Begun in 1922, the Ware Lecture series is a long-standing tradition in the Unitarian Universalists’ faith that highlights its commitment to social justice and progressive community building. Each year, the Unitarian Universalist Association President, in consultation with the General Assembly Planning Committee, invites a distinguished guest to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer.
This past June, the General Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri, hosted Ms. Brittany Packnett as its 2018 Ware Lecturer. Described as an unapologetic educator, organizer, writer, and speaker, Ms. Packnett has committed her life and career to justice. Among her many roles, Brittany Packnett serves as Teach For America’s Vice President of National Community Alliances, where she leads partnerships and civil rights work with communities of color. She is also a co-founder of Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end police violence.
East Shore members of Beloved Racial Justice and the Earth and Social Justice Coordinating Council hosted a potluck and live-streamed Brittany Packnett’s lecture in Spring Hall on June 23rd. Ms. Packnett’s inspiring message focused on the importance of answering questions such as “Who are we?” and “What new reality are we going to build?”. In order to answer these questions, Ms. Packnett urged her UU listeners to recognize the divine union of love and power. Such a force can be used to combat the stress felt daily, and for generations, by many, including Native Americans, slaves, Japanese Americans, and LGBTQ. She called upon UUs to enact their principles by accepting the responsibilities that come with their position of privilege and by leveraging that privilege with actions that consistently support the creation of a new and abundant system for everyone. Ms. Packnett’s ideas framed the lively discussion that followed her lecture as people talked about the challenges she posed for UUs as they consider what actions they will take in the months and years ahead.