Books & Film Recommendations

Here are recommended books and films from our Building Beloved Community Committee with help from our Indigenous Connections and Welcoming Congregations Teams.

In this section of our resources you will find the following:

  • Current Reads and UUA Common Reads
  • Racial Justice Reads
    • Beginning the Racial Justice Journey Reads
    • Asian American and Pacific Islander Reads
    • Socially Responsible Investing Reads
    • More Racial Justice Recommendations
  • LGBTQiA+ Recommendations
  • Indigenous Connections Recommendation
  • Unitarian Specific Reads

This Year’s Reading Recommendation Highlight

Fire at the Center: Solidarity, Whiteness and Becoming a Water Protector by Karen Van Fossan, Skinner House Books, 2023. In A Fire at the Center Van Fossan takes readers behind the scenes of the Dakota Access Pipeline conflict, to penitentiaries where prisoners-of-war have carried the movement onward, to the jail cell where she was held for protesting Line 3, to a reimagining of decolonized family constellations and to moments of collective hope and strength. With penetrating insight, she blends memoir, history and cultural critique. Guided by the generous teachings of Oceti Sakowin Camp near Standing Rock, sheinvestigates layers of colonialism- extractive industries, mass incarceration, broken treaties, disappearances of Indigenous people and the boundaries of imperial whiteness. For all those striving for liberation and meaningful allyship, Van Fossan’s learnings and practice of genuine mutual solidarity and her thoughtful critique of whiteness will be transformational.

Racial Justice Recommendations

Beginning the Journey Reads

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think and Do, Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt, 2019, Penguin/Random House: Stanford Professor Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt covers the basics of intrinsic bias in an easy to read description of her study of the subject- from her personal experiences to helping law enforcement come to grips with their own biases.  Great introduction to people new to their anti-racist journey.

The Emperor Has No Clothes: Teaching About Race and Race and Racism to People Who Don’t Want to Know, Tema Okun, 2010, Information Age Publishing: Tema Okun, an educator in her own right, takes us through discussions on our American insistence on profit, binary thinking, individualism, privilege and fear and a myriad of other issues common in our culture. She lays out a step by step training for teaching about White Supremacy.

My Grandmother’s Hands, Resmaa Menakem, 2017, Central Recovery Press: The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee or freeze. My Grandmother’s Hands is a call to action for American’s to recognize that racism is not only about the head, but also about the body. Menakem introduces an alternative view of what we can so to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide and takes readers through a step-by-step healing process based on the latest neuroscience and somatic healing methods.

Salsa, Soul and Spirit- Leadership for a Multi-cultural Age, Juana Bordas, 2012, Berret-Koeler: Life and Leadership lessons from three contributing cultures to our American culture stew: African Americans, Indigenous Americans and American Latinx. Principles of living with reflection exercises, connection ideas, participation ideas and a lot of resources.

So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo, 2019, Seal Press: A great book for those starting their journey and willing to learn.  Easy to read and relatable. Includes an reflection/discussion guide.

What Does It Mean To Be White?, Robin DiAngelo, 2016, Peter Lang Press:  Local author Robin DiAngelo talks about the implications of race with definitions and explanations.  A good beginning book to unveiling the myths about race and whiteness. DiAngelo spoke at East Shore in 2017.  An essential read.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Reads

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford, Ballentine Books, 2009: A beautifully told story of the impact of racism on a young man and woman growing up in WWII Seattle as second-generation Asian Americans

Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guteson, Harcourt Bruce, 1994: Banned in Canadian Catholic schools and some American schools, Snow Falling on Cedars is about a murder trial in 1964 with impacts from and flashbacks of the removal of Japanese American citizens in our area in 1941.

Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed A Japanese American Community, David Neiwert, 2005, Balgrave MacMillan

Socially Responsible Investing Reads (Finances)

Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment, Zack Norris, Beacon Press, 2021: Zach Norris shifts the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In Defund Fear, Norris explores what has gone wrong, and why, and who has been most impacted by repressive and racist policing systems. He offers a new blueprint for public safety that holds people accountable while still holding them in community.

