ADORE (A Dialog On Racism And Ethnicity) Virtual Listening Cafe

The ADORE (A Dialog on Racism and Ethnicity) group will host a 2nd Virtual Listening Cafe on Sunday, May 10th @ 8PM on the Eighth Principle.

The aim of this meeting is to stimulate discussion and increase understanding of the Eighth Principle in advance of the Congregational Meeting vote later in May to adopt the Principle.

Join Zoom Meeting

Please read through the FAQs sheet below that provides important background for this discussion. We look forward to your responses this Sunday.

The 8th Principle Of Unitarian Universalism

“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.”

FAQs about the 8th Principle

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County, April 2020 

Why is the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) considering the adoption of the 8th Principle now?
The most compelling reason is that members of color have asked the association to adopt the principle to commit us to take action in dismantling racism and other oppressions. Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU), the Diverse Revolutionary UU Ministries (DRUUM) and the white UU ally group Allies for Racial Equity (ARE) have long urged the UUA to adopt the 8th Principle as an explicit, renewed commitment to the work of ending white supremacy.

In 2017, the General Assembly voted to direct the UUA Board to establish a study commission to discuss adding an 8th Principle.

Don’t the present 7 Principles already cover dismantling racism?
Our existing 7 principles imply this 8th principle, but do not explicitly hold us accountable for addressing these oppressions directly, especially at the systemic level. Our Seven Principles have not been enough to prevent the cumulative impact of implicit bias over time and to de-center whiteness and other dominant cultures in UUism. Although the first principle affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person, it does not declare action specifically to address white supremacy, racism, or other oppressions that are destructive of human worth and dignity.

Despite our best intentions, living in a racist, sexist, classist, heterosexist, ableist society has caused each of us to internalize and perpetuate systems of oppression in various ways. We are hoping adopting the 8th principle will help us consciously work to end racism and other oppressions while becoming accountable to those within our congregation who are being

How might the 8th Principle make white people accountable for decisions that dismantle racism?
Simply stated, white people cannot be accountable in making these decisions by themselves. The waters we swim in are saturated with white privilege and power. True accountability means white people consistently build relationships with people of color (POC). Our congregation can change culture, policies and practices by listening, educating ourselves and ensuring that actions are responsive to the well being of POC. White people will be empowered to hold one another accountable to ensure all are in learning mode about racism and repeatedly ask: “Are these actions supporting the 8th Principle concepts and has our unconscious bias interfered in any way?”

How might an 8th Principle Resolution change FUUCB’s culture and institutional practices?
The change to prioritize anti-racism in all FUUCB activities will enrich our understanding of ourselves and challenge us to better enact the other principles. It will affect our approach to social justice work and give us insight on how to solve systemic issues as a collective body. Opportunities for ‘right relationships’ will cause us to flourish spiritually and emotionally!  We will be ever open to learning what we can do better. It will bring our commitment to love higher in our consciousness, consistent with the UUA Side With Love campaign.

How is “Beloved Community” different from “a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all”?
Beloved Community is a term first coined in the early days of the 20th century by philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce. It gained popularity through the prophetic work of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. Beloved Community happens when people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender, sexual orientation backgrounds 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.

 When we manifest the 8th Principle concepts, people of color will feel supported, important and able to fully participate in the future of our congregation. Every member will be truly welcoming to whoever comes through the door.  If our congregation is practicing the 8th Principle concepts, our members of color will feel safe and supported even when they are confronted with a microaggression. There will be a system in place to rectify these situations, and white members will be in constant learning mode to better understand and dismantle the unconscious bias in themselves and our institution.

I have issues with the wording of the proposed 8th Principle. Can we change the wording?
We are being asked to adopt the proposed wording of the principle as it stands. This is intended to show a groundswell of unified support for the 8th Principle from many congregations. There will likely be opportunities for GA delegates to change the wording as it moves through the UUA process before it is voted on at a General Assembly (GA). Because questions about the wording of the final principle will be deferred to the GA, we can focus on what the principle asks of us to do.

Why is it important for the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County (FUUCB) to adopt the 8th Principle?
The time needed for the UUA to fully adopt the resolution could be reduced by a strong show of support from individual congregations. We would be adding our voice to congregations that have adopted it, including All Souls Unitarian in Washington, DC, First UU Church of Richmond, the UU Church of Annapolis, UU Church of Honolulu, Unitarian Society of Germantown, and UU Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia.

Adopting the principle at FUUBC would represent an important step in our ongoing journey toward wholeness and to dismantle racism in our own congregation.

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