By Rev. Tanía Márquez, Assistant Minister
When I was 14 years old, while visiting my family's town in Southern Mexico, a group of friends invited me to climb to the church's bell tower from where we could see the procession of people coming into the town to celebrate its annual festival. To get to the bell tower, we had to go through a dark and narrow spiral staircase. While looking forward to the view from the town's highest building, the time we spent in the staircase seemed endless. I was afraid, mostly because it was hard to see beyond the step I was about to take, and it was the voices of the people I couldn't see, but who were there with me, that encouraged me to keep going.
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.
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