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, Heather McGee, Penguin Books, 2021: This book shows how the economic and political powers-that-be have exploited race to split Americans into warring tribes trapped in a zero-sum game fighting for what’s left after the top 1% take 40% of the wealth. “…there is a depth of kindness in it that all but the most churlish readers will find moving. She explains in exacting detail how racism causes white people to suffer.”-New York Times.

Winners Take All: the Elite Charade of Changing the World, Anand Gindharadas, 2018: An excellent expose of how some trying to improve things are continuing to support the status quo and doing further harm. A frank discussion of the thought that you can’t dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools.

More to Read

Caste: the Origins of our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson, 2020, Random House: Pulitzer prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson describes the division of humans into castes (races) and the eight pillars that are the basis, the ‘tenacles’ necessary for their continuation, the consequences and the backlash to the system of caste.  She does so through an investigation of three societies locked into caste: India, Nazi Germany and the USA.  Very enlightening.  Recommended for those a little further on their journey.

Full Dissidence, Howard Bryant, 2020, Beacon Press: A book for those farther into their journey, full of pithy thoughts and concepts guaranteed to get you thinking by ESPN writer Howard Bryant.  Mr. Bryant was a speaker at General Assembly in 2019.

High Conflict, Amanda Ripley, 2021, Simon and Schuster: An investigation into the us vs. them thinking in conflict that morphs into being about the conflict itself, no longer really dealing with the original issues. A description of how people rehumanize and recategorize their ‘opponents’ through curiosity and wonder to arrive at ‘good conflict’ solutions.

How to Be an Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi, 2019, One World: A must read for Unitarians on a Social Justice journey.

Looking for Lorraine: the Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, Imani Perry, Beacon Press, 2018
-Winner of 2019 Jacqueline Begrad Weld Award for Biography
-Winner of the Lamda Literary Award for LGBTQ Non-fiction
– Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Ganss Award
-Black Causes of the American Library Association Honor Book for Non-fiction
-2019 Pauli Murray Book Prize Finalist

Nice Racism, Robin DiAngelo, 2021, Beacon Press: Michael Eric Dyson describes this book: Personal transformation is an act of anti-racism and Robin DiAngelo has given white America the field guide.” This is a step-by-step examination of common pitfalls in our culture when some of us attempt to be less racist. Complete with study guide for reflection and discussion.

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler, 1993: Fictional observations of a not-too distant dystopian future. Book one of a two-part series, Ms. Butler died before completing the third of the trilogy.

Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler, 2007: Fictional observations of a not-too distant dystopian future. Book two of a two-part series, Ms. Butler died before completing the third of the trilogy.

See No Stranger: a Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, Valerie Kaur, Random House, 2020: “How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur – renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer – describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead that place of wonder, the world begins to change: It is a practice that can transform a relationship, a community, a culture, even a nation.”

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo, 2018, Beacon Press: The New York Times best seller that made DiAngelo a household name. This is the controversial book that ruffled all the feathers.

Historical Context Work

Die Standing: from Black Power Revolutis Black Panther Party Leader on the streetsonary to Global Diversity Consultant, Elmer Dixon, Two Sisters Publishing, 2023: “The world is a better place because of the work Elmer Dixon did as a Black Panther Party leader on the streets and in our communities, and today in corporate boardrooms and on University stages around the world. I hope that by reading this book, people everywhere will emulate his mission and his model to take action to create a more just world for all.” -Bobby Seale, Co-founderand Former Chairman of the Black Panther Party.

Stamped From the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram X. Kendi, 2016, Nation Books. A Five-part book that thrust scholar Ibram Kendi into the American spotlight.  This book looks at five periods of American History pivotal to understanding the history of racism in America: the times of Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis. A true ‘must read’.

Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston. Howard Bryant, 2002, Beacon Press. The heart- and gut-wrenching tale of the last baseball franchise to integrate in 1959 written by one of it’s native sons. Great read.

Film, TV & Podcast 

The Great Debators, 2007, Prime Video, The story of Wiley College’s debate team that went ten years undefeated, beating all comers including the Harvard Crimson in Cambridge, Mass. Denzel Washington, Forrestt Whittikar and Journee Smollett.main Indigenous actor is leading the Cochabamba Water War.

