By Nathalie Edmond, for UUCWC Board of Trustees
I am writing this article from my multiple identities, values and commitments. Some of my identities – I am a UU, person of color, mother of bi-racial children, steering committee member of local chapter of Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, UUCWC board member, and co-chair of the Racial Justice Initiative. I have been exploring UU history in relationship to its commitment to racial justice. It seems that UUs have always been on both sides of the fight for developing an anti-racist and multicultural community and have struggled to make consistent structural changes to support funding of anti-racism work which was highlighted in 2017 when it was revealed there were not inclusive hiring practices at the UUA and the language of white supremacist systems started to emerge.
This inconsistent support of racial justice work appears to be true in the history of UUCWC as well. Three years ago UUCWC recommitted to racial justice initiative and this church year there has been a monthly meeting of a praxis group to explore and assess the ways the church is living/putting into practice their commitment to racial justice. The theme that keeps coming up in the meetings is how to institutionalize the racial justice lens so that it becomes part of the culture over time. This is also one of the board goals this year.
As a result of systemic issues related to the hiring practices at the UUA, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) and Diverse and Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries (DRUMM) endorsed the proposed 8th principle and encouraged the UUA and local congregations to formally adopt it. The wording of the 8th principle as proposed by people of color:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying 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.”
A recent recommendation from the RJI praxis group is for UUCWC to endorse and adopt the proposed 8th principle, as written, while it is being reviewed at the denominational level. This principle invites us to be explicit in our commitment to dismantle racism, white supremacy, and other oppressions. This recommendation was brought forth to the December board meeting. It was supported by the board and approved to be put to a vote at the June 2018 congregational meeting.
There will be a variety of opportunities in the coming months to learn more about this topic as well as discuss whether we should proceed with adopting this principle.