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East Shore Unitarian Church Beloved Racial Justice Ministry

email:  eastshorebrj@gmail.com

The Beloved Racial Justice Ministry Team’s mission is to create a beloved and just multiracial community within East Shore Unitarian Church and in the wider world by acting to address racial justice issues.  We honor the worth and dignity of every human being and the interconnected web of all of life by recognizing prejudice, privilege and injustice. We seek to dismantle prejudice, unfair privilege and injustice in ourselves, our church and our community.  

In order to build a caring religious community, we seek to create a racially inclusive church community. This work grows our souls through increased understanding and humility and through actions to increase peace and justice. We are in alignment with Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) key initiatives around multiculturalism and racial justice.

Over the past few years the Beloved Racial Justice ministry team has established a comprehensive program to engage our congregation and the wider community. Activities have included:

Education: More than 80 Church members have participated in the eight-week Beloved Conversations curriculum (offered 5 times so far). Ten church members also attended training in Restorative Justice practices through the Seattle Restorative Justice organization (January and April 2016).

Forums: Dialogue on Juvenile Detention (April 2016) and Dialogue on Juvenile Detention Center (June 2016).

Discussion Groups: These three groups are designed to create safe spaces for people to speak openly about race and racism:

  • People of Color Affinity Group
  • Conversations About Race – Once per month Sunday morning facilitated discussion group that draws 15 to 30 participants and covers a wide range of topics.  Two members of the Bellevue, WA Police Department attended one of the Conversations About Race sessions. (Began 10/16)
  • White People Talk About Race – Periodic discussion group that focuses on racial topics particularly difficult for white people.

Public Witness:  Since July 2015, Church members have participated in monthly Black Lives Matter Flash Stance public demonstrations in Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland and Woodinville. Church members also participate in community wide demonstrations to fight racism and oppression.

White Privilege Sessions: Multicultural educator Dr. Robin DiAngelo has spoken three times at East Shore. Topics included How to be an Ally (10/15), Seeing the Water: Whiteness in Daily Life (01/16) and White Supremacy Teach In (05/17)

Film & Discussion Events:

  • Traces of Trade documentary with special guest Tom DeWolf.
  • UUA General Assembly Ware Lectures Series: Van Jones (03/18), Winona La Duke (04/18) and Brittany Packnett (06/18).

Book Discussion Groups: 

  • Just Mercyby Brian Stevenson (2015)
  • The New Jim Crowby Michelle Alexander (2016).
  • All the Real Indians Died Off, And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxanne Ortiz (2017)
  • Centering:  Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry(2018) Edited by Mitra Rahnema
  • So You Want to Talk About Race (2018)

Advocacy:

East Shore members collected signatures to put the I-940 De-Escalate Washington initiative on the 2018 ballot. The measure will require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation, mental-health, and first-aid training, and to provide first-aid. It will change standards for use of deadly force, adding a “good faith” standard and independent investigation.

Collaborations:  East Shore and the Pacific Northwest UU Justice Network sponsored an Anti-Racist Activists networking event in December 2017. The conference drew UUs from 5 area churches and included members of other faith traditions that work on racial justice.

Other collaborations include:

  • 350/Seattle
  • Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
  • Bellevue Police Department
  • Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition (ERIC)
  • Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative
  • Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
  • Mus­lim Asso­ci­a­tion of Puget Sound (MAPS)
  • Muslim Community Resource Center (MCRC)
  • Northlake Unitarian Church
  • Pacific Northwest Anti-Racist Activists Network
  • Puyallup Tribe
  • Seattