UU White Supremacy Teach-in

Join us on May 7th as UUFR participates with over 600 UU congregations in the “UU White Supremacy Teach-In”

You may have heard in Rev. John’s Cyber Pulpit, in one of my posts here on Facebook, or in conversation in multiple spaces online or at UUFR that over 500 UU congregations, and more every day, are planning on participating in a historic, large-scale action: the “UU White Supremacy Teach-in”. The Teach-in will be taking place around the country and the around the world on the weekends of April 30th or May 7th, when Unitarian Universalists will be responding to the request  of UU religious professionals and lay people of color and white allies to “shift our regularly scheduled Sunday morning worship to participate in a teach-in on racism and white supremacy…[and] look critically within our faith communities–including hiring practices, power brokers, and cultural habits–for the ways racism, sexism, and white supremacy live.”

You may have been wondering if UUFR will be participating in this huge denomination-wide event. The answer is YES!

Please join us during worship on Sunday, May 7th (when we will also be introducing and welcoming Rev. Justin Osterman, who has been selected by our Board of Directors as our new Developmental Minister) for this important opportunity to engage our minds, hearts and spirits in learning about how white supremacy manifests in our lives, congregation, Association, country and world… and how we can work to confront and dismantle it.

May 7th will feature a special short service for all ages in the Sanctuary that will integrate directly into our teach-in. There will be opportunities for age-appropriate learning for children, teens and adults, as well as an opportunity for people of color who prefer to do so to caucus together rather than processing in the larger group, as we know this topic can be especially painful for communities of color.

Of course, you may be wondering why we are choosing to use the term “white supremacy” and not a more comfortable and familiar term like “racial bias”, “racism” or even “white privilege”. This is an important question, and one that we will be providing opportunities to unpack together in the days leading up to the teach-in. We have put together a collection of resources online to help us explore together what white supremacy is and isn’t and why we are choosing to use this term to describe the system of oppression impacting our congregation and our Unitarian Universalist Association.

For now, know that we choose to use this term for three reasons: because those most impacted by racism in our Association and our congregation are asking us to do so, because it is the most accurate term we know to describe a system of power and privilege that creates a racially stratified society with white people dominating the halls of power and white culture dominating community spaces, and because it is a “provocative phrase” that invites us to explore our understanding of and ways of responding to racism more deeply. Black Lives of UU describes white supremacy this way: “‘White supremacy’ is a provocative phrase, as it conjures up images of hoods and mobs. Yet in 2017, actual ‘white supremacists’ are not required in order to uphold white supremacist culture. Building a faith full of people who understand that key distinction is essential as we work toward a more just society in difficult political times… It has become clear that, in order for us to be more effective at tackling the white supremacy beyond our walls, we must also identify ways in which systems of supremacy and inequality live within our faith and our lives.”

We invite you to check out the collection of resources as we prepare for the May 7th teach-in.

I hope to see you there!

Rev. Sasha