Many UUs love to read. If reading is a passion for you, there are many great books out there on the topics of antiracism, anti-oppression and multicultural issues. Two great resources for these books and discussion guides for deeper engagement are Beacon Press and the annual UU Common Read.
Beacon Press books are ideal tools for life-long learning in UU congregations, and have often led the UU community to identify areas of concern. The book discussion guide program helps UUs to deepen awareness in the UU community of issues of social justice; provide the finest and most enlightened thinking about these issues as tools to enrich discussions within UU communities; and create a new understanding of the work of Beacon Press in UU congregation and communities.
The Beacon Press Discussion Guides provide a flexible structure for a short-term, small-group discussion program using Beacon books. The guides offer support materials for group leaders with all levels of experience, laying out information in such a way that preparation time is minimal.
Guides are now available for fifteen Beacon titles including White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Kindred by Octavia Butler. You can view the entire list at the Beacon Press Website.
The UU Common Read builds community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared focus for reflection and action. A Common Read can take us on a powerful faith journey into what it means to be human and accountable in a world filled with both pain and joy. Each year a new book is selected and additional resources and discussion guides are shared.
The Common Read has covered a variety of topics over the past ten years, each with resources for deepening engagement with the book's topic. The materials for past books are archived on the UUA website at the Common Read webpage. This year's Common Read is Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin. Past books include Defund Fear by Zach Norris, Breathe by Imani Perry, Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom; The Third Reconstruction by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
Book Discussion groups allow an opportunity to read, reflect and discuss issues that the book raises. It allows for strengthening of community and creates a lifelong learning opportunity. While reading isn't for everyone, and some might prefer videos or movies to engage with, for those that like reading, these books and the follow up conversations can create new understandings of these topics.