“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
So reads the proposed 8th Principle. The first part (through the word “promote”) is the preface to all our 7 Principles (www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles). The rest has been proposed by Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective. Though we have long acknowledged the need to address anti-racism and multi-culturalism, we have never folded that understanding into our core principles. Many of us of various racial and ethnic backgrounds believe the time is now.
Back in the 1960’s, many UU’s faced the ugly specter of racism and fought for racial integration in housing and schools and for voting rights. However, as movements for Black Power arose, and as we haggled over funding, we lost our nerve. UU’s pulled back from the movement for racial justice.
In the 1990’s, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a renewed commitment to anti-racism and multi-culturalism. Still, nothing really moved forward until recent years. A crisis over hiring processes within the UUA brought to light unrecognized and unnamed systems of informal power and white privilege. Our Racial Justice Team is studying the initial report and recommendations for making substantive change (Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change). We don’t want to simply be reactive, though.
Rather, we want to imagine something better and work towards it. That something better is Beloved Community, which we talked about a couple months ago. This is the definition the advocates for the 8th principle offer for Beloved Community:
Beloved Community happens when people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender, sexual orientation backgrounds/identities come together in an interdependent relationship of love, mutual respect, and care that seeks to realize justice within the community and in the broader world
A UUA commission is currently working to review and revise Article II of the UUA Bylaws, which spells our purposes, principles, and sources. No doubt the 8th principle will be a key consideration in that review.
We unite, and must always, not out of opposition to the ideas that we have set aside or rejected. We unite instead around our vision for the future and our belief that we can make it happen.
P.S. To learn more about the 8th principle, go to www.8thprincipleuu.org
To learn more about the Article II Study Commission, go to www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/article-ii-study-commission
Contact Rev Jonalu Johnstone at email@example.com.