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It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. — Audre Lorde, writer, poet, and activist

In Today's Workshop...

We explored issues of identity, tolerance, and intolerance. We learned about the historical and theological beginnings of tolerance in Unitarian Universalism and how this connects with today's efforts to celebrate diversity, pluralism, and multiculturalism. We heard personal accounts of racism and work for racial justice from the history of Unitarian Universalism, and reflected on why people take certain stances on racial justice issues. We also reflected upon how being in tolerant and intolerant environments leads us to express or to hide certain parts of our identities and cultures. This workshop's quote by Audre Lorde encourages us to recognize, accept, and celebrate differences in the spirit of tolerance and the activities in this workshop helped us move in that direction by reflecting on our own actions and the actions of others.

Explore further...

  • Work with teachers at your school to organize Mix It Up at Lunch Day, using resources from Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mix It Up at Lunch Day has a simple call to action: move to a new seat in the cafeteria. By crossing the lines of division within your school, you can meet new people, build new friendships, and create a more inclusive school community.
  • There are many movies that address issues of identity and tolerance/intolerance. Here are a few suggestions to watch and discuss with family and friends: Gentlemen's Agreement, Lars and the Real Girl, Finding Forrester, Philadelphia, A Bug's Life, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Real Women Have Curves, Whale Rider, Imitation of Life, Mean Girls, Footloose, August Rush, The Great White Hope, Meet the Robinsons, Ma Vie En Rose (1997), The Other Sister, The Visitor
  • In 2009, the Unitarian Universalist Association released the report of a two-year study, The Mosaic Project, which looks at ministry with youth and young adults of color in Unitarian Universalist congregations. The report includes recommendations for making congregations more inclusive. Consider inviting other congregants to read and discuss it at a forum or a meeting of the congregational board, and reflect on the implications for your congregation.
  • "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum (New York: Basic Books, 1997) is a book that can help you understand racial identity development and the differences and separations that exist as a result. It is a helpful resource to learn more about both yourself and others. Through deepening your own understanding, you can learn how to create a more tolerant multicultural world.
  • Check out the Unitarian Universalist Association's Racial Diversity Timeline. Look for the time periods and events mentioned in today's workshop and other interesting stories.

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