Update from the Racial Justice Initiative Praxis Group, February 2018

5. Theological Reflection. The congregation sees racial justice work as a natural expression their tradition’s values and beliefs, can articulate a theology of racial justice, and are able to evaluate issues and actions through the lens of their faith.

The above assessment point was the focus of our December 2017 Praxis Group meeting and it gives me the opportunity to remind all of us of an important point. I draw your attention to the first two words after the theme… “The congregation….” We as a church voted three years ago to commit ourselves to live our focused commitment to anti-racism and racial justice both within our own church and outside in the larger community. The members and friends of UUCWC who have directly participated in this process and the RJI team do not ‘own’ racial justice in our church, our whole congregation voted to commit to this process, that I continually emphasize is a marathon, not a sprint. People get through with sprints quickly and look to go on to the next thing.  ”Are we still doing this, let’s move on to something else” is a tempting, and common response when doing the challenging work of racial justice.

In our discussion we highlighted two instances where we felt our church tried to evaluate issues and our historical commitment based on the lens of our UU faith:

  • We had a process for discussing the values/BLM banner last year prior to the congregational vote
  • Beloved Conversations included some history with racial justice work in our congregation.

Some areas where the group felt we would like to do more:

  • Create a “Responding to Our World” reflection ministry that would meet monthly to consider race-related events in the world and local community
  • Inviting justice leaders to articulate the intersection of faith and racial justice work, including having outside speakers
  • Living our values table which allows concrete action items for people to participate; maybe also connect it to a listserv
  • Explore Tapestry of Faith curriculum called Resistance and Transformation as well as other educational opportunities to increase understanding of history of racial justice work
  • Doing regular reflection on social/racial justice lens in Board meetings, committee/task force gatherings, worship and leadership development

During the month of February/March there are opportunities to participate, learn and act including:

  • February 11—Bus Stop—A reading of the play that focuses on a conversation between a black woman and a white woman both mothers waiting for their children to arrive on the school bus. The first read in January was well attended and confirmed this is a powerful message and sparked some lively conversation.
  • February 17—What White People Can Do About Racism 2; 9am -3:30pm; Sanctuary
  • February 23—RJI Film Night 7pm, “The Story We Tell” Part 2 of 3; Come early for pizza
  • March 4—UUTeachIn2 , 12:30 Sanctuary. Guest Speaker Roberto Schiraldi, a professional counselor in the Princeton Area who has done multiple presentations on racism and being a good ally.

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

Dan Tuft, Co-Chair, Racial Justice Initiative