On Friday, A Minister Aims To Open A Dialogue Around Race, Social Justice

An event this Friday is offering the Boston College community a space for reflection on the shootings this past June at a church in Charleston, S.C., in which nine people were shot dead during a religious gathering. Rev. Dr. Gregory Groover will speak at the Diversity and Justice Series Event titled, “Bearing Witness: Reflection on the Emanuel AME Church Shooting.” The event, sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Work, will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Heights Room at Corcoran Commons.

Groover serves as the President of the Black Ministerial Alliance. He is the pastor of The Historic Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church. In addition to being a minister, Groover is a social worker—he earned his master’s in Social Work from Columbia University.

“This correlation of two backgrounds brings a unique perspective of being a minister of the community with the background of understanding social work,” said Paul Kline, a member of the Diversity and Justice Committee in the School of Social Work, which organized this event. “Our profession seeks to advance the cause of justice in all that we do. Rev. Groover’s presentation and presence will provide us with an opportunity to discover new pathways for social change through advocacy and action.”

Since this talk is open to the entire BC community, Kline hopes there will be a widespread discussion about race in America, not limited to those with a social work background. Kline outlined two main objectives of this talk. First, it will explore how the killings are a manifestation of a larger racism problem. Second, it will address how the BC community can pursue the cause of justice in response to the shootings. As a social worker and minister, Kline said, Groover can promote healing and recovery for those that have faced racially motivated crimes.

In this talk, Groover aims to explore pathways to healing for survivors of shooting violence, while also furthering the discussion about pathways to healing and recovery through conversations Kline said.

Kline said Groover’s background as both a social worker and minister creates a union of wisdom and experience regarding racism.

“Social workers are deeply involved in addressing the most stubborn and thorny social problems that create barriers to true freedom and healthy development,” Kline said. “Chief among these is our country’s history of slavery and racism. We look forward to Rev. Groover deepening our understanding of how this terrible crime is rooted in our nation’s history and ongoing failure to eradicate the systemic and personal pathologies that produce such acts.”

Featured Image by Boston Globe