All Is Welcome Here: Doing the Work

I had the privilege of listening to the Ware Lecture from General Assembly this year just a couple of weeks ago, live streamed from New Orleans.  

Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL, offers that there are four things we have to do if we want to change the world we live in to a world of equity and justice: 1) get proximate to the neglected, 2) change the narratives that sustain inequality, 3) stay hopeful because hopelessness is the enemy of justice, and 4) be willing to do uncomfortable things.

Can we work on some uncomfortable questions today so that we can begin to change the narratives that sustain inequality?  If we are among the white people in this congregation, one of those narratives might be that we think of our community here as a white community.  Not that we would ever say that.  Not that we would ever want our doors to be closed to people of Color (colors other than white–because we are all People of Color, aren’t we?) But when we find ourselves semi-consciously thinking of UUCG, does that semi-conscious image of this place look and feel white to us?  And, aren’t we all People of Color?  If that question causes some uneasiness in you, then there’s a great place to start. Why am I made uneasy by the suggestion that we are all people of Color?  And if I allow myself to walk around with even a semi-conscious image of this community as a white community, won’t I be more inclined to behave, semi-consciously, in ways that keep it a white community?  We live in the most multi-cultural county in the US right now. Couldn’t this be the most multi-cultural religious community in the county?

I am collecting resources and practices that will help me do this work.  I want to share with you what I have so far and let you know that when you find resources and practices that help you work on your role in the white supremacy system of this country, I want to learn from you, too.  You will find at the top of a page a tab labeled “Resources.”  Click on it and you will find this collection of blogs, websites, books, videos, podcasts and radio shows that you can access and begin to use in your work on the white supremacy system in this country.  If you find a resource that you think would be helpful to others, send it to me or Christiana, and we will add them to the resources list.

Bob Patrick

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