Are You a Member of the Master Race? White Supremacy Teach-In – April 30

Racism

Do you believe that whites are superior to other races? Are you a member of the “Master Race?” The Klan? A Neo-Nazi? Are your politics Alt-Right?

If you’re reading this Unitarian Universalist blog, probably not. But here are a few other questions: If you are white, how have you benefited from white supremacy in America? What unearned privileges have you enjoyed as a white American without thinking much about them?

Try this: If you were a hiring manager, how would you see an applicant’s “fit” for a job in a mostly white business where people of color usually fulfill service functions? It’s easy to think that you would be supportive of—or at least fair and neutral toward—applicants who don’t look or talk like you. If almost everyone in management has an advanced degree, how would you compare two job seekers—one with and one without this credential?

What if, in the end, you decide to hire the white man with the degree and other qualifications that connect him (remember the “fit?”) to everyone else in the organization?

On Sunday, April 30th First Unitarian Church will set aside its scheduled programs to be part of a Teach-In on white supremacy. More than 500 Unitarian Universalist congregations—about half of the denomination’s churches—have agreed to suspend their  theit usual activities to address white supremacy within the Unitarian Universalism, and to examine our own hearts and minds.

First Unitarian’s teach-in is being held in response to the resignation of UUA President Peter Morales, who “stepped down in the midst of an escalating controversy over the UUA’s hiring practices and statements he made in response to charges that those policies reflect and perpetuate ‘white supremacy’ in the liberal but predominately white religious movement.” (UU World, March 30, 2017)

Sometimes it takes courage to understand how white supremacy privileges some of us and disempowers others. But thinking that you don’t need to grapple with these issues in our denomination, church, and personal lives merely helps perpetuate this discrimination.

—Jeffrey Lott

UUFN to Host Delaware’s March for Science and Our Earth

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The Delaware March for Science and Our Earth will be held in Newark, Delaware, on April 22, 2017. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark will be the starting point. This march is a satellite march for the March for Science being held in Washington, DC

The Delaware March for Science and Our Earth, and the events surrounding the march are meant to focus on our love of science, critical thinking, and our earth. This march demonstrates our passion for science and the environment and sounds a call to support and safeguard the scientific community and our Earth. The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted. The acceleration of climate change and the elimination of environmental protections make this a critical time in our history. 

All are welcome to attend any or all of the following events at the
Newark UU Fellowship, 420 Willa Road, Newark 19711. Phone: (302) 368-2984

Details and a list of confirmed speakers are found at
http://uufn.org/delaware-march-science-earth-2017/

Sign-Making Party: Poster Potluck Extravaganza
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Click here to get a FREE Eventbrite ticket for The Poster Making Potluck Extravaganza. Required due to limited space.

Click here to go to the Facebook Event Page for The Postermaking Potluck Extravaganza

Science Fair for Youthscience-fair
Saturday, April 22, 2017

9:00 am to 10:00 am 

Click here to get a FREE Eventbrite ticket for The Cool Science Fair and Open Mic March Warm Up. Required due to limited space.

Click here to go to the Facebook Event Page for the Cool Science Fair and Open Mic Warm Up Event.

March for Science and Our Earth
Saturday, April 22, 2017 
10:00 am to 12:00 noon

This March is a peaceful walk that will begin and end at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark. The group will gather at 420 Willa Road, proceed north on Willa, turn left on W. Park, turn right on S. Main, turn right on E. Main, turn right on S. College Ave., turn right on W. Park Place and then left on Willa.  Marchers are encouraged to bring signs expressing their love of the sciences and our earth. This is a non-partisan event and we encourage you to create signs with that in mind.

Click here to get a FREE Eventbrite ticket to help us plan for crowd size.

Click here to go to the Facebook Event Page for the Delaware Science March.

Rally in MacKinnon Hall
Saturday, April 22, 2017
12:00 noon to 2:00 pm

Details and a list of confirmed speakers are found at
http://uufn.org/delaware-march-science-earth-2017/

Like Science and Mother Earth, these are non-partisan events. Please create and bring signs with that in mind.

Sinkford’s Call: “Don’t look away this time.”

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Rev. William Sinkford at General Assembly. © 2016 Nancy Pierce/UUA

Yesterday’s announcement of new interim leadership for the Unitarian Universalist Association is but a first step in healing and changing our association. I was particularly heartened by the choice of Rev. William Sinkford — the association’s first African American president (2001–2009) — to lead the UUA until a new president is chosen at General Assembly. No one is better prepared to lead us through this time of reflection and change.

At General Assembly last year, Rev. Sinkford delivered the sermon at the Service of the Living Tradition, and his words have stayed with me. Here’s how UUWorld described Sinkford’s sermon:

Former UUA President Bill Sinkford urged Unitarian Universalists in his sermon to “confront hard truths we would rather avoid” and to see themselves “not as the already conscious waiting for others to wake up,” but as activists more willing to join Black Lives Matter protests, Pride parades, and, generally, “not to look away this time.”

Of the history and legacy of Unitarians and Universalists between the mid-1960s and today regarding racial justice work, Sinkford said, “Our faith looked away. We did not ‘stay woke.’ There is no innocence left for any of us.” He pointed to a possible brighter future, saying, “Resistance is what love looks like in the face of hate. Resistance is what love looks like in the face of violence.”

The Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, one of 45 newly fellowshipped ministers and minister of the UU Congregation of South Fork in New York, said after the service, “I appreciate how energetic the worship feels, but I also feel discomfort, as it seems like the music, largely from black traditions, makes our faith look different than what we really are.”

Johnson also praised Sinkford’s words about the Black Empowerment Controversy of the 1960s, after which hundreds of black UUs left the faith. In his sermon, Sinkford, who is black, referred to the controversy as “a fit of white entitlement,” receiving laughs and enthusiastic cheers from many in attendance.

