This has been a week with hopeful wins and powerful momentum building for real systemic change. The uprisings across the United States continue to grow, the Minneapolis City Council voted to defund police, and the Supreme Court just issued a historic ruling making clear LGBTQ+ people are protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It has also been a devastating week of unspeakable violence against Black lives. We lift up the names of these loved ones whose lives were taken just in the last few days—Oluwatoyin Salau, Rayshard Brooks, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Robert Fuller, and Malcom Harsch.
It matters that we honor our grief and make time to rest. It matters that we celebrate the wins. And it matters that we don’t let up. We’ve got to keep naming, showing up, and organizing for justice, for liberation, for the lives and dignity of our Black, Indigenous, people of color, trans and non-binary siblings. And we’ve got to keep moving toward liberating practices of theology and community that reckon with how deeply our people are under threat while embodying practices of resilience, compassion, interconnectedness, and deep care that are so needed in these times.
This is exactly when we need the analysis and recommendations of the UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change (COIC).
After three years of research, story gathering, and analysis of structural and systemic racism and white supremacy culture within Unitarian Universalism, the report from the COIC is now available: “Widening the Circle of Concern” makes vital recommendations to advance long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism. The COIC will share their report at General Assembly next week and offer workshops to help us engage the recommendations practically in our congregations and in our institutions.
I am grateful to all who have served on the Commission and to everyone who shared their stories. I want to especially recognize the people who served as members and staff to the COIC: Chair Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Mary Byron, Cir L’Bert Jr., Rev. Dr. Natalie Fenimore, Dr. Elías Ortega, Caitlin Breedlove, DeReau K. Farrar, and Project Manager Rev. Marcus Fogliano.
There is still time to register for virtual General Assembly. I hope you will join me at GA!
P.S. The Public Witness event at GA this year is Call 100,000 Voters: Phone Bank with UU the Vote in partnership with Reclaim Our Vote. There are important elections happening soon and UUs can play a key role to support voters, help them to know their options, get to the polls, and participate in democracy. Let’s UU the Vote at GA and beyond!