Vote YES on UUFR’s commitment to anti-racism

By Danna Mattocks, Anti-Racism Ministry Team

Danna Mattocks with her husband and son last summer

We need your help to take UUFR’s Anti-Racism efforts to the next level: Vote YES for the important new statement of conscience at UUFR’s congregational meeting on November 14th. (To attend the congregational meeting, join us in person or on Zoom on Sunday, Nov. 14th after the service.)

Approval of this statement will allow us to take our commitment to equity, inclusion and justice for people of all races and ethnicities outside the congregation in support of efforts in our area and even across the country to combat pervasive racism and ethnic discrimination.

This statement is similar in intent, yet distinctly different in content from the LGBTQ+ statement of conscience proposed by the Welcoming Congregations Team and approved by the congregation earlier this summer. Approval of this statement of conscience would allow UUFR to join the growing list of organizations and institutions which are actively working to address the systemic racism that results in unequal treatment of individuals in our community, state and nation based on race and ethnicity.

Despite several high-profile murders and widespread demonstrations against these egregious extra-judicial killings in the last 2 years, there has been little real progress in dismantling structural racism and addressing the generational impact on the health and wealth of those targeted by pervasive discrimination. And the senseless killing of Black men by law enforcement continues in 2021, even right here in Raleigh.

According to UUFR by-laws, adding UUFR’s name in support of larger social justice efforts is only possible when a quorum of the congregation votes and passes a statement of conscience on this topic.

Let’s face it: Finding effective solutions to these generational, widespread injustices cannot be an individual effort by any single faith community, congregation or group of people regardless of their level of commitment.

This is why the team has proposed that UUFR adopt the following statement of conscience to allow us to respond to requests for support, as approved by the Board, of efforts to effect change in the status quo and fight for the rights of people of all races and ethnicities in the future:

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh affirms the inherent worth and dignity of people of all races and ethnicities and is committed to actively working for the full inclusion, rights, and self-determination of those individuals in our own congregation, in Unitarian Universalism, and in society at large.

Therefore, we resolve to actively promote the enactment of laws, constitutional amendments, policies, and practices at all levels of government, in our institutions, and in society as a whole when approved by the UUFR Board of Directors.  These policies and practices should provide for said inclusion, rights, and self-determination, and to take specific actions to defeat all attempts at any infringement of them.

Please vote “yes” at the annual meeting, and if you have any questions, please contact Diann Irwin, [email protected]

This statement fits in with our faith’s long history of fighting for civil rights beginning in the 1800s and including the Civil Rights Movement. In 1960, when our congregation was just eleven years old, we passed a resolution in support of peaceful sit-ins and other civil rights protests.

Let’s continue our long tradition and renew our efforts beginning on November 14 with the antiracism statement of conscience.

Yours in faith and fellowship, the Anti-Racism Ministry Team: Diann Irwin, Kurt Johnson, Lee Tate, Jerri Meisner, John McLain, Dayang Chang, Danna Mattocks