Institutional Change
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Calling In: Fulfill the Commitment to Fund the Commission on Institutional Change

Statement from the Commission on Institutional Change: October 12, 2017

The Commission on Institutional Change held its second in person meeting in at UUA headquarters on October 12th. As we continue our work, we become more convinced of the critical nature of our analysis at this time in the history of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The existence of an autonomous body to make recommendations on how to address the systemic racism in the system is essential. We want to clarify that as our charge states, we are independent of the Board, the UUA administration and not counseled by UUA counsel. This will be essential for our primary work of conducting a racism audit of our Association and identifying the barriers to becoming a robust, racially inclusive faith community.

Our work has been slowed by the fact that a budget has not been funded which has delayed the hiring of dedicated staff and consultants which is essential to our work as a very part-time and predominantly volunteer commission. As detailed in the charge, we have begun our examination of the complicated constellation of events around the Southern Regional Lead Hiring decision.

As these events unfolded last winter and spring, they became an emotional vortex for our Association and were often analyzed based on the actions of individuals rather than as examples of the dynamics of systemic racism. As contentious and polarizing as these events were, we want to state clearly that they are one set of events in a long pattern of division and ineptitude around race and cultural difference and the partial truths which have been circulated about these.

As the Commission on Institutional Change, our goal is to reach beyond the deep distrust that these events engendered and to encourage truth-telling to identify the institutional and systemic lessons. We plan also to use this information to point to a process of truth and reconciliation for this event and others of a similar nature which will be a long term process.

Most importantly, we will be opening a dialogue with Unitarian Universalists, and our broader community, asking for the sharing of stories in the ways that the centering of white culture has limited the impacts of our faith. Please stay tuned to our website for information on how you can share your comments.