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Reviews of Antiracism Resources

Resource: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Reviewed by Roger Green

In February 2015, the Adult Education class at First Pres delved into the 2010 book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It remains one of the most significant texts in the literature of the current civil rights era.

We may be familiar with the era of Jim Crow, after Reconstruction, and surely it was a devastating period of American history. The fiction, however, is that it ended. It just morphed, in no small part because of the so-called "War on Drugs," which was more war on black communities throughout the country.

As Brown University professor Glenn C. Loury wrote in the front of the 2012 paperback version of the book, that the author "argues convincingly that the huge racial disparity of punishment in America is not the mere result of neutral state action. She sees the rise of mass incarceration as opening up a new front in the historic struggle for racial justice. And she's right. If you care about justice in America, you need to read this book!"

More here 

Do you have an antiracism book or other resource you want to share?
One First Pres priority is “combating systemic racism both within and outside the church.”  Many of you are already reading and discussing books and articles that address this underlying racism, and the Membership Committee invites you to share your insights and thoughts in First Pres eblasts.  What did you find enlightening?  For whom would you recommend this particular book or article?  Reviews of other media addressing racism, such as movies, TV shows, podcasts and children’s resources are welcome.  Please email your mini review to: Carol Green.  Questions about reviews may be directed to Carol Green at email or call or text 518-331-1447.
Click here for past reviews




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Underground Railroad Education Center in collaboration with International Coalition of Sites of Conscience invite you to an in-depth conversation with acclaimed historian Gretchen Sorin, PhD, and Emmy-winning director Ric Burns about this all-to-relevant documentary for our turbulent times.

Driving While Black : Race, Space and Mobility in America

Tuesday, May 25 at 6:00pm - 7:30pm

In order to receive the Zoom link to this virtual event please email your name and email address to

Click here for more information

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We offer an online Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation on Thursdays in May and June at 12:30pm via Zoom. Pastor Miriam, Certified Advanced Labyrinth Facilitator, leads each session. and our time together is 30 minutes. This time is open to all, whether you’ve walked a labyrinth in the past or not. You can register here for Thursday, May 27, to receive the zoom link. Please have a Finger Labyrinth available - you can download a paper version if you don’t have your own or Jamie in the church office. Join us!

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First Pres, through the Social Justice and Peacemaking Committee, has been working with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Here are opportunities for education and advocacy:


The Poor People's Campaign New York State chapter has planned a number of actions for May and June. Click here for more details.


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The Property Committee is hosting a Church Workday
 on Saturday, June 5, beginning at 9:00 am.
Various projects both inside and outside the
church building will be addressed. 
Contact Owen Gilbo, chair of Property Committee,
to volunteer or with any questions.

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CROP Hunger Walk 2021 – May 2nd
We have one goal: building a world where there is enough for all.
This is a reminder!
It is not too late to donate to CROP Hunger Walk 2021 and contribute to help combat hunger in our region and globally.  Please note, 25% of all funds raised for the walk will go to local food pantries to assist those who are experiencing food insecurity.
Our team is “First Presbyterian Church of Albany”. 
To make your donation, please go to the Albany CROP Hunger Walk Web Page
You can send a check to Church office by June 5th.  Your check should be made out to “CWS/CROP”.  I suggest you put “CROP Walk 21” in the memo line for your records.

     To date, we have contributed $3,500, 2450 online and $1050 in cash and  
Thank you all once again for participating in this very important mission effort to address and bring attention to hunger, here at home and globally.

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Looking for some fellowship time?

Join other First Pres members at a safe gathering!
Below are some opportunities.
Each gathering is outside*.
Chairs are provided.
Numbers limited to groups of 10.
Reservations required.

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Patio time at Miriam and Glenn’s in Delmar
Beverages and appetizer provided
If you wish, bring an appetizer to share.
Friday, May 28, 5:00 – 7:00
Saturday, May 29, 5:00 – 7:00
Friday, June 4, 5:00 – 7:00
Saturday, June 5, 5:00 – 7:00
Friday, June 18, 5:00 – 7:00
Saturday, June 19, 5:00 – 7:00
RSVP via church office.
* in case of inclement weather, the host will determine
if the event will be cancelled or postponed
If you’re interested in hosting
a porch, patio or deck time at your home,
please contact the church office with details.


