RJI Praxis Group Update – April 2018

2. Service and Solidarity. The congregation offers concrete support and service to resource movements for racial justice, allowing frontline communities to strategically channel their energy and resources into Leadership.

The above assessment point was the focus of our February 2018 Praxis Group meeting. This year UUCWC began supporting Black Lives Matter Trenton in their Books and Breakfast program through a quarterly donation of breakfast foods. We have also supported the donation of socks for refugee camps. The Praxis Group felt that UUCWC is just beginning to explore the implications of concretely supporting racial justice groups that are developing their own internal leadership.

What would we like to do?

  • Partner with Princeton UU church to provide logistical support around supporting undocumented immigrants if they are a sanctuary site. CFA is continuing this discussion with the Princeton church in April.
  • Work on paradigm shift to become an ally (listening vs telling; moving away from white rescuer role and practicing cultural humility) to organizations; using financial resources to empower People of Color led organizations to follow their own mission
  • Check in periodically with existing relationships (where we partner with other organizations) to see if there is a different way of partnering/supporting their activities
  • Check out our assumptions about what it means to help and see how it may be complicit with white supremacy and how does it challenge it
  • Be mindful of the organizations we support and who is leading these organizations in trying to dismantle supremacy systems
    Institutionalize racial justice lens/dismantling supremacy system in strategic planning and any self-evaluation process

Next steps:

Develop an internal process for addressing how issues are discussed and resolved when there is a difference of perspective between different groups in the congregation particularly around issues of race and ethnicity and cultural misappropriation (e.g. how auction theme is developed and who weighs in)…remember our theme last month that included practicing ‘cultural humility’? We are starting to see opportunities, especially as white UUs to live out our commitment to racial justice and changing a culture that does not cultivate humility in relation to racial and cultural differences. We are realizing we can’t afford to be oblivious to how our choices and decision making is impacted by these factors.

We are further realizing through discussions related to the 8th Principle, that adoption of this Principle would provide a powerful statement and commitment that our spiritual wholeness and development is inextricably linked to addressing racial injustice. Hope you have been or will be able to participate:

Opportunities to participate in small sharing/listening groups focused on the upcoming vote on UUCWC adopting the 8th Principle; see www.8thprincipleuu.org ; April 8 and 15 in the Sanctuary at 12:30pm facilitated by Right Relations Committee with assistance from Racial Justice Initiative participants; April 22 during the middle hour.

Thanks for your participation and commitment—comments? Email us: racialjustice@uucwc.org

Dan Tuft, Co-Chair, Racial Justice Initiative