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.
On this week where we focus on gratitude we recommend watching two short videos:
SOLACE is a visitation program that comforts and supports persons held in immigration detention, tells their stories, and advocates for humane immigration policy. SOLACE offers a friendly visitor to end the isolation and affirm the dignity and worth of those who request a visit. Many people I've spoken to did not know we were back in as a presence at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. This is our 3rd life as SOLACE. We have to keep reinventing ourselves as we've been suspended three times. Two times because they changed the paperwork and agreements we needed to sign to enter the Detention Center? which would effectively have taken away our First Amendment rights. There were many visits to Congressional offices both times to find a way to get back in, as well as phone calls, and needed visits to pro bono attorneys. UURISE (Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education, Inc.) was one of the organizations we consulted with about this.
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 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:
We are less than three months away from the General Election on November 3, 2020. All California voters will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot with prepaid postage for the General Election. To make sure that you get your ballot, double-check your voter registration at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov.
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.
A Statement from our Ministers:
We are shocked – again – by the unprovoked killing of yet another African American man, most recently in Minneapolis, MN. Our hearts are broken for his family and his community. And we know many of us do not have the luxury of begin shocked by an event like this one. What some might see as series of isolated incidents or a system broken and in need of fixing is experienced as the reality of daily life by our neighbors and kin of color. We live in a world where people of color, immigrants, the poor, and the marginalized are stigmatized, criminalized, and feared. Where the systems of justice and finance are designed to serve the few at the cost of the lives and livelihoods of the many. Where we are taught to value white lives and bodies over the lives and bodies of people of color. This is not acceptable.
One more time we publicly mourned gun violence in our country. As I prepared myself to participate in a vigil I wrote:
"Once again we stand on the side of Love with the victims of the shooting, with the families mourning their dead. We also stand on the side of Love with our Muslim kin and will not let one person's action define a whole group or religion. We stand on the side of Love because we refuse to give in to hate and fear...and we will not only stand but we will act in the name of Love for all who are oppressed, for all who live in fear. We will act in Love for justice and to end easy access to weapons of mass destruction. We will act so that all may be free from harm, from bigotry, from hate. We will act so that Love may prevail."
This morning I had the privilege of being on a conference call with 400 clergy and faith leaders who are engaged in Standing Up for Racial Justice. As I understand it, just this week alone seven Black churches have been burned in seven days. This is an act of terror in our own country. As a people of faith we must stand up against targeted racial violence, and especially the burning of houses of worship. I am reaching out to our partners in San Diego, and specifically to Pastor White and the leadership of the Bethel AME Church in San Diego to gather information on what actions we can support with our presence. Now is the time to let our principles of dignity and worth, of justice, equity and compassion, of respect for the interdependent web of life of which we are a part, now is the time to let these principles guide us into actions that will challenge white supremacy and resist racism. We need to make ourselves available to our African American brothers and sisters and show up when they ask. Let us put our faith and principles into action so that San Diego can be a safe and just place for all to live and flourish. Please keep checking this blog for more specific actions and opportunities.
JTW-Intercultural-Workshop Facilitated by Nehrwr Abdul-Wahid, Founder/Lead Consultant, One Ummah Consulting
Saturday, October 2, 2010 - 8:30 am to 4 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, Hillcrest Campus
Contact Person: Jan Carpenter Tucker
How do we create an environment where everyone who walks through our doors feels included, engaged and valued?
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