A letter from Rev. David A. Miller, Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig and Intern Minister McKinley Sims.
Today, as a result of a series of events within our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), Peter Morales resigned as president of the UUA. We want to share with you our best understanding of what led to this decision, and to reassure you of our collective commitment to continue the work of love and justice that is at the core of our faith.
Last week it was announced that a new regional lead for the Southern Region of the UUA’s Congregation Life staff was hired. The successful candidate was a white man. News spread quickly on social media that another qualified candidate, a woman of color, had been told she was not the “right fit” for the position. There was an outcry regarding the long-term effect of systems of white supremacy in the hiring practices of the UUA. Monday’s UU World article, “Critics decry ‘white supremacy’ in UUA hiring practices: Latest senior hire of a white man highlights staff leadership that remains mostly white,” gives a comprehensive view of the story.Our country, our denomination and our congregation have been dealing with issues of race and historical systems that favor whiteness, or white supremacy.
We know many of the people involved with this latest situation and our hearts break on so many levels. The three of us wish that we could wave our hands to ease the pain and transform our cultural systems to reflect equality and dignity for all. Yet we know this is work that has taken centuries to do and will take significantly more intention to change.
At a recent training by Chris Crass, we were inspired to do our best to separate the systems of white supremacy, which live in us in so many ways unintentionally, from the people who suffer from the disease. The disease of white supremacy is a poison that harms everything it touches and takes so much intention to address.
So what do we do to hold in care the people who, with the best of intentions, may fall short? What do we do with the righteous anger that comes from so many micro and macroaggressions and lack of important systemic changes? How do we ground ourselves in our faith, love each other and still understand that sometimes love means telling the hard truths? We don’t have an answer for all of this, but we all must continue to reflect on our place in these systems and be open to understanding the pain of those who are suffering.There is no one perfect way.
This work is messy and difficult. Part of the hard work is to stay in relationship and in conversation as we work together to overcome the systems of white supremacy that live in us and in our institutions. White supremacy is a poison that is designed to divide and conquer, something we can’t let happen no matter how angry we are and no matter how much work there is left to do.Below are several links with more information on this week’s events.
- Reflection on White Supremacy in Our UUA
- Letter From UUA President Peter Morales to the UUA Board of Trustees, March 30, 2017
- Letter From the UUA Leadership Council
This June, as was planned long before this situation unfolded, the delegates to the UUA General Assembly will elect a new president of our association. This Saturday we will all have a chance to meet the three candidates for president at a candidates’ forum at Cedar Lane UU Church in Bethesda, MD, 10-11:30 a.m. We encourage anyone who would like to learn more about the candidates and the future of our association to join us there.As always, we remain available to talk with you, and listen to you, about this issue or any other.
In gratitude for the faith we share.