The Unitarian Universalist Association’s International Office has created a resource for congregations on cross-cultural engagement and the role of identity in organizing for justice. The resource includes stories from our work with justice partners in India, provoking congregants to reflect on themes like identity and privilege, trust, cultural difference, relationship-building, and human rights. This guide for a 75-minute online discussion would work well as an Adult Religious Education program or even an opportunity for a congregation’s Religious Education program to partner with their Social Justice leaders to hold a reflective and inspiring online discussion.
Congregations are invited to hold this conversation whenever it works best for them. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
The discussion guide includes two stories from our partner organizations to be read by participants. (Tip: seek volunteers ahead of time so they can practice reading the stories out loud!) Discussion questions follow each story. Here’s a preview of some of the questions that appear in the discussion guide:
In the story, we saw those with privileged identities use that privilege to benefit others. How can you imagine that approach playing out with your congregation’s organizing?
In what ways are you privileged (or not) as individuals?
In what ways are you privileged (or not) as a congregation?
In what ways are you privileged (or not) as a religious institution?
How can you use those ways you are privileged to dismantle systems of oppression in support of community partners?
Considering the relationships within the congregation and between the congregation and other local organizations:
Who holds what power in these relationships?
In what conscious or unconscious ways might certain power be identity-based within those relationships?
How is trust built between people and groups who hold different levels of power and/or privilege?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms in its 32 articles the rights to which every person on Earth is entitled. In the second story, there are at least two articles of the UDHR that were explicitly violated:
In Article 7: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
In Article 17: “(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of [their] property.”
Do either of these human rights reflect issues or human rights violations that you see in your community? What can this congregation do in response?
Register to participate using this form. Once you sign up, the discussion guide will be sent to you via email from email@example.com.