James Baldwin and William F. Buckley debate:1965 classic debate, watch here.

Inhabitants: An Indigenous Perspective, documentary that follows five Native American Tribes across deserts, coastlines, forests, and prairies as they restore their traditional land management practices.Trailer

13th, The discussion of the fallout from our Nation’s slavery past and the implications for modern American people of Color. –  Trailer

Into the Wilderness, Youtube, the story of the exodus of 1500 African Americans in 1969 from Unitarian Universalism. – Trailer

Even the Rain, 2010, Netflix, (English captions) A Spanish film crew arrives in Bolivia in 2000 to make a film about Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Caribbean and imposition of Spanish control over indigenous peoples there. They choose to make their low-budget film in Bolivia because they can pay so little to local actors and crew. The actor playing Hatuey, the Taino chief who led a rebellion against Columbus, is also leading a protest against the privatization of water in Cochabamba and state repression and violence. The Spanish crew face a moral dilemma: should they abandon the film on which they’ve worked so hard or help the protesters? Superb acting and compelling storyline.

The Grizzlies, 2018, Netflix, Based on a true story the film depicts a youth lacrosse team that was set up to help combat an onslaught of youth suicide in the community of Kuglutuk, Nunavut.

Daughter of Lost Bird, 2020, Netflix, The film follows Kendra, an adult Indigenous adoptee, as she reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage and confronts issues of her own identity.

Si, HBO Max

Adam Ruins Everything, TruTV

The Problem with Apu, HBO Max

Sort of, HBO Max

The Native Peoples of North America is a series of 24 lectures, each about 30 minutes long, produced by the Smithsonian and Great Courses.  Daniel Cobb, professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina delivers the lectures, accompanied by images, beginning with the interactions between European settlers and native peoples in North America in the 1400s.  Subsequent lectures cover interactions between and among tribes, the US government, law and society up until about 2015.   Specific case studies from different regions of the continent illustrate themes of survival, resistance, adaptation and renaissance.  Highly recommended for those interested in US-Native history.  DVDs and text available through The Great Courses at

LGBTQiA+ Recommendations

A Queer History of the United States/A Queer History of the United States for Young People, 
Queer history didn’t start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years.

Authentic Selves : Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary People and Their Families, Groundbreaking in its depictions of joy and community, Authentic Selves celebrates trans and nonbinary people and their families in stunning photographs and their own words. Foreword by Jazz and Jeanette Jennings.

The Stonewall Generation : LGBTQ Elders on Sex, Activism, and Aging, In The Stonewall Generation, sexuality researcher Jane Fleishman shares the stories of fearless elders in the LGBTQ community who came of age around the time of the Stonewall Riots. A 2020 Silver Nautilus Award Winner in the Social Change & Social Justice category

We’re Here, HBO

Indigenous Connections Recommendations

All the Real Indians Died Off’ and Twenty Other Myths About Native Americans, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker, 2016, Beacon Press:  An excellently written book of myth busters presented by two incredible Indigenous writers. Great book to get you going on your journey.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz): “Winner of the 2015 American Book Award, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Beacon Press) provides its readers with a view of the United States from the perspective of Indigenous peoples. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s classic work reframes more than four hundred years of history in a narrative that highlights the policies and actions of settler colonialism that created America at the same time she discusses Indigenous people’s efforts at resistance. Adapted for middle-grade and young adult readers, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People (Beacon Press, 2019) provides an equally compelling corrective to historical myths that continue to define our national identity. Watch for information early in 2022 about a discussion group on these books.”

Back to the Blanket, 2007, James A. Starkey, Jr, AuthorHouse: A story probing deeply into an Indigenous American family inspired by the events of this local Native American author’s descendants. It chronicles seven generations of his Ojibwe “roots” But just as importantly it places the events within the context of a tumultuous time in American history- a time when western European civilization was gaining enormous inroads in the Americas and leaving in its wake a devastating clash of cultures.

Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption by Susan Devan Harness, 2018, University of Nebraska Press (Goodreads Author)

Braiding Sweetgrass (Robin Kimmerer): Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants is a 2013 nonfiction book by American professor Robin Wall Kimmerer and published by Milkweed. The book is about alternative forms of Indigenous knowledge outside of traditional scientific methodologies. 408 pages

Native Seattle (Coll Thrush): This updated edition of Native Seattle brings the indigenous story to the present day and puts the movement of recognizing Seattle’s Native past into a broader context. Native Seattle focuses on the experiences of local indigenous communities on whose land Seattle grew, accounts of Native migrants to the city and the development of a multi-tribal urban community, as well as the role Native Americans have played in the narrative of Seattle. 392 pages

Not a Nation of Immigrants, 2021, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Beacon Press: The widely accepted myth, “We are a nation of Immigrants”, put in place by the ruling class and its brain trust in the 1960s’ , is grossly inaccurate. And in this paradigm shifting new book, Dunbar-Ortiz shows how this dishonest and pernicious ideology serves to mask and diminish the US history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy and slavery, all of which we grapple with today.

Reclaiming the Reservation (Alexandra Harmon): In Reclaiming the Reservation, Alexandra Harmon delves into Quinault, Suquamish, and pan-tribal histories to illuminate the roots of Indians’ claim of regulatory power in their reserved homelands. She considers the promises and perils of relying on the US legal system to address the damage caused by colonial dispossession. She also shows how tribes have responded since 1978, seeking and often finding new ways to protect their interests and assert their sovereignty. 424 pages

Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Exclusion (Dunbar-Ortiz): Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United State 400 pages

The River that Made Seattle: the Human and Natural History of the Duwamish (B.J. Cummings), Honor the Grandmothers (Sarah Penman): The city of Seattle was born from the banks of the Duwamish River, writes BJ Cummings in a new book — but the river’s story, and that of its people, has not fully been told. 240 pages

Where the Salmon Run: the life and legacy of Billy Frank, Jr. (Trova Heffernan): Billy Frank Jr. was an early participant in the fight for tribal fishing rights during the 1960s. Roughed up, belittled, and handcuffed on the riverbank, he emerged as one of the most influential Northwest Indians in modern history. 328 pages

Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God (Kaitlin B. Curtice, Baker Publishing, 2020): Foreword INDIES 2020 Book of the Year Award (SILVER Winner for Religion); 2021 Georgia Author of the Year Award (Inspirational): 2021 Midwest Book Award (Silver Winner for Religion/Philosophy). Native is about identity, soul-searching, and the never-ending journey of finding ourselves and finding God. As both a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and a Christian, Kaitlin Curtice offers a unique perspective on these topics. In this book, she shows how reconnecting with her Potawatomi identity both informs and challenges her faith. Curtice draws on her personal journey, poetry, imagery, and stories of the Potawatomi people to address themes at the forefront of today’s discussions of faith and culture in a positive and constructive way. She encourages us to embrace our own origins and to share and listen to each other’s stories so we can build a more inclusive and diverse future. Each of our stories matters for the church to be truly whole. As Curtice shares what it means to experience her faith through the lens of her Indigenous heritage, she reveals that a vibrant spirituality has its origins in identity, belonging, and a sense of place.

Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations is a 5-volume prize-winning collection released in 2021 by The Center for Humans and Nature. More than 70 contributors invite readers to consider ways of being that can deepen our care, respect, and sense of responsibility in order to become better kin to all. The various chapters address Planet, Place, Partners, Persons, and Practice through essays, interviews, poems, and stories highlighting the interdependent nature of the living world. Edited by Gavin Van Horn, Robin Wall Kimmerer, John Hausdoerffer.

An American Sunrise: Poems. This collection of poetry by Joy Harjo, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2019-2022, reclaims the abundance and spirituality of her homeland. At the same time, An American Sunrise: Poems confronts the locations where her Mvskoke ancestors, and those of other indigenous communities, disappeared. Harjo creates poems of beauty and survival by weaving together personal stories with tribal history to offer hope for new beginnings and a new American narrative. Published in 2019 by Norton & Company.

