“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.”

Reflections on the 8th Principle

Too Many Words

Thank you for taking the time to take a serious look at the 8th principle. ...
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Dominant White Supremacy Culture

I remember is so well because it burned in my heart.  My blood pressure went ...
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How the 8th Principle Evolved

I first met Paula Cole Jones about 14 years ago when she led a workshop ...
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What Does the 8th Principle As of Us?

Or what does dismantling racism and other oppressions look like? On one level, we can’t really ...
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What About Other Oppressed People?

Why are we naming racism in particular out of all the forms of oppressions ...
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This is an exciting time with our faith!

On Sunday, October 23, 2022, First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh overwhelming passed a clear statement committing to dismantling racism and other oppressions in ourselves and institutions.

Joining with over 225 Unitarian Universalist Congregations, First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh is adding an 8th Principle to the already existing seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism.

The 8th Principle reads:

We 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.

The other seven Principles are contained in the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association are:

· 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. 

Over the next two years, other Unitarian Universalist congregations across the country will be adopting the 8th Principle. In 2023 and 2024, the Unitarian Universalist Association will incorporate the new language into its bylaws at its annual conference in June. The language will likely be different than that adopted by the individual congregations, but each congregation is likely to shift to the new language as passed by at the annual conference.

The passage of the 8th Principle is in alignment with long held values of countering oppression, and many years of working toward racial justice. At First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, a large Black Lives Matter banner was installed on the side of the building in 2017.

Over 200 UU congregations have recently passed the 8th Principle, which articulates a commitment to the dismantling of white supremacy within our faith and the world at large. More information about the 8th Principle can be found at https://www.8thprincipleuu.org/.

Here at First Unitarian (Universalist) Church of Pittsburgh, conversations and work have been ongoing since the beginning of the year. We want to ensure that all members of our beloved community have plenty of time to discuss, share and learn about the 8th Principle and what it will mean for our congregation and faith.

Interested in hearing what your fellow congregants have to say?

Denice Galpern
Martin Schmidt
Mary Dennison
Jean Schmidt
Mary Schinhofen
Kate Snow

Interested in learning more?


Suggested Reading

Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

Caste:  The Origins of Our Discontents (Isabel Wilkerson)

On Juneteenth (Annette Gordon-Reed)      

Waking Up White (Debby Irving)

White Fragility (Robin DiAngelo)

The 1619 Project:  A New Origin Story (Nikole Hannah-Jones)

Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You (Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi)

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland (Jonathan M. Metzl)

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker (Damon Young—about growing up Black in Pgh)

Suggested Viewing

Crip Camp:  A Disability Revolution

This documentary film is available for streaming on Netflix and tells a compelling story of disability rights in the US.

On the heels of Woodstock, a group of teen campers are inspired to join the fight for disability civil rights. This spirited look at grassroots activism is executive produced by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

I read about this movie on the 8th Principle FB page. It is available on Netflix and is phenomenal.

I Am Not Your Negro

A documentary about James Baldwin that is staggering in its presentation of racism by one of the most foremost intellectuals of the 20th Century.

Additional Resources

First Unitarian Church of Honolulu Goals for Accountability

Link to video about the Canadian experience with the 8th Principle

This informativRevere video was shared at this summer’s UUA General Assembly.  It is a long video (1hour and 25 minutes).  If you wish to learn about how the 8th Principle wording evolved during the adoption process, you can go directly to minute 62 in the video.

Donovan Hayden grew up right here at First Unitarian (Universalist) Church of Pittsburgh. His speech is at 1 hour 10 minutes into the video. Donovan is the son of Rev. Pat Trudeau and Wilburn Hayden. He is a Black UU young adult who worked on the passage of the Canadian 8th Principle.

Link to short video segment (6 minutes) interview of writer Toni Morrison by Jana Wendt

Link to a 30-minute podcast from Virginia Heffernan’s series ‘This is Critical’:  Cooling Off is a Hot Topic

Until the 1920s, public pools were all over this country, racially integrated and a popular summer activity for all. So what changed? Historian Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, joins Virginia to recount the history of public pools, including those in Pittsburgh, in the 20th century — and share the pleasures of swimming together, as the world grows hotter. 

Link to video of First Unitarian (Universalist) Church service with a sermon by Caron Carnahan: “Prepping for Community Involvement:  Outer Work and Inner Work”

Caron Carnahan, CLM at Ginger Hill, talked about her experience of going back to her beloved hometown of Kansas City for GA and what she learned.

Her talk begins at ~35 minutes.

Learn more about The 8th Principle

If you have any questions, thoughts or concerns please reach out to the 8th Principle Working group at racialjustice@first-unitarian-pgh.org . Every voice in our beloved community is welcomed, honored and loved.