- Last Updated on November 8, 2017
How did the Dismantling Racism Program come to be?
ERUUF has been actively concerned about racial justice from its very inception. This new program is designed to support and deepen our ongoing commitment to racial equity. Systemic racism is deeply embedded in our society, and each and every one of us is impacted by the depth and destructiveness of racism. But without taking time to learn together, we may not be fully aware of its pervasive effects. Just like fish that are unaware of the water in which they swim, and despite our best intentions, we are hindered by the system of racism from being able to fully live from our core values as individuals and as a community.
Engaging in the practice of Dismantling Racism is one way we can honor our commitment to our own humanity and the humanity of everyone. This initiative will build on our core principles which affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and the interdependent web--the “inescapable network of mutuality” of which we are a part. ERUUF’s leaders believe that by doing this work together, ERUUF members can have a more effective presence and impact in our local communities and beyond.
Context for this Work
We engage this crucial work of creating a community of racial equity and inclusion as Unitarian Universalists, within the sacred space of our covenantal faith. At the heart of our tradition are questions about who we are, whose we are, and how we intend to be together with one another, our neighbors, and the larger world. Living these questions together in community is our spiritual journey, a primary way that we grow in spirit and transform our lives.
As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant to affirm and promote seven core principles:
the inherent worth and dignity of every person
justice, equity and compassion in human relations
acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
a free and responsible search for truth and meaning
the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part
Racism hinders us from fully aligning with these principles as individuals, institutions, and communities, and, therefore, must be dismantled. The dismantling racism process will be informed and guided by these principles.
What are the goals and desired outcomes for this program?
As a result of ERUUF’s work with dRWorks, a significant number of people in the congregation will:
- Develop a common language, understanding and analysis of racism in our society, including our history of oppression and white privilege;
- Recognize how racism (a belief or doctrine that inherent differences exist among racial groups and that one group is superior to another) and/or racialization (imposing a racial interpretation on experiences and events) has shaped and still shapes policies and behavior, in our nation, our local community and at ERUUF;
- Commit to taking action to support ERUUF’s goal of becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive community that actively welcomes diversity of people and thought and that partners with diverse people to help build a more peaceful, free, and just society for all.
Based on input from the workshop participants, the Change Team has identified the following overarching goal:
To create a culture where racial equity and inclusion are the norm by making the learning and practice of racial equity and inclusion integral to ERUUF’s policies, programs and interactions. This will be evident both within ERUUF and in relationships between ERUUF members and the larger community of which we are a part, as we engage individually and collectively.
Why did we choose to partner with dRWorks?
We were familiar with dRWorks because several members and our Lead Minister had attended one of their workshops. They are very experienced in helping groups and organizations grasp the reality of racism at a deep level. But what was especially important is that they not only help people understand racism, but they help them take action to put their values into practice.
They are based in Durham and have many partnerships with Durham organizations. They were also willing to customize their approach to meet our unique needs as a UU congregation.
Their approach brings an element of progressive spirituality and community building to the difficult work of delving into racism. When we met with their leaders, we felt an atmosphere of deep listening and respect going both ways.
For all those reasons, we were pleased to partner with them.
When and where are the workshops?
The next workshop is planned for the spring of 2018. Stay tuned for more announcements.
What is the overall format for the workshops?
The two-day agenda includes: storytelling based on our life experience, a look at personal, institutional and cultural racism, a history of the race construct, an investigation of privilege and internalization, caucusing, and visioning. The workshop also includes laughter, silence, reflection, poetry, and more.
Is there a charge for the workshop?
There is no charge for the workshop. ERUUF has budgeted the funds to cover the cost for ERUUFians.
How can I apply for a workshop?
Who is planning the Dismantling Racism program?
As part of dRWorks process, we created a Change Team of seven committed people (plus Rev. Cayer). The team's role is to help with goal setting, planning, logistics, identifying other leaders, and moving the process forward. Current Change Team members are: Elizabeth Ault, Diane Blount, Linda Brooks, Dan Grandstaff, P. Quick Hall, David Huber, Bonnie LaCroix, and Lillie Searles. Jaqueline Brett and Rev. Deborah Cayer are staff partners.