When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, 2019. This groundbreaking anthology of poetry provides a sweeping celebration of indigenous peoples throughout North America, from 1678 – 2019. Including over 90 nations, When the Light of the World was Subdued embraces literary traditions dating back centuries. Pulitzer-prize winning N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) offers a blessing for an anthology that is organized with five geographic sections. Each section opens with poetry from traditional literatures and ends with poetry from contemporary emerging poets, all of whom showcase the communities, stories, and traditions of Native Nations. Edited by Joy Harjo (Editor) with LeAnne Howe and Jennifer Elise Foerster.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People, Beacon Press, 2019. Containing a variety of curricula adaptations designed to appeal to middle-grade and young adult readers, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People spans over 400 years of Indigenous history. It examines the impact of settler-colonialism and American policies that resulted in the near disappearance of the native peoples of North America. In the process, it corrects traditional origin stories and historical accounts that have for centuries promoted conventional narratives of America’s national history. By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza.

Film & TV Recommendations

Spirit of the Peaks—native skier in Utah. Netflix

Wind River, Netflix. During the winter on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, expert tracker and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert discovers the frozen body of 18-year-old Natalie Hanson at a remote location. – Trailer

Indian Horse, Canadian hockey player and Boarding School. Netflix – Trailer

End of the Line: Woman at Standing Rock, An incredible story of a small group of indigenous women who risk their lives to stop the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline construction. – Trailer

Basketball or Nothing:  Follow the Chinle High basketball team in Arizona’s Navajo Nation on a quest to win a state championship and bring pride to their isolated reservation. Netflix series – Trailer

African Americans from Unitarian Mohawk communities and government forces in 1990 in Quebec.

Run Woman Run (2021), Takes place in Six Nations, Canada. When a steady diet of donuts, pizza, cake and cigarettes lands single mother Beck in a diabetic coma, she receives a ghostly life coach in the form of legendary marathon hero Tom Longboat who helps her train for the run of her life. – Trailer

Te’Ata film put out by the Chickasaw Nation dealing with aspirations and achievement in early 20th century Oklahoma Territory Indian country.  A feel-good story with insights. – Trailer

AMA, tells the story of the forced relocation and involuntary sterilization committed against Native American women by the Indian Health Service well into the 1970s. The film features three remarkable women telling their stories – Jean Whitehorse, Yvonne Swan and Charon Asetoyer – as well as a revealing and rare interview with Dr. Reimert Ravenholt, whose population control ideas were the framework for some of the government policies directed at Native American women.

Thirst for Justice, follows Janene Yazzie, a Navajo mother of two, as she searches for the source of contamination in the school water supply in Sanders, AZ. Armed with a Geiger counter she begins investigating radioactive waste on the Navajo Nation. When the epic movement for water justice ignites in Standing Rock, Janene is compelled to join. There she meets Flint water activist Nayyirah Shariff, and their struggles converge.

Fixing Food, From the short documentary series  “Native Table”, profiles Chef Sean Sherman (Lakota Sioux) and his business partner Dana Thomson (Dakota) as they explore their Native cultural heritages by re-creating pre-colonial menus – meals that use no dairy, no wheat, no sugar. At their James Beard Award-winning Minneapolis restaurant Owamni and at their Natifs Food Lab, they are bringing back to life the food ways of their not-so-distant Sioux ancestors and showing that by combining the past with the best in modern farming practices, we can create more sustainable and ethical food systems.

Reservation Dogs, Hulu

Alaska Daily, The ABC drama was created by Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote and directed the Academy Award winning film Spotlight, which chronicles the Boston Globe’s investigation of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church. Alaska Daily features two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, who portrays Eileen Fitzgerald, a disgraced New York City journalist who moves to Anchorage to work for a daily newspaper. She is assigned to investigate cold cases of missing Alaska Native women. She teams with Alaska Native reporter Roz Friendly, played by First Nations citizen Grace Dove (Secwépemc). Irene Bedard (Native Village of Koyuk) plays Sylvie Nanmac, a relative of a missing Alaska Native relative.


