When a BBIPoC person shares that they've been harmed by racism, please learn to listen and respond with compassion. It may seem that we hear about racism in our church more often than in our other spaces. This is not because racism is not happening elsewhere, it is because we have members who trust us with their truth because our principles say that we will hear them. How to Respond with Compassion when Someone is Hurt by Racism.
California has a history of anti-Black racism and the unjust seizure of Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach tells the story of one example. "In April, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to make amends for a massive land grab rooted in white supremacy, though this remedy came almost a century too late (MSN). In the early twentieth century, Charles and Willa Bruce opened a Manhattan Beach resort that offered other Black families the opportunity to vacation under the Southern California sun. The white residents of Manhattan Beach were not pleased. The Bruce’s neighbors slashed their tires. The Ku Klux Klan set fire to the resort’s deck. These horrifying acts of white vigilantism weren’t what forced Charles and Willa to leave. In actuality, it was Manhattan Beach itself. The city government condemned the entire neighborhood around Bruce’s Beach. They then seized the resort through eminent domain. Though the city said that they did this to construct a park, this park never materialized. The Bruce family, forced from the city, was compensated only one-fifth of their asking price for the land they were forced to give up." Read the full article and see steps you can take to support the ongoing campaign.
As Unitarian Universalists, our first two principles guide us to uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every person and to strive for justice, equity and compassion in human relations. As members of First UU of San Diego specifically, we are adopting the 8th principle, which spells out that we are working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions. Dismantling white supremacy is not a niche activity that some members of our congregation get to do in our spare time, like participating in the choir or joining the Friends of de Benneville Pines. Dismantling white supremacy is also not limited to responding to acts of overt oppression, such as participating in a counter-protest of a Proud Boys rally. Dismantling white supremacy means that we, as Unitarian Universalists, all need to work to identify inherent biases in ourselves and our fellow congregants, and hold each other accountable for microaggressions perpetuated and for any behaviors that do not help us to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community.
For Black History Month we're re-sharing resources from our Journey Toward Wholeness initiative. From videos and sermons to articles and stories, these first appeared in the ongoing series "What Can I Do?" which runs in The Window, our weekly church newsletter. Each presents a simple, daily action. If you've been thinking "What can I do about racism?" these are a great place to start. Visit our Celebrating Black History Month page.
Journey Toward Wholeness What Can I Do? Read "a word for white people, in two parts" and watch "Loosen Loosen"
Recent events have exposed the extent of white privilege in our society. Working to dismantle white supremacy and institutional racism is messy, uncomfortable work.
Read slowly, reflect, and wonder at adrienne maree brown's "a word for white people, in two parts"
Listen to Aly Halpert's "Loosen Loosen" song/prayer.
Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation (OWMCL) is a national network mobilizing white men to learn, grow, and take action against white supremacy and patriarchy. "White Men Resisting Violence & Hate," is an online discussion of patriarchy, whiteness, & how to organize white men into our justice movements. Learn more and RSVP.
For many communities, having police show up makes a situation worse or harmful. Are you confused about how you'd feel safe if police are defunded? The American Friends Service Committee offers a webinar "What to Do Instead of Calling 911" to explore ways to help all community members feel safe while treated with dignity, respect, and care. Learn more at www.afsc.org/ action/webinar-what-to-do-instead-calling-911.
Journey Toward Wholeness What Can I Do? Learn about the co-existence of white supremacy and anti-semitism
On this week where we focus on gratitude we recommend watching two short videos:
Following the leadership of BIPOC folks & admitting we can (& do) harm others are important learnings. Gain some insights by listening to:
Journey Toward Wholeness: What Can I Do? Learn about the role of race in Biden's victory & Trump's relative success by listening to NPR's podcast "How Whiteness Affected the Election" (35:39). Listen to Krista Tippett's interview [51:00] with a trauma specialist "Resmaa Menakem in Conversation with Robin DiAngelo." It has made an impression with Beloved Conversations Virtual participants and may challenge you.
Read our UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick Gray's UU World column "A Message to White Unitarian Universalsists" about how her attitudes on policing has changed over the past years & the resource list at the end of the article. Then watch the brief (2:13) interview with Sonya Renee Taylor on combating racism with action.
September's worship theme at our church was Change and the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Commission on Institutional Change report is an important reflection on various changes that must be made, if the UUA is going to live its values into practice. At the June 2017 General Assembly (GA), after the resignation of then UUA President Peter Morales and due to the entrenched hiring practices and harm created by the UUA, a Commission on Institutional Change was "established and charged by the UUA Board of Trustees to conduct an audit of white privilege and the structure of power within Unitarian Universalism, and to analyze structural racism and white supremacy culture within the UUA." The Commission worked for three years interviewing and listening to people's experiences within the UUA examining the current practices that have maintained the status quo. At the General Assembly in June of this year, the Commission presented its report, Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change.
Journey Toward Wholeness: What Can I Do? Learn about our work to become more inclusive, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive
First UU San Diego has worked hard to become more inclusive, anti-racist, & anti-oppressive and we have many upcoming actions and work ahead. To learn more, read:
by Jan Garbosky
Have you heard, said, or thought:
Written for Beacon Broadside by Howard Bryant, correspondent for NPR's Weekend Edition & featured speaker ("Full Dissidence") at June's UU Virtual General Assembly (GA). Thanks go to Mary Severine for the suggestion. Read "Policing Is the Glue of Whiteness".
Take some time to reflect on the following questions to help you find your voice:
We have assembled a list of the best anti-racism articles, books, social media feeds and videos we know of to help people learn about a wide range of topics relating to racism. Please invest in yourself, your family, your community and our world by viewing and sharing these links and, more importantly, we hope you'll join us in taking the steps shared herein to begin to heal our world.
As Unitarian Universalists we must speak and act to stop the frequent, state-sanctioned violence committed against members of our shared community. The murders of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Tony McDade in Florida, and George Floyd in Minnesota, among so many others, were all committed by police or former police. Here in San Diego, we also see police brutality such as that perpetrated against an individual walking her dog on the beach as well as in La Mesa when a police officer had an altercation with a black man at a trolley station. This is not about a few rogue officers. This isn’t about the need for more training. This isn’t even about a change in leadership. Replacing one police chief with another is not enough if the pervasive racist system that empowers them is unchanged. The work of transforming our law enforcement and justice system into a true JUSTICE system will be long and difficult, messy and painful. We commit to that work, in solidarity with our partners. Violence against Black and Brown bodies, committed by officers of the law, demands this system must be remade.
This year has seen a great deal of work from our Journey Towards Wholeness (JTW) team, Board of Trustees, and Ministerial team as we continue to address the concerns we have around inclusivity. Some of this work has been behind the scenes including a budget review to align with centering our anti-racism/anti-oppression work, and creating a Staff Hiring and Management Process that centers inclusivity and includes an inclusion competency tool for staff and lay leader awareness and growth just to name a few pieces of our work. Some of the work has been visible, including more intentionality of worship co-leaders within our worship services and including more reflections from people within our congregation.
The First UU Church of San Diego blog is your resource for upcoming events and past event recaps. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think!