LeaderLab

Taproot: A National BIPOC Space

TAPROOT

The work of the spiritual community is complicated in the 21st century. From busy schedules to the ever pressing tension brought on by systemic injustice, the need for faithful leadership that is grounded and resilient is imperative. This is all the more true for leaders within our communities and congregations who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC). All too aware of this need, Congregational Life is excited to explore and co-create a network with congregational leaders that support them in this time in emergent ways through Taproot: A National BIPOC Space. The organizing pillars of this collective is:

  • Rest & Renewal
  • Analysis Building
  • Leadership Development

BIPoC Leaders rooted in the Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to take part in this monthly, virtual gathering as we explore these pillars in creating a means by which to ground ourselves in resilient communities of care.

The term “leader” is broadly defined in Taproot. While religious professionals are welcome, this space is primarily for lay leaders who have, are, and want to serve in a variety of ways within their congregations.

Some highlights include speakers leading us in a chocolate tasting, a fishbowl conversation on how we navigate UU culture as BIPOC folks, a lecto devina conversation on reframing how we think about using language pertaining to darkness and light and a virtual picnic where we bought our favorite foods/drinks and shared blessings for each other. Our Taproot community members have described Taproot as helping them feel “empowered to go out into the world and not be swayed or pressured by the white-centric culture”, giving them a sense of community, belonging, unity and solidarity. Other recent responses in our end of year feedback survey when we asked what participants are taking away from Taproot:

“I am not alone. There are resources out there I can take advantage of and should. I am valued and matter because the UUA is spending resources for me to have this type of space…..”

“It felt like being in Beloved Community, it felt like being in "church...."”

“Consciously working with ancestors, which I've been doing for many decades, is so acceptable--it's great! I feel like I can bring more of my authentic self.”

“Connection with other UUs and growth as a UU”

“My first small group conversation with Mathew P. Taylor.......I'm SO grateful to have known them, been in our sacred space with them, and carry them with me in my heart and soul. We're blessed by the incredible, supportive leadership, and safe space.”

“I really like all the engagement styles. They have specific uses for various purposes. After some fairly intense small group interaction, for instance, personal reflection can turn up new insights from the contact with others in the group.”

Dates: We generally meet on the Second Thursday of the month, September through May, at 8 PM EST/ 7 PM CST/ 6 PM MT/ 5 PM PST. Please see the calendar link for details.

All participants are asked to register for this event, you will receive the zoom connection information in your confirmation email. Register here to join.

This space is explicitly for people identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC).

Contacts: Rhiannon Smith, rsmith@uua.org, Rev. Tyler Coles, tcoles@uua.org, Rev. Summer Albayati, SAlbayati@uua.org, Rev. Sana Saeed, ssaeed@uua.org