UUCWC adopted the 8th Principle last June. In so doing, we covenanted and affirmed to journey toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
I’ll admit that last summer, as I was planning the children’s Religious Education (RE) year, I didn’t know where to begin in trying to dismantle white supremacy in our RE program. Fortunately, last fall, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Lifespan Faith Development Office was looking for congregations to pilot a newly developed structured process to begin to dismantle white supremacy in RE programs.
The process involved using an assessment tool to help set goals based on what the assessment showed. It is meant to be “ a rigorous means for ongoing reflection and responsible leadership in the learning process of all ages of Unitarian Universalists.” I applied to be part of the pilot and was selected (I think because UUCWC had just passed the 8th principle).
Beginning in December, I formed a Dismantling White Supremacy in RE Team comprised of Maria Baratta, Nathalie Edmond, Barbara Jensen, Colleen McCourt, Dan Tuft and John Ueng-McHale. Each team member answered an assessment tool designed to subjectively measure eight different aspects of multicultural receptivity in our RE program. Although the ratings are subjective, they still provide valuable information in helping to think more deeply about multiculturalism and institutional change.
Based on the results of the assessment, the team came up with 7 goals for our RE program and 2 suggestions for worship (which have been passed on to Rev. Kim and the Worship Associates). Here are the goals:
2019-20 Religious Education Plan for Transformation
- The Family Ministry Team will offer two in-person opportunities to give feedback to the RE program per year.
- All Regular RE lead teachers will be asked and all assistant teachers will be strongly encouraged to complete an in depth anti racism training within 2 years. In depth anti racism trainings include but are not limited to: ARE classes such as Beloved Conversations, Living the 8th principle, and RJI daylong workshops on anti-racism.
Childcare will be provided. It is hoped that additional training will allow teachers to better support children of color, to model being advocates and allies to people of color in the classroom, and to add anti racism, anti oppression and multiculturalism connections to existing lessons where appropriate.
- The DLRE will supplement current curriculum with four age- appropriate multicultural, anti-racism, anti-oppression lessons from other sources per year (12% of RE Sundays). Additionally, voices of non-white UU’s will be added to curriculum
- When showing teachers curriculum options, the DLRE will highlight where each curriculum focus on anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism.
- The Family Ministry Team will organize an annual gathering of families of color to help families of color build community and to solicit feedback for their faith development needs
- The Family Ministry Team will rewrite the RE committee’s mission/vision statement to include multiculturalism, anti racism, anti oppression goals.
- In teacher training, The DLRE will include specific instruction on the 8th principle including: what it is, its history, and how to live it as a UU.
- There will be an annual 8th principle Worship service, including a time for all ages that reminds people what the 8th principle is and how we came to adopt it.
- The Worship Associates and the minister will increase the voices of non-white UU’s in worship services.
At the moment I am without a children’s RE committee. I plan to form a Family Ministry team this summer whose first responsibility will be to help implement these goals. It is recommended that this Assessment Tool be used annually to assist congregations in the management of change as a developmental process, not as a one-time gathering of information. The goals listed above are our first step in working toward dismantling white supremacy in our religious education program.
I’m thankful for being part of this pilot. I needed something concrete to use to look for signs of white supremacy in RE and to have a systematic way to address it. If you are on a committee that is not sure how to proceed with their 8th principle work, I believe that the pilot assessment could be adapted to be used by other committees. Contact me if you want more information.