RJI Praxis Group Update – June 2018

8. Institutional Transformation The congregation engages in critical self-assessment and seeks outside consultation to ensure that power structures and practices align with stated racial justice values and make space for diverse leadership and participation.

Our April Praxis area was Institutional Transformation. We will have one more submission for CrossCurrents that will summarize our final two topics from May and June. The leadership of RJI transitions in July to Mary McKillip from Nathalie and me…thank you Mary!

What we already do in this area:

  • Follow up from having Beloved Conversations was creation of RJI praxis group to do self-assessment of how congregation is living its values related to racial justice
  • One of the board’s goals this year was to work towards institutionalizing the racial justice lens (decentering whiteness) and contributed to a discussion around changing the auction theme
  • RJI praxis group recommended that congregation vote on proposed 8th principle which will happen in June and RJI sponsored variety of educational events to continue conversations in this area
  • We have hosted workshops around anti-racism work with outside trainers and Beloved Conversations leader for initial weekend retreat is outside trainer
  • We are within UUA suggested guidelines around compensation

What we don’t do much of:

  • Not clear if we are intentional in using contractors/businesses that are minority owned in terms of doing congregational business (We pick up on this theme in our May meeting focusing on Financial life of our community)

What would we like to do?

  • Have more dialogues in covenant around proposed 8th principle and where people are in their journey of exploring anti-racism and holding the congregation accountable and welcoming different perspectives/dissent
  • Would like to continue to work on decreasing siloes between committees/groups and encouraging mutual partnership and enhanced communication/transparency. Membership is exploring a new model of committee and membership work
  • Work towards using diverse contractors/minority owned businesses for capital campaign; recommendation was made to invite capital campaign representatives and other individuals who could speak to businesses we utilize in church business for May meeting which is focused on financial partnership and fundraising
  • Have more people be aware of Aspiring Allies group, Poor People’s campaign, June 30th Soul Food auction dinner at congregation sponsored by RJI in collaboration with Hope Rises Up to support Stoutsburg Sourland African American museum
  • Be able to partner with groups in the future to have a service auction where profits benefit not only congregation but also other organizations

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

Dan Tuft, Co-Chair, RJI Praxis Group