John Bates: Racial Justice – Activist Roles

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On Sunday, 28 February, Associate Minister Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper led a service exploring the Movement Action Plan (MAP) Model of Doing Democracy (big thank you to Tom Blanford for his help and interpretation of the model). We heard compelling stories exploring the four roles: The Citizen, The Rebel, The Change Agent, and The Reformer. I never cease to be amazed by what our members are doing as Bruce Larson, Sue Walton, Sue Steffe and Mike Horak described their actual work as representatives of their roles.

In the past, the Congregation has made major commitments to become a Welcoming Congregation and Green Sanctuary. With the leadership of our Earth and Social Justice Ministry, the Board at our most recent meeting agreed to move forward with empowering an ad hoc team to draft a racial justice statement/call to action. The idea is to engage the Congregation during the next two months to get input and thoughts on how and why UUCA should make a deeper commitment to racial justice — as a Congregation. This proposed commitment by the Congregation has emerged from the “Action of Immediate Witness-Support Black Lives Matter” from the Portland, OR General Assembly (2015), the first and seventh principles of the UUA, the New Jim Crow study group at UUCA, and other Black Lives Matter-related initiatives within the Congregation since December of 2014.

Given this work, and the harsh racial language increasingly being used over the past months in politics, the Board believes the time is right to engage the entire Congregation in exploring how we might make an explicit statement and then take concrete actions supporting racial justice and dismantling systems of oppression.

Over the next few weeks, the ad hoc Task Force on Racial Justice will share a draft statement/call to action and, with the Board, will organize opportunities for the Congregation to provide feedback and input. Your participation, in whatever activist role fits you best, is essential. Throughout history, UUs have been at the leading edge of many social justice movements. History now calls us again to get up, stand up and live our faith.