Deacon Ted Moore has been with the Anti-Racism Commission since just about forever. He’s a soft-spoken, elegant sort of guy who describes listening to jazz as one of his great passions. When asked his favorite song, he smiles and says, “Polkadots and Moonbeams.” I asked him if he recalled where he was the first time he heard it. He said, “Probably in 1958, in Washington DC. It must have been the Count Basie version.”
(Here’s a link to it as sung by Miss Sarah Vaughn which Ted and I listened to the other day when having this conversation.)
I asked Ted, “What is the most astonishing thing that has come to pass which you would never have imagined in 1958?”
He said, “The life of my youngest daughter. When she was born, we were told that she would not live into her teens. She is now in her fifties. Truly miraculous.”
Spectacular, miraculous things do indeed happen. When asked about the diocese’s Anti-Racism Training and why we continue to have it, he said, “Many people would like to say, ‘oh, we’re in a post racial country today.’ But the effects of racism continue, and even though we’re in the Episcopal Church, which says we should treat people as human beings, that we should treat each other the same, people are not treated the same. It affects our opportunity to get along. The opportunity to buy housing, to acquire housing, even just to get an apartment. It affects people when purchasing goods and services.” Ted says this without rancor, but his words carry the weight of truth and lived experience.
About the training, he says, “We want to point that out in a way that’s not threatening, but from a factual, historical perspective. And when you add the experiences of people of color today, it demonstrates that racism is still alive and well.”
Over the years, Ted’s commitment to the Anti-Racism Ministry has been unwavering. He said, “People would say to me, ‘You’re wasting your time.’ But I knew (the training) is going to change people, because we need more and better interracial discussions about racism, its history and consequences. Coming to that realization was not difficult at all. If you change one, if you change one person, then you’re helping the cause.”
Now, after years of service, Ted Moore will be stepping down from his position as co-chair at the end of this month. Perhaps it will give him a bit more time to listen to jazz. As for changing people?
Well, I can only speak for myself. I took Anti-racism training and it sure changed me.
Our next session begins July 29. Click here to learn more.