Racial & Economic Justice

Racial & Economic Justice

Part of our work is understanding how systemic injustices intersect and compound one another, and spreading that knowledge through the faith community to inform our work as leaders. Both racial and economic justice are lenses through which we approach work in all areas.

Our statement on the Supreme Court striking down affirmative action

June 29, 2023

The Peninsula Solidarity Cohort denounces the Supreme Court’s decision today in two important rulings that seek to dismantle Affirmative Action. As clergy and faith leaders in San Mateo County we see and recognize the ongoing reality of racial segregation in every aspect of our common life, the ongoing effects of white supremacy. We see it in higher education, the specific focus of today’s rulings and we also see it even in our own peninsula communities, particularly in housing and access to medical care. We appreciate the prophetic witness of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s dissent, “Deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”

And we stand with the NAACP in its statement today: “Race plays an undeniable role in shaping the identities of and quality of life for Black Americans. In a society still scarred by the wounds of racial disparities, the Supreme Court has displayed a willful ignorance of our reality.”

As faith leaders and organizers, we pledge to address the injustice of this ruling in our congregations, to educate ourselves and our communities about the ongoing effects of racism and the need for affirmative action as well as for reparations and reconciliation. We believe that change is possible in ourselves, in each other, and in institutions and systems of oppression. We pledge to the Black Communities in particular, to all BIPOC communities and all those affected by this step backward to do all that we can to move forward together. We all benefit from a racially integrated society, and we recognize the need for interventions like affirmative action to move us forward. To quote a South African freedom song from the anti-apartheid movement, “We shall not give up the fight, we have only started.” This ruling is our call to action.

Revs. Jim Mitulski, Marlyn Bussey and Penny Nixon
Peninsula Solidarity Cohort

2020 Juneteenth BLM Vigil

Racial justice and economic justice do not have a separate working group, because they are common themes woven throughout our work.

This page lists some of the actions the cohort has engaged in, and the sessions we’ve organized, that speak directly to the racial and economic issues within the systems and structures that affect our communities.

Rev. Dr. Marlyn Bussey speaking at the 2020 Juneteenth vigil.


  • Faith in Action Juneteenth Black Lives Matter Vigil
  • 2021 Rally and March for Black Lives
  • Blessing Ceremony for Pray Our Names BLM Installation at Island United Church
  • Helped with PICO CA’s Faith Votes for Love and Justice Guide
  • PICO Interfaith Leaders’ Moral Narrative program
  • Panel on Race/Racism with the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition
  • Attended special meeting of San Mateo City Council regarding basic income and wage theft protections
  • Offered prayer at rally to support striking workers at nursing home


Editorials from the Cohort in the San Mateo Daily Journal.

Sessions & Presentations

Cohort sessions with broader perspective on racial and/or economic justice include the following:

  • Hypercapitalism with Jennifer Martinez of PICO California
  • Engaging with Business Leaders with Maya Perkins and Vinita Goyal
  • Economic Justice/Schools and Communities First with Emily Beach, Mayor of Burlingame and Jennifer Martinez, PICO California
  • Budget Advocacy and Vaccine Equity in San Mateo County with Roberto Manchia, CFO of SMC and Shireen Malekafzali, Health Policy, Planning and Equity of SMC
  • Faith, Funding and Effective Budget Advocacy with Scott Graves, CA Budget and Policy Center; Mauricio Palma, SVCF
  • Theatre of the Oppressed with Jiwon Chung
  • Implicit Bias with Dr. Rebecca Hetey
  • The Belong Movement with Ben McBride and Joseph Mckellar
  • Working with Civic Leaders: the Behind-the-Scenes-Story, a panel with Seven Civic Leaders
  • (En)Countering Bias and Bigotry with Rebecca Hetey on implicit bias and Vlad Khaykin, Anti-Defamation League, on anti-Semitism
  • Census 2020 with Sonny Le, Census Bureau and Stephanie Kim, United Way
  • PICO CA’s Strategic Plan and Bias in Language with Joseph McKeller, PICO and Rebecca Hetey
  • Post-Election: Where are We? How are We? What is Needed Now? with Jennifer M, Adriana Guzman, Valarie Kaur
  • White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity with Robert P. Jones
  • Racial Justice Voter Guide with Jennifer Martinez, PICO CA
  • Good Religion with Bishop Yvette Flunder
  • Minefields of the Mind at the End of the World with BK Woodson and Rabbi Lisa Delson