Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee Report, General Assembly 2018
The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. Unedited live captions of General Session V (TXT) were created during the event, and contain some errors. Captioning is not available for some copyrighted material.
Co-Moderator: The Journey Towards Wholeness Transformation Committee was established in June 1997 by the Board of Trustees as part of the 1997 General Assembly Business Resolution “Toward an Anti-Racist Unitarian Universalist Association.” Please welcome the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee for their report.
Theresa Soto and Ted Fetter: As the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee, we recognize that now is the time to go deeper with anti-oppression and anti-racism, to dedicate our energies to creating a transformative and liberatory future in Unitarian Universalism.
We must root out our habitual culture of white supremacy—together, of course, with our patriarchal, heterocisgender-normative, and ableist culture. We must engage in building a new culture not because we are bad persons, but because so many Unitarian Universalists are part of the larger Western, Euro-American culture where the pattern of centering white European culture is an established practice. Together we can use our ability to grow and change so we may instead embody our ideals and aspirations as lived experiences.
Your Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee has undertaken a study of power mapping.
Through this process we are asking questions that can help to transform our faith: Where does the power to change our institutions lie? Who controls the levers of change? What are their motivations to change, and what are the factors inhibiting transformation? Who are the advocates for building the beloved community, and what power do they have? Who are their allies, and how can coalitions of change-agents be established?
Change has occurred in the Association as people dig into questions of what it takes to decenter white supremacy in worship. Congregations across the United States and Canada participated enthusiastically in the White Supremacy teach-in.
Unfortunately, a demonstrable pattern of conflict with religious professionals of color demonstrates that white supremacy seeks to maintain its influence. We closely follow these incidents and support the work of the Commission on Institutional Change. It is because real people encounter the harms of white supremacy and the conflicts it causes that this work matters.
We want to be intentional, to identify the potential for growing a new culture, one that can save our faith in a time of distress. Part of the focus is within the UUA, the theological schools, the Ministers Association, and the other national institutions. But a greater part is in the congregations, where most UUs associate and act out their faith. None of us should say "that's not a problem in my congregation," because it surely is. Noticing the habits of prioritizing the needs and narratives of white people and white systems is the job of each congregation.
Our polity calls us to take responsibility for our neighboring congregations, and noticing and accounting for white supremacy, make the necessary changes.
Our committee will work in partnership with the Commission on Institutional Change and the leadership of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, DRUUMM, and other partners in this great work. We are grateful for the transformation before us.