Creating a Partnership

Creating Partnerships with the South End Community
In the Sunday’s Adult Education Hour (5/23), we learned about First Pres’ work in the South End. The group was surprised about all the activities in which the church was involved.
In 2011, a small group in the church, known as Journey Inward/Journey Outward, met to discern in which direction God was leading them. It turned out to be the South End in general and Giffen Memorial Elementary School in particular.
  • Tutoring in the classrooms – 23 tutors
  • Author & Illustrator Day  -- 40+ volunteers
  • Serving on combined First Pres/teacher planning committee for this – 6 and 6
  • Repaired musical instruments – Chris Trombley
  • Assisted Violin teacher – Peggy Schalit
  • Installed playground equipment & cleaning yard – 20 volunteers
  • Books presented to all graduating students
Wizard’s Wardrobe
  • As an outgrowth of our tutoring at Giffen, the Wizard’s Wardrobe, a free, one-on-one, afterschool tutoring program covering reading, writing and problem, was born. With much work from volunteers, the Meals-on-Wheels space was turned into a warm, inviting environment that welcomes our young students. Based upon a TED talk recommended by Shellie DeGraff (“Once Upon a School”), we unashamedly stole their idea and crafted it to our own situation. Many volunteers (50+) worked on getting this space up and running. We presently have 21 students and 26 tutors. Some of our students have even had the honor of reading their writing at the SUNY Annual Book Festival.
Baby Institute
  • Another result of our work at Giffen is working with the Baby Institute. This is a program of nine classes preparing parents to be their child’s first teacher. There are three sessions during the year. We provide handmade quilts to the graduates of this program for their children.
Other groups we work with are:
  • AVillage, Inc. – National Night Out, Mississippi Day, Environmental justice issues, support annual fundraising event, farmers’ market (now Night Market)
  • South End Neighborhood Associations (SENA) – monthly meetings
  • South End Community Collaborative
  • Mission Health Clinic - volunteers
  • South End Children’s Café – some of our students go there for dinner
Group Work Camp
  • This is a mission-like summer program that First Pres partnered with to bring 400 youth to Albany to do simple home repairs. When not all the projects on the list were completed, First Pres continued work for 2-3 years mostly in the South End to complete the work.
Collaboration with Walls Temple AME Zion Church
  • One outcome of being involved with SENA was coming to know Rev. Al Meadows of Wall’s Temple. He and Eric attended a Community Organizing Training put on by NEXT Church (a Presbyterian entity) and have formed a group know by the name 5 X 5. (Five members from each of our congregations.) Working and planning together, Walls Temple cooked for one of our events and we helped with a Father’s Day community picnic at Wall’s Temple. In addition, the Wizard’s Wardrobe held their Imagination Celebration at Wall’s Temple the year we outgrew our space. The pandemic has put this on hold, but we would like to renew this work.

Youth Group

Virtual Youth Group will continue at 11am on Sundays, while we also add the following in-person events:

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Memorial Day Monday, May 31, 12-3pm 
Art Build & Picnic 

First Pres Youth will be co-hosting this event with the Poor People's Campaign. If you don't already have plans for Memorial Day, please plan to come to this. Great opportunity to bring a friend! We honor those who have died, by advocating for the health of those still living.
Gather in the FPC Parking Lot. We will picnic together, learn about Healthcare as a Human Right, create banners and signs for upcoming Healthcare actions.


Tuesday, 5/25     9:00am   Men's Bible Study
                            6:30pm   FOCUS Board 

Wednes., 5/26    6:30pm   Women's Small Group
                            7:00pm   Dads' Small Group

Thurs., 5/27       7:00am    Men's Bible Study
                          12:30pm   Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation
                            5:00pm   Ad Hoc Committee Meeting

Saturday, 5/29  10:00am   Muslim Soup Kitchen day

Sunday, 5/30      8:45am    Adult Education 
                            9:15am   Children’s Education  
                          10:00am   Live Stream Worship (communion)
                          11:00am   Virtual Youth Group
                          11:15am   Fellowship Time via Zoom

Monday, 5/31   12:00pm   Art Build & Civil Disobedience Training
                                           at FPC Parking Lot/Washington Park

Tuesday, 6/1       9:00am   Men's Bible Study
                            5:30pm   Outreach and Mission Committee Meeting
                            5:30pm   Property Committee Meeting
                            7:00pm   Membership Committee Meeting
                            7:30pm   Social Justice & Peacemaking Committee Meeting

Wednes., 6/2     11:00am   Staff Meeting
                            5:30pm   Special Session Meeting

Thurs., 6/3         7:00am    Men's Bible Study
                          12:30pm   Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation
                            4:30pm   Anti- Racism Task Force
                            7:30pm   Chancel Choir Virtual Meeting

Saturday, 6/5      9:30am   Church Work Day

Sunday, 6/6        8:45am    Adult Education 
                            9:15am   Children’s Education  
                          10:00am   Live Stream Worship (communion)
                          11:00am   Virtual Youth Group
                          11:15am   Fellowship Time via Zoom

Tuesday, 6/8       9:00am   Men's Bible Study
                          10:00am   Clergy Meeting
                            6:30pm   Stewardship Committee Meeting

******* All meetings will be held via Zoom.*******
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Contact info: please use this number 518-439-7492 (instead of church phone)

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