White Supremacy Teach-In

By Jennica Davis-Hockett

Resources for Youth and Young Adult Ministry

When you hear or read the words “White Supremacy,” what thoughts come to mind, what emotions surface? For some of us, it is a fear-filled phrase that conjures images of white hoods and robes that seems totally dissonant with our Unitarian Universalist faith. For others, it is a term of criticism that exposes the ways our wider culture and even our systems within UUism continue to privilege the feelings, ideas, success and lives of white people over people of color. Because of our lived experiences and our intersecting identities, we may all have different reactions to this phrase. As Rev. Sofia Betancourt, interim co-president for our Unitarian Universalist Association, stated, “Whatever your reaction was to the words White Supremacy, it’s a fair reaction. It’s real. It’s part of the journey.” She reminds us that, “We are not saying there is an inherent evil in Unitarian Universalism, at all. We are saying there is a desperate need for the the kind of beloved community work that we offer in the world and we want to do that work better.” Out of the deep desire to do that work better, Black Lives of UU (BLUU), Aisha Hauser, Christina Rivera and Kenny Wiley have curated resources for a #whitesupremacyteachin so that we may evolve together. On April 30th and/or May 7th, your congregation is invited—including your youth and young adult ministries—to shift your regularly scheduled Sunday morning programming to participate in a teach-in on racism and white supremacy. This post highlights additional resources for youth. You know best where your community is at and where they’re ready to go so feel free to adapt and add to these resources to meet your community where it is now.

Addressing White Supremacy with Youth in 9th-12th Grades

Suggested Activities

Engaging Youth Online

For youth who cannot make it to church on Sunday, you can still create space for them to learn and discuss. Invite them to participate in a conversation through a facebook group or a messaging app like GroupMe.

Supporting Youth and Young Adults of Color

As the Teach In resources explain, “The #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn is not the time to ask people of color (POC) congregants to teach about White Supremacy. We recommend that if you have a POC facilitator it be either an outside paid facilitator or a religious professional who has volunteered to take on this task.” This goes for UUs of color of all ages. Prepare yourself with this webinar on Ministering to Youth and Young Adults of Color or read on for a few ways to make the Teach In a learning and empowering experience for UU youth and young adults of color:

  • Ground the space in celebration of people of color’s identities and the positive gifts of family, ancestry, ethnicity, legacy, and history. This will support youth and young adults of color to feel empowered and resilient as they also grapple with the violence of white supremacy.
  • Intervene on dynamics that ask youth and young adults of color to speak for all people of color or all people of their race.
  • Remember that all youth and young adults of color are unique people. Use phrases like “I don’t know how you identify…” or “I don’t know if this fits for you…”, instead of assuming their experience.
  • Affinity based space (sometimes called caucusing) can be a powerful tool. Here are some resources about framing and holding race based affinity space.
  • If youth and young adults of color are looking for UU of color spaces that are not available locally see below for multigenerational UU of color spaces:

Please add additional resources in the comments for other seekers, or let us know how these resources worked for you.