The Native Peoples of North America is a series of 24 lectures, each about 30 minutes long, produced by the Smithsonian and Great Courses.  Daniel Cobb, professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina delivers the lectures, accompanied by images, beginning with the interactions between European settlers and native peoples in North America in the 1400s.  Subsequent lectures cover interactions between and among tribes, the US government, law and society up until about 2015.   Specific case studies from different regions of the continent illustrate themes of survival, resistance, adaptation and renaissance.  Highly recommended for those interested in US-Native history.  DVDs and text available through The Great Courses at

UUA Common Reads

Mistakes and Miracles, Congregations on the road to Multiculturism, Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin, 2019, Skinner House. What calls Unitarian Universalists to create multi-cultural, anti-racist Beloved Community? What do congregations need when they embark on this journey? What common threads run through their stories? Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin- a white minister and a lay person of color- share how five diverse congregations encounter frustrations and disappointments, as well as hope and wonder, once they commit to the journey. Mistakes abound. Miracles of transformation and joy emerge, too. Extensively researched and thoughtfully written- with reflection questions at the end of each chapter- Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism will guide readers to apply these stories to their own communities, develop next steps, and renew their commitment to this hard but meaningful work.

On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World, Danya Ruttenburg, Beacon Press, 2022. A concise new lens on repentance, atonement, forgive ness and repair from harm- from personal transgressions to our culture’s most painful and unresolved issues.

Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity and Power in Ministry, Mitra Rahnema, editor, 2017, Skinner House. Eighteen essays on the challenges of BIPOC Ministers and administrators including some of the leading minds in our faith. Discussion cues by the editor at the end of the book.

Unitarian Specific Work

Unitarian Universalists of Color, Yuri Yamamoto, Chandra Snell and Tim Hamami, 2017, Lulu Publishing.

Beyond Welcoming, Linnea Nelson, 2021, Skinner House

BLUU Notes: An Anthology of Love, Justice and Liberation, Takiyah Nur Amin and Mykal Slack, 2021, Skinner House

Frequently Asked Questions

The Building Beloved Community Committee takes time to answer some of our most asked questions. If you don’t see a question on the list, please reach out for a personal response, we may just add it to our list!

Q. How will having passed support for the 8th principle help us grow?
A. Youth and families have different expectations in favor of social action and a forward look for which we believe the 8th Principle adoption is necessary but not sufficient. Without it we have little hope of appealing to the non-white folks who make up the majority of our neighborhood and, increasingly the greater Eastside. We need to change and the 8th Principle Ministry Team is looking to support ESUC’s change efforts.

Q. How many members voted to pass the 8th principle?
A. The vote was not unanimous but was overwhelming, exceeding 93%.

Q. Are there classes or events offered at ESUC where I can learn more about anti-oppression and anti-racism?
A. Yes, there are UUA sponsored classes, local book study groups, events, and Sunday services. The best ways to learn what’s here are from the calendar, the Director of Membership Development, and the members of the 8th Principle ministry team.

Q. How did the 8th principle come about in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)? Will it be adopted by the UUA?
A. The 8th Principle was a grassroots project composed by Paula Cole Jones and Bruce Pollack-Johnson in 2013. They led a project to ask for adoption. Black Lives of UU adopted it, then a few congregations. At this writing 117 adoptions have been voted. At the UUA level, there is a commission to review Article II of the bylaws, which contain our principles. That commission will be influenced by the 117 adoptions, and will propose revisions to the principles of the UUA at the next General Assembly in June of 2022, and a vote will occur at the GA of 2023.

Q. What are we doing to live into this principle at ESUC?
A. The 8th Principle Ministry Team is at work planning multiple ways to bring information and education to congregants, and encouraging more participation in this work, and simultaneously working with allied community organizations already committed to anti-oppression/anti-racism work. The Board of Trustees will also be at work embedding the decisions of our congregation into everything that we do. We don’t yet know how all this will play out. No doubt there will be conflict and disagreement, but we also are working with Right Relations to learn better how to cope with and thrive with disagreement and conflict.

