RJI Praxis Group Update – August 2018

by Dan Tuft

Hello again everyone and as promised in this final installment of the updates from the Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) Praxis Group that ended after our June meeting, I am combining highlights of our May and June meetings below.
Read through to the end of this article for what is happening next!

4. Financial Partnership & Fundraising
The congregation is self-aware about is financial resources and networks and is willing to leverage this power to channel money into movement building for racial justice beyond the congregation.

What we already do in this area:

  • 50% of the plate goes to Council for Faith in Action (CFA) which takes requests for donating to local and national organizations committed to social justice work
  • There is a process and structure to change donation priority year to year through CFA
  • Took special collection to support BLUU initiative

What we don’t do much of:

  • Intentionally seek out services/companies from People Of Color businesses
  • Using “reparations model” for soliciting bids, hiring and paying organizers, businesses, activists, speakers that are People Of Color

What would we like to do? (Highlights)

  • Have a racial justice lens that helps guide the direction for bidding and hiring process
  • Have more of a connection between 8th principle philosophy and financial decisions
  • Revisit who CFA donates to or maybe have a strategic plan for who we donate to that may be outside of nonprofit industrial complex and support POC led businesses
  • Have capital campaign proposals/bids recruit from a diverse pool

9. Worship, Ritual & Celebration
The congregation regularly expresses its commitment to building a racially just and loving world through communal workshop, embodied ritual and practices of joy and gratitude.

What we already do in this area:

  • Try to incorporate readings and music from People of Color

What we don’t do much of:

  • Holding a vigil at congregation in response to racial justice issue
  • Creating opportunities for congregants to engage in rituals of confession, atonement, forgiveness, and re-commitment to racial justice work
  • Don’t have a lot of representation from POC on worship associates and choir

What would we like to do? (Highlights)

  • Get more POC in pulpit, within and outside of congregation
  • Have POC as worship associates or be more flexible about how people can participate in services without being a worship associate
  • Have a service that is very different style, maybe a different day of the week
  • Create space for confession and atonement around microaggressions and racism

Where are we now…. what is next?

Watch this space…. we will stay in touch!

  • Nathalie Edmond will be doing an ARE course/ministry on “Living the 8th principle” that will meet once per month —second Monday evenings from October through May
  • Mary McKillip has taken over chair of RJI as of July 1; there will be a steering committee that will meet monthly
  • Beloved Conversations alumni reunion this fall; mark your calendars for the evening of Friday, November 2
  • Anti-Racism Workshop October 13
  • The Nonviolent Communication Workshop in July was filled and had a waiting list.
  • Racial Justice Book Group hosted by Lynne Molnar, along with the Hopewell Valley Race and Diversity Group, will meet on September 16, 2:30-4:30pm. The book is Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston. Email Lynne at molnar181@gmail.com for details and to RSVP.

Thanks for your participation and commitment. Comments or questions? Email us: racialjustice@uucwc.org.