A few weeks ago I lit a candle of concern in our Sunday Service after the President of our Unitarian Universalist Association, Rev. Peter Morales, resigned following a groundswell of critics decrying “white supremacy” in the UUA’s staff hiring practices. Soon afterward two other high-level UUA staff also resigned as an Association-wide conversation, largely on social media, began to address questions about a “goodness of fit” test and unconscious white supremacy in UUA hiring practices at all levels of our institution. While the good intentions of our professional religious staff are not in question, the impact of limiting the opportunities for leadership by People of Color in our Association needs to be addressed. You can read more detail about the issues and their development in the sources I’ve included below.
In response to these events, Black Lives of UUs (BLUU) asked for an Association-wide commitment from congregations to utilize our Sunday Services on April 30 or May 7 to bring our congregations into holy conversation about white supremacy. More than 600 congregations have signed-on to participate including UUC after I discussed this request with the Board of Trustees. Some have objected to the use of the term “white supremacy.” It may conjure up images of white hoods and robes. But for others, their awareness of the white supremacy assumptions at work in our culture is to be aware of “business as usual” today. Truly today the term “white supremacy” correctly names institutional assumptions and practices that often operate without effort in our midst and tend to benefit white people and exclude people of color. Our good effort is necessary to expose and explore these assumptions and how they are perpetuated.
Without this effort, we are ill prepared to actualize our aims to affirm the worth and dignity of each person, to seek justice for all, and to live into a shared vision of beloved community. I don’t expect our service on May 7 Confronting White Supremacy to be easy, nor should it be. We will be cultivating our ability to sit together with our discomfort. In shared spiritual practice we’ll ask ourselves “How does white supremacy affect all of us? How does it wound all of us?” Let it be a time for growing together as we continue to walk together in love.
In faith and fellowship,
Resources for further readingUUWorld
Blog post by Christine Rivera at https://uuchristinarivera.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/on-beinga-good-fit-for-the-uua/
Letter from Aisha Hauser to the UUA Board of Trustees