I am offering a few musings about Beloved Conversations through Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Because I am white, I am enrolled in the group of registrants who are all white: the other two groupings of study offered are BIPOC+ (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and Religious Professionals. These segregated groups allow for focus on issues specific to our categories; in my case white identity and what the anti-racist version of that identity is. Segregation of groups allows each to focus on its own unlearnings, and the healing each group needs in order to acquire new perceptions of selves and others.
By doing the work that includes readings, videos, discussions, critical friend conversations, on-line meetings, listening, observing and ample provided support, … I am changed. My awareness of the privilege I have lived is heart breaking and heart opening.
While on vacation, sitting in the car at check-out I began to notice that white people pulled up to the front of the building, cars idling and walked inside to check out. Persons of color parked along the sides of the building and then walked to the front entrance to go inside. I am changed.
While observing some pandemic performances on a streaming site, a young man tossed something in the air and suddenly through clever editing, appeared in full costume performing Indigenous dancing, my heart fluttered with respect and awe for a culture I heretofore regarded with detached interest. I am changed.
During participation in group activities usually online, I am becoming aware of motivation to give my opinion; but am learning to listen and allow ideas to be promoted by all participants while at the same time asking for the group to listen to ideas from persons of color, “I’d like to hear more about what she is saying.” I am changed.
I am changing by acknowledging the layering of privilege with which I have lived. I am changed and I am changing. My hope is that you, too, will join me and opt for this work through Beloved Conversations. The people who pursued this initiative for our First UU BERKS congregation, and those who continue to encourage others to sign on, are my personal heroes for positive social change.