Operating out of: White Rock Baptist Church
5240 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19139
Rev. Steven Lawrence
The mission of NewCORE (New Conversations About Race and Ethnicity) is to “harness the power of sincere conversation about race and ethnicity and use it to break down barriers, facilitate mutual understanding and respect, build bridges, and promote truth, justice, and reconciliation.” NewCORE builds understanding among diverse community members, promotes and facilitates dialogue around controversial issues, promotes and facilitates dialogue among populations that often perceive themselves as oppositional, and convenes influential leaders from differing communities for learning & sharing around issues that build a better Philadelphia. A safe environment built on mutual trust allows each member to speak the truth about her/his own experiences with racism, questions, and struggles. The model encourages participants to speak the truth without trying to be a paragon of appropriateness; at the same time avoiding truths so raw they would intimidate others. The approach goes to the heart of breaking down prejudices, stereotypes and the fears that promote violence in our society. The organization is developing a structure that allows individuals to tell one’s own story without “fear of contradiction.” In following and building on this process, the possibility of opening minds to understand those who are “other” and different from oneself provides a base upon which respect of differences can be built. NewCORE has taken its model into the community on numerous occasions, guiding conversations on race and ethnicity in large venues and small, from a King Day Celebration at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to a café in Kensington; from radio programs to “pop up conversations” in neighborhood churches (responding to crises, e.g. Ferguson), from church conversations following movies, plays, and police / youth center basketball games to providing guidance for dialogue at ecumenical youth events.