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 be sure what the 8th Principle asks of us because we’re still learning how to engage in being anti-racists.  Yet, I have total faith that we can rise to the need as long as we remember our other UU Principles and core values.  We are a people of faith, and sometimes we leap into the unknown with our faith in our hearts.

Nevertheless, I did some brainstorming and here is what I came up with:

  • Asks to see ‘the other’ as fully human, no matter color of skin.
  • Asks to examine bylaws, policies, laws, unwritten practices, cultural customs with lens of fairness, equity, access, inclusion – to be institutionally counter oppressive.
  • Asks us to continue the conversation, host book discussions on anti-racism, offer curriculum, workshops and worship services on dismantling white supremacy.
  • Asks us to promote our commitment to being anti-racist community in all our outward facing spaces.
  • Asks us to partner as allies with and advocates for those in the larger community who are oppressed.
  • Asks us to share our resources with the larger community.
  • Asks to remember who is speaking, how much time and space is being taken, who is not present, and who has not been welcomed into the center of the Beloved Community.
  • Asks to manage our micro-aggressions, fragility, fear of being called racist, fear of being wrong.
  • Asks to be courageous and not always “know” everything.
  • Asks not fear conflict ALL THE TIME, instead learn that can grow from tension and differences.
  • Asks to learn, grow, change in ways that are unknown and likely hard, but stay engaged even when uncomfortable.
  • Asks to see ‘the other’ as fully human, no matter color of skin, level of education, income, physical or mental disability, culture, or language.
  • Asks to look around our building.  What is the art work, what books, what posters, what are the many subtle and not subtle messages about our values and culture?  What are we singing?  What words are spoken and who wrote them?  Who is speaking from the pulpit?  Who is not? Who is singing?
  • Asks us, in international partnerships, to not assume we have all the answers, know what is best, assume our power is greater, claim the center of the relationship, be true partner.
  • Asks us to check our lens where ever we are and listen, listen, listen.
  • Asks us to be open to learning again and again, sometimes in ways that are uncomfortable when we’re asked to give up our power.

Here’s what another UU church in Honolulu has done:  https://uuhonolulu.org/justice/8th-principle-task-force/

Now your turn.  What does the 8th Principle ask of you? 

Thank you for staying engaged in this important conversation with respect and love.

Cheers, Rev. Kate