Marcia Tugendhat, on behalf of the UUCF 8th Principle Project and the Racial Justice Steering Committee.
At UUCF’s Jun. 6 Annual Meeting, the congregation adopted a new 8th Principle. As of this writing, 136 UU congregations and UU groups have adopted it and some are well into exploring how to live the 8th Principle. At the 2021 Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, an overwhelming majority of delegates (91%) adopted a Statement of Conscience – “Undoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action.”
The Statement of Conscience clarifies our 8th Principle challenge: “Seeking universal justice and equity, we call upon the Unitarian Universalist Association and Unitarian Universalist individuals and congregations/groups to actively engage in undoing systemic white supremacy in all of its manifestations. Systemic white supremacy refers to the embedded, institutional and pervasive nature of racism, white privilege and racial bias and oppression in our society. We acknowledge the impact of systemic white supremacy is intersectional, meaning it impacts people differently across race, income/class, gender, age, ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, religion, disability and more. As Unitarian Universalists, we decry the ways in which the intersectional impact of systemic white supremacy divides our human family by privileging some groups over others and thereby generating resistance to the common goal of universal equity and justice. Systemic white supremacy is a direct affront to every one of our UU Principles. Most egregious, we are losing lives of Black, Indigenous and People of Color all across this nation – from long-standing ills of police violence, to hate crimes, to emerging crises of the pandemic – due to the evil of systemic white supremacy. Therefore, as Unitarian Universalists we must engage in urgent action to confront the moral crisis of our time.” I encourage you to read the full text.
What follows are four action items. In brief, we, as UUs and UUCF congregants, are called upon to:
- Engage with the movement, in our communities and nation, to heal the evil of racism.
- Carry forward the recommended healing actions conveyed in “Widening the Circle of Concern.”
- Build relationships across boundaries of privilege and oppression.
- Fulfill our UU role as a spiritual anchor to BIPOC UUs.
When UUCF adopted the 8th Principle, we committed to changing ourselves and changing the world with whatever powers we have. We will have opportunities for challenging conversations, reflection and learning as we wrestle with our internal racism and our understanding of systemic racism. There will be opportunities to make a concrete difference in our community and the country as we work with partners to dismantle systemic racism. The UUCF Board will be providing leadership to consider changes to policies and practices to build a more inclusive, welcoming and equitable congregation.
There is so much to do, but we are excited. This is the work of our radical faith! As the song says, we’re “gonna to keep on moving forward!”
What thoughts do you have about the best ways forward?