucretia Carter Berry who created the What Lies Between Us curriculum, unsure of the ultimate destination, but with a confident goal to provide others with a much needed sound start. Be sure to check out all that Brownicity has to offer on their learning platform and start this journey with a solid foundation.
WLBU, congratulations on your 5-Year Anniversary!
What is keeping you from beginning this journey toward racial healing? How could beginning this journey affect those coming after you?
What LIES Between Us Timeline
Brownicity was launched.
Dr. Berry was invited to more church and parachurch gatherings to teach the curriculum, which she named 28-Day Race Ideology Detox. That name didn’t work because people shortened it to the RACE CLEANSE!! (Nope! That is NOT okay!) Because the curriculum exposes a number of lies, Naeem Fazal, Lucretia’s pastor suggested the curriculum be named, What LIES Between Us.
After receiving more requests for the course, and so that learners could do the study independently, Dr. Berry wrote out the curriculum in the form of a journal and guide, self-published it, and linked its resources on the Brownicity website.
Course sizes grew from averaging 25 to 30 participants to ranging in sizes from 90 to 300 learners. To improve the user experience and eliminate her original grammatical errors (She was so embarrassed!), Dr. Berry updated the study guide to its second edition.
As demand grew for the course, a third edition of the WLBU Journal and Guide included updated website information, a forward by Naeem Fazal, and a more polished look.
Brownicity launched its Learning Community Membership, which expanded access to WLBU and other Brownicity designed learning experiences for churches, schools. and companies.
The WLBU LIVE broadcast hosted over 2600 enrollments, including families and small groups, and reached places beyond the U.S., like New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada — all learning together simultaneously!
Brownicity launched WLBU Certified Instructor Development to teach learners how to facilitate the course. (Yes, there is a very specific way to foster growth for beginners.)
Church leaders and parachurch organizations are finding the WLBU curriculum a valuable tool to foster a shared understanding and lay a sound foundation so that their members may move forward together toward healing.