I was one of those cheering. I thought the laughter was of the nervous embarrassed sort, the way you laugh when someone points out that your fly is down. Bill Sinkford wasn’t making a joke. This was truth-telling of the highest order.

Sinkford began his powerful sermon with a description of his youthful encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who delivered the Ware Lecture at the 1966 General Assembly. The video of Sinkford’s sermon is worth watching in its entirety (24:39).

To me, Sinkford’s point was that Unitarian Universalism didn’t merely miss an opportunity in the 1960s—we blew it. If you study what happened during the Black Empowerment Controversy, which broke over UUism in 1967 and has hurt us ever since, you’ll understand why questions of diversity are so sensitive and important within the UUA—and in our congregation—today. [Books have been written about the Empowerment Controversy, but you can read brief account of it  here.]

As a denomination built from the ground up at the congregational level, before we criticize the UUA, we must examine our own house first. Don’t look away! Stay woke. And let’s not fall into another fit of white entitlement.

—Jeff Lott

Living Up to Our Inherent Goodness

SSL.heart_color_squareOn Sunday, April 30, First Unitarian Church will set aside its usual worship format in favor of an intergenerational teach-in on white supremacy and privilege in Unitarian Universalism. This message from Nora Rasman, campaign director for Standing on the Side of Love describes why and how congregations must and can respond to the call “to look at our own congregations and organizations to understand our internal cultural and institutional practices while assessing our social location in relationship to our wider communities.”

Onward from here

Recent weeks have included important and necessary conversations within Unitarian Universalism about the ways white supremacy has and continues to show up within our faith tradition. We are neither unique nor absolved from doing the hard and urgent work within our faith community to transform into the spiritual home we aspire to.

Courageous leadership from women of color like Christina Rivera and Aisha Hauser have brought us to an important next step on our journey. A time that mandates exploration, navigation and transformation to grapple with the ways white supremacy continues to be perpetuated by our institutions like the UUA. Black Lives of UU wrote a statement on UU & UUA power structures and hiring practices we highly recommend you review.

We know that wherever we are – geographically and politically – our congregations are navigating the waters of white supremacy. We have an opportunity to look at our own congregations and organizations to understand our internal cultural and institutional practices while assessing our social location in relationship to our wider communities. Disrupting such systems requires similar vigilance – relentless, unapologetic and rooted in the visions of liberation we are building towards. Religious educators Aisha Hauser, Christina Rivera and Kenny Wiley, in collaboration with Black Lives of UU, have invited congregations across the country to dedicate their programming on April 30 or May 7 to a #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn. Our faith tells us that our goodness has already been established. Our task, then, is to live up to that inherent goodness.

A little more on the #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn from the BLUU Website:

Note: The #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn is not the time to ask people of color (POC) congregants to teach about White Supremacy. We recommend that if you have a POC facilitator it be either an outside paid facilitator or a religious professional who has VOLUNTEERED to take on this task. In the materials to be released this week, we’ll make clear that UU POC should be provided space and resources to caucus on their own to discuss this topic in whatever way feels meaningful to them. Please ASK, LISTEN and then SUPPORT what they need for the TeachIn.

On Sunday, April 30 or Sunday, May 7, join a large, growing group of Unitarian Universalists who will shift our regularly scheduled Sunday morning worship to participate in a teach-in on racism and white supremacy. On these two Sundays, you and your UU community will be participating with thousands of UUs around the country in this large-scale historic action.

This call to action and worship comes from a growing network of UUs–religious professionals and and lay leaders from both within and outside congregations–led by UUs of color and white UUs working together. 

Over the past few weeks, many have been responding to calls by UUs of color to look critically *within* our faith communities–including hiring practices, power brokers, and cultural habits–for the ways racism, sexism, and white supremacy live.“White supremacy” is a provocative phrase, as it conjures up images of hoods and mobs. Yet in 2017, actual “white supremacists” are not required in order to uphold white supremacist culture. Building a faith full of people who understand that key distinction is essential as we work toward a more just society in difficult political times…

Whether your UU community has dozens of members and children of color, or just about everyone is white, the commitment to combat white supremacy must be strong and urgent. Battling racism in its many forms is not easy. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it takes a commitment to disrupt business as usual.Join the historic #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn movement by filling out the link below to have your UU congregation/community on the list. Materials, announcements, and webinar invites will follow!

I look forward to hearing about how your involvement – and sharing about our involvement – in the #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn fits into existing and emerging work toward dismantling white supremacy within the communities and congregations we are part of.  We close with following from Rev. Mel Hoover as we consider how this – our sacred work – can continue to transform us.

“We can dare to face ourselves in our entirety,
to understand our pain,
to feel the tears,
to listen to our frustration and confusion, and
to discover new capacities and capabilities
that will empower and transform us.”

~ Rev. Mel Hoover, Been In the Storm So Long

In faith,

Nora Rasman
Campaign Director, Standing on the Side of Love

 

Peoples Climate March—Washington, Sat. April 29

Bus will leave from First Unitarian Church. Sign up in Parrish Hall after church or reserve your seat online.

Saturday, April 29th is the 99th day of the Trump Administration. Traditionally Presidents lay out their agenda in the first 100 days of a presidency. With the whole world watching and our future on the line it’s time to stand up for justice, climate action and the kind of world we want to live in. With YOU this will be the biggest outpouring for climate justice this planet has ever seen!

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Get on the bus. Register online: DEclimatemarch.eventbrite.com
Tickets are just $35 (reduced prices available)

Questions? Or to volunteer or to join the DE Planning Team:
Email Stephanie.Herron@sierraclub.org or call 302-468-4550