Q. What does the word ‘accountability’ mean in the 8th Principle?
A. It means actions that support words, not just words and intentions. It means learning to understand the impact of actions and omissions. Dismantling racism is the work of the dominant culture, not the marginalized. Being accountable means being responsible for working to change the culture to a beloved community in which ALL are welcome.

Q. What does de-centering whiteness mean?
A. It means first understanding that much of our culture embeds white as “normal”, and has, for hundreds of years, and that this in itself is oppressive. De-centering means putting oppressed and marginalized people in the center of the conversation about actions and the future. It means “grow bigger ears” and learning to listen to voices that have rarely been heard well. It means understanding the impact on folks who are not just “white like me”. This is work for whites in a congregation that is 96% white in a community that is 52% non-white.

Q. What is the difference between white supremacy and whiteness?
A. White supremacy is an ideology, and white or whiteness is an identity. White supremacy is harmful and what we are trying to dismantle. This means respecting EVERYONE, where they are, TODAY, and working toward a beloved community.

Q. What are the current demographics of our congregation? Bellevue? The Eastside?
A. Our congregation currently has an average age of 65 and is 96% white. Bellevue is just over 50% non-white, of which 35% is Asian. The Eastside in 2018 was 65.4% white.

Q. What are other ways I can be involved in this work?
A. Now THAT’s the question we want you to ask! Talk to us: Nicole Duff is the staff person for this, but you can talk with any member of the Board of Trustees, and any member of the 8th Principle Ministry Team as well! Your participation is what binds us all together, indeed, that is the very meaning of the word, religion: binding together! Join us!

Organizations & Programs We Support

Our Building Beloved Community Committee works with several organizations locally and nationally. We recommend several organizations who offer classes and programs great for deepening your understanding.

8th Principle Learning Community
Lead by Paula Cole Jones, co-writer of the 8th Principle. Email:
[email protected] to get invitations to monthly meetings. Also ask to join the Facebook 8th Principle UU Learning Community.

ARE (Allies for Racial Equity)
An allies group building an anti-racist movement of white UU’s to dismantle white supremacy in ourselves, our congregations, and communities.

Beloved Conversations (Within)
Beloved Conversations—the signature offering of The Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School—is a program for Unitarian Universalists seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. In Beloved Conversations, we are here to heal the impact of racism on our lives, in order to get free together. All members of our 8th Principle team are graduates of Beloved Conversations.

Eastside for All
Our mission is to transform East King County into a place where racial, economic, and social justice is made possible for communities of color. We do this by focusing on the local systemic changes required in our policies, practices, relationships, and investments. An East Shore representative participates in conferences and events presented by Eastside For All.

Eastside Pathways
Eastside Pathways is a partnership of nearly 70 public, private, and nonprofit organizations, working collective. A community-wide partnership that follows the collective impact framework and is working to close the persisting inequities and help every child thrive, cradle to career. East Shore representatives participate in Eastside Pathways.

Eastside Race & Leadership Coalition 
We bring together local stakeholders from across the community who are committed to the value of diversity and inclusion at all levels of their organizations in order to learn from each other and share promising practices that will leverage the limitless potential of their diverse members and leaders. Our vision is to live in communities in which the diversity of leaders in local government, social service and non-profit organizations, commerce and education sectors reflect those living in the communities, and the decisions they make respect the cultural and social differences of those living, working, learning and growing in these communities and eliminate barriers that would keep them from achieving their fullest potential. East Shore representatives attend the monthly meetings.

Jubilee Three Anti-Racism Training: Learning Together About Systemic Racism
Jubilee Three description: Do you wish to deepen your understanding of how race and ethnicity play out in our institutions and our daily lives? Are you ready to take a leading role to nurture a multicultural future in the face of opposing cultural currents? Come Join Us for this Life-Changing Weekend!

Lakota People’s Law Project
We work closely with tribal nations and non-profit compatriots to amplify Indigenous voices, provise renewable resources in place of fossil fuel consumption, protect the voting rights of Native people and on-the-ground support when and where it is needed most. We aim to assist in the reclamation of Indigenous lands and stop all threats to Lakota culture.” An East Shore representative attends some conferences and events presented by the Lakota Law People’s Law Project.

