The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support the following resolution at its October 24, 2019 meeting with congregational consideration scheduled for spring, 2020. Due to the coronavirus restrictions, the Board moved the congregational consideration of this resolution to fall, 2020.
To: UUCW Board of Trustees, Oct 24, 2019 Meeting
From: Social Action Council, Ann Heidkamp, Chair
Request: That the Board support the resolution below, and authorize the Social Action Council to:
- work on congregational education and dialogue leading to a congregational vote by the end of the 2019-2020 church year;
- work with the Board and committees to begin examining policies, procedures, and practices to recommend changes that reflect a community dedicated to inclusion and combatting oppression in all its forms.
Resolution: Commitment to Beloved Community by Dismantling White Supremacy Culture* at UUCW,
Recognizing that the congregation made a commitment to dismantling racism through the support of the Black Lives Matter movement, UUCW commits to continue this work by dedicating ourselves to examining and dismantling white supremacy culture* within our congregation. We do this in order to become a more inclusive, welcoming, and beloved community.
To continue this work, we will engage in education, dialogue, and community discussion within the congregation about how white supremacy culture*, manifests itself in and impacts our congregation. We also ask the Board, Committees, and staff to examine their policies and practices, and to make recommendations for implementing changes that reflect a community dedicated to inclusion and combatting oppression in all its forms.
The rationale for the Resolution:
Since the congregation passed the resolution in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in January 2016, much has happened in the country and in our denomination that reveals the extent to which the white supremacy culture embedded in every institution and structure in our society perpetuates racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, ableism and other oppressions, including in the UUA and UU congregations. We are called by the UUA to do the hard work of identifying and dismantling white supremacy culture within our denomination and congregation, while also supporting and engaging with partners to address it in the larger community. Only by doing so can we become the Beloved Community we so long for. (See page 2 for UUA Calls for this work, 2017 – 2019)
*How we are using the term “Dismantling White Supremacy Culture”:
A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept as “proper” and that are passed along by from one generation to the next, generally without thinking about them. The dominant culture of the United States was built on the belief in the superiority of white Christian patriarchy. This underlying belief created a self-perpetuating social culture and political and economic systems based on the exploitation and enslavement of people of color, including the indigenous people. This ensured the on-going accumulation of wealth and structural power that privileges, centralizes, and elevates white people.
This dominant culture is largely invisible to those of us who are white and privileged by it, but its harmful impacts are experienced daily by those who do not fit the “norm” because of race, gender, sexual identity, religion, spirituality, ethnicity, ability, age, or other marginalized identity. Only by uncovering, acknowledging, and examining this dominant culture of white supremacy and its harmful impacts can we hope to build a congregation and society of that truly reflects equity and justice for all. (Drawn from a variety of sources, including the UUA. See page 2 for further information and resources)
UUA Calls for Dismantling White Supremacy Culture with the UU Denomination, 2017 – 2019:
Spring, 2017 – Black Lives of UU (BLUU) calls for UU Congregations to conduct a “White Supremacy Teach-In” in response “to calls by UUs of color to look critically *within* our faith communities–including hiring practices, power brokers, and cultural habits–for the ways racism, sexism, and white supremacy live.” UUCW held a White Supremacy Teach-In service in May 2017.
Fall, 2017 – Following General Assembly in New Orleans in June 2017, the UUA launched The Promise and the Practice of our Faith, inviting all Unitarian Universalists to be part of a historic commitment of $5million to create an endowment to fund black leaders in Unitarian Universalism to support ministry to black-identified Unitarian Universalists. The Board’s decision reflects an understanding that Unitarian Universalism has benefitted from the system of white supremacy that advantages white people and white institutions.
As part of the Promise and Practice of our Faith campaign, the UUA asks each congregation to participate through
1) their financial support (UUCW made the requested pledge of $10/member)
2) by scheduling at least one worship service around the campaign’s themes (UUCW did this in Fall, 2017) and
3) by making a long-term commitment to dismantling white supremacy, racism, and oppression within our congregations, our Association, and beyond. UUCW has started on this with educational programs like the Deeper Dive series with Fran Kaplan and Reggie Jackson in Fall, 2018, and the May 4th workshop and May 5th worship service around Growing Trust and Leadership in the Service of Anti-Racism. Various committees and programs like RE, Worship, and the Build 2020 program have already started implementing changes to reflect a more diverse and anti-racist approach.)
It is time to make a formal UUCW commitment to this work. All the local UU congregations in the BLM2WUU collaboration are working on this within their own congregations and we are sharing ideas and resources.
January 2018 – the UUA revised its UU Governing Manual – Global Ends to include:
Global End 1.3 Congregations and communities are intentionally inclusive, multigenerational, and multicultural. “…Our congregations and communities live into the fullness of this calling when we intentionally create inclusive, multicultural, and multigenerational community. In the context of a society rooted in a culture of white supremacy with systemic discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, ability, (religion*), and other identities, it requires intentionality and commitment as well as skill-building, resources and practice to create an adaptive and inclusive culture that does not reflect just one dominant identity…” (from Summary Interpretation of this Global End in the Global End Monitoring Report, page 6, June 2018 https://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/end_interp_mon_rpt_06182018.pdf
Global End 1.4 Congregations and communities engage in partnerships to counter racism, oppression, and systemic white supremacy. *religion inserted by UUCW Social Action Council
White Supremacy Culture – explanation by Showing Up For Racial Justice https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture.htmlResources:
The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture From Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001 https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html
Why Are We Talking About White Supremacy? UU World, Winter, 2018 https://www.uuworld.org/articles/idiots-guide-critical-race-theory?
No, I Won’t Stop Saying White Supremacy, Robin DiAngelo, https://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/no-i-wont-stop-saying-white-supremacy-20170630
10 Insidious Ways White Supremacy Shows Up in Everyday Life, Kali Holloway, https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/white-supremacy-everyday-life/
Taking Aim at Multi-Racial Democracy: Antisemitism, White Nationalism, and Anti-Immigrant Racism in the Era of Trump, https://www.politicalresearch.org/2019/10/22/taking-aim-multiracial-democracy?fbclid=IwAR21Q8mjyFvpjJ_FyyKFcD8x31rPBA_q8DbNUefFw_FPN0azpuDfTt8Pnno
Blog on White Privilege and Antisemitism, Danica Bornstein, https://medium.com/@danicabornstein/ive-been-quiet-the-past-few-days-due-to-overwhelm-and-very-big-feelings-and-am-still-struggling-218288ffe040
Understanding Antisemitism: An Offering to Our Movement, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, https://jfrej.org/understanding-antisemitism-an-offering-to-our-movement/