On Friday night, more than 30 UUCF members gathered online for a listening session on the proposed UU 8th Principle. This was the second session, and although I found the first one interesting, the second one – for me at least – contained an energy and engagement that was transformative.
The organizers – Betsy Bicknell, Kaye Cook, Rick Hirschoff and Marcia Tugendhat – supported by several other presenters – offered a solid foundation of information and insights to ground us in a shared understanding. We heard examples of how UUCF has worked to dismantle racism in the past and a recognition of more work needing to happen as racial justice crises continue in our country. We also heard a series of definitions of the word “racism,” and watched a video about microaggressions, as well as videos of UU ministers talking about the effects of their congregations having embraced the 8th Principle.
With this foundation, we then divided into breakout sessions to discuss questions on a personal level:
- What does dismantling racism look like? In ourselves? At UUCF? In the U.S.?
- How would UUCF change as a result of adopting the 8th Principle?
What made this session transformative was seeing a commitment from all participants to speak from the heart – and listen from the heart as well. In the breakout room I attended, each person shared a slightly different perspective, all presented humbly with a spirit of vulnerability. I felt honored to be a part of this honesty and trust. We were not 100% like-minded – but we were like-hearted. And I felt a sense of belonging and hope.
I’m looking forward to learning more about the 8th Principle from one of its authors, Paula Cole Jones, at a UUCF workshop on May 8. The workshop, UU 8th Principle: Building a Culture of Inclusion, will have a sign-up here soon. If you haven’t participated in the listening sessions yet, this workshop will be a great introduction on the topic.