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


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