Frequently Asked Questions

Nov 4, 2021 | Racial Resources

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!