Clarence Ochoa, 41, grew up in Southern California in a Filipino home. He is a dentist who joined the congregation with his wife and two daughters. He and his wife, who is White and American-born, really appreciate the liberating theology of Unitarian Universalism, yet, they are still quite connected to the Philippines via his parents and school friends.
Stacy Matthews, 48, is a proud third-generation African American Unitarian Universalist. She has two college-age daughters, one of whom wants to be a college professor like her. She is proud of her Unitarian Universalist heritage and the ways its theology releases her from narrow-minded thinking. Her independent thinking and willingness to speak out have led to some discomfort in the congregation. She has often been critical of its practices and policies, calling both peers and leaders on the carpet when she believed their actions were racially suspect. People often think of her as an "angry Black woman."
No one thinks of human resources director Marissa Vasquez, 38, as Latina, which has made her feel extraordinarily invisible in her community and often in her congregation. Her White looks go against the stereotype of what a Latina "should look like," and as a result, she has spent her life overhearing disparaging comments about Spanish-speaking people. As a result, she resists any attempt at being "labeled" and often says, "I just want to be me."
Lily Muller, 18, was adopted from China as a baby by White parents. Her parents have always made an effort to teach her Chinese culture and language and have been actively involved in an organization for families with children adopted from China. Lily has felt some pressure from parents, school, and congregation to "fit in" with White culture and has sometimes felt cut off from her own cultural heritage. Joining the Caucus for People of Color and People from Marginalized Racial or Ethnic Groups is her way of making a statement about her own identity.
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Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.
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