Loretta Ross’s Calling In the Calling Out Culture
An online course on how we can create a Calling In Culture and learn about the relationship between Call Out/Cancel Culture and White Supremacy in the Age of Trump. 6 sessions, 6 facilitated discussion sessions, Q&A, and links to material.

Othering & Belonging Institute

  1. Advance multi-disciplinary research, analysis, policy and strategic narrative
  2. Build relationships among diverse groups and across disciplines
  3. Employ communications and culture to illuminate research and impact policy
  4. Make a difference

An East Shore representative participates in some conferences presented by the Othering and Belonging Institute.

Transformational Conversations (King County Town Hall 2021 series)
Created by and for King County employees of color. Open to anyone.


1997 UUA Resolution

WHEREAS the 1996 General Assembly resolved that all congregations, districts, organizations, and professional and lay leaders participate in a reflection-action process throughout the 1996-97 church year using the Congregational Reflection and Action Process Guide and the Anti-Racism Assessment; and

WHEREAS our Unitarian Universalist principles call us to affirm and promote “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations” and “the goal of world community”; and

WHEREAS our history as Unitarian Universalists includes evidence of both great commitment and individual achievement in the struggle for racial justice as well as the failure of our Unitarian Universalist institutions to respond fully to the call for justice; and

WHEREAS racism and its effects, including economic injustice, are embedded in all social institutions as well as in ourselves and will not be eradicated without deliberate engagement in analysis and action; and

WHEREAS because of the impact of racism on all people, and the interconnection among oppressions, we realize we need to make an institutional commitment to end racism; and

WHEREAS the social, economic, and ecological health of our planet is imperiled by the deepening divisions in our world caused by inequitable and unjust distribution of power and resources; and

WHEREAS we are called yet again by our commitment to faith in action to pursue this anti-racist, multi-cultural initiative in the spirit of justice, compassion, and community;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 1997 General Assembly urges Unitarian Universalists to examine carefully their own conscious and unconscious racism as participants in a racist society, and the effect that racism has on all our lives, regardless of color.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly urges the Unitarian Universalist Association, its congregations, and community organizations to develop an ongoing process for the comprehensive institutionalization of anti-racism and multi-culturalism, understanding that whether or not a group becomes multi-racial, there is always the opportunity to become anti-racist. Early steps toward anti-racism might include using curricula such as Journey Toward Wholeness for all age groups, forming racial justice committees, and conducting anti-racism workshops.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly urges all Unitarian Universalist leaders, including ministers, religious educators, leaders of associate and affiliate organizations, governing boards, Unitarian Universalist Association staff, theological schools, and future General Assemblies to engage in ongoing anti-racism training, to examine basic assumptions, structures, and functions, and, in response to what is learned, to develop action plans.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to enter into relationships of sustained engagement with all people of color with a goal of opening up authentic dialogue that may include, but is not limited to, race and racism. Such dialogue should also include how to appropriately honor and affirm the cultural traditions of all people of color.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly requests that the UUA Board of Trustees establish a committee to monitor and assess our transformation as an anti-racist, multi-cultural institution, and that the Board of Trustees shall report annually to the General Assembly specifically on the programs and resources dedicated to assisting our congregations in carrying out the objectives of this resolution.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that in order to transform the racist institutions of our world, the General Assembly urges the Unitarian Universalist Association and all its parts to establish relationships with other international and interfaith organizations that are working to dismantle racism.

July 1, 1997 – Read it on the UUA site here.

Widening the Circle of Concern

Widening the Circle of Concern

Widening the Circle of Concern series of classes offers a summary and discussion of the 2020 blueprint for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and East Shore to become more anti- racist, anti-oppression, and multicultural. The Widening the Circle of Concern Report presents trends, recommendations, actions, and takeaways from a deep look at the power structures of systemic racism and white culture within the Unitarian Universalist Association and our congregations. The series is presented in 5 classes:

This series is an example of the Building Beloved Community Committee supporting and being a home for someone wanting to create something educational.