Statement on Anti-Oppression Work

by Jack Slowriver, Board President

Recognizing that anti-oppression work is central to achieving our mission, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the following statement in our April meeting:

The Commission on Institutional Change recently released its Findings Related to the Southern Regional Lead Hiring Decision, Spring 2017. This group was appointed to “identify and propose redress issues of structural racism within the UUA.” There are a number of important findings, but the one most relevant to ESUC is as follows:

“Anti-oppressive best practices should be the standard of practice for all leaders of the Association, paid and unpaid, especially those who are helping congregations navigate new ways of leadership such as regional staff and interim ministers. All such leaders should also understand the role of healthy conflict. These gatekeepers are essential to ensuring the conditions in which religious professionals of color and other professionals from marginalized groups can succeed in the UUA’s white-centered culture.”

Additionally, ESUC has adopted Board Ends the last two years that urge East Shore to be more inclusive and make efforts to be an anti-racist congregation. Specifically, in 2017/18, the Board stated that “we will make measurable progress moving our congregation from a multi-culturally aware congregation to anti-racist as defined by Julica Hermann de la Fuente, with specific attention to Lifelong Learning, pastoral care, and theology.” de la Fuente’s framework is a little buried on the internet but can be found at www.uuteachin.org/teachins. It is a link that is embedded in the first bullet point under the “Preparing Your Congregation” section of the document. There are a lot of great resources on the teach-in page.

The Board of Trustees at East Shore Unitarian Church recognizes that we have not made sufficient progress in becoming an anti-racist congregation and thereby wish to publicly state our commitment to a more courageous and urgent approach to anti-racism at ESUC.