I’m happy to report that we had about fifteen people at the December 18 meeting to discuss the next steps for engaging with racial justice on a congregational level. We began with a chalice lighting, and then viewed a TED talk by Verna Myers on how to overcome biases (view it here) and engaged in a brainstorming session.
Here are some of the ideas that were suggested in the brainstorming session:
Encourage individuals from the congregation to participate in Building Bridges (Next session January 26-March 23 – register here).
As a Lifetime Member of the NAACP, send a representative from UUCA to regular local NAACP meetings (Jan & Michael Beech have volunteered to initiate this)
Book Study/Common Read on The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander (This is in the works, stay tuned to eNews for more information and a tentative January start date)
“Old White Women for Young Black Youth,” which is the unofficial name of a potential initiative started by women from UUCA who would step forward as advocates for people of color in our community. This would be a great way to leverage privilege and be a supportive ally.
Consider positions that work to dismantle the roots of the oppressive system
- Advocate for harsher penalties for law enforcement who break laws
- Voting Rights advocacy, including restoration of felon voting rights
- More effective drug policy, perhaps decriminalization
Participate in local organizations which are doing anti-oppression work in our community
- Re-Entry Coalition
- Guardian Ad Litem
- Stop the Violence Coalition
- HOOD Talk
- State of Black Asheville
Curriculum-based study on a congregational level (There are a number of UUA curricula available)
It’s a great list, and there are more terrific ideas out there, I’m sure! Check it out and see what you might be interested in. Share your own ideas with each other – and with me. In addition to this work, or parallel to it, I am working with a group of Building Bridges graduates from UUCA to form a Multicultural Team to dig deeper into these issues and how they play out within our congregation. There is much work to be done, but working together makes it manageable. We, as Unitarian Universalists, lift up the inherent dignity and worth of all lives, and as such, we are called to support our neighbors and assert that Black Lives Matter.
I look forward to hearing your ideas and digging deep into this work together!