Friends, many of you have heard or read about the changes happening at the Unitarian Universalist Association and the continuing conversation about hiring practices and issues of racism and privilege in our denomination. In short, the recent hiring of another white, male minister for the position of Regional Lead led many people of color in our denomination to share their anger and painful experiences of the ways in which our denomination has currently and historically systemically privileged white ministers in leadership over people of color and non-clergy people. This event provided us with an opportunity to examine a long and ongoing history. Whether an individual hiring situation can be said to follow this pattern is less important than seeing that the long-term cumulative pattern is clearly one which privileges white, male ministers over people of color -- a pattern that is a definition of a system build on white supremacy.
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.
Come, come, whoever you are ..."
Each Sunday morning, a lay member of our congregation stands in our pulpit and says to visitor and member alike “Welcome. You are welcome here.” The words they use have varied over time. In the summer and fall of this year, our opening words offered specific welcome to a diverse group of people: trans folks, those serving in the military, those of non-dominant cultural groups. Some in our congregation felt that these words were a meaningful expression of our commitment to inclusion. And some felt that these words felt divisive and didn’t see how the naming of groups showed our deep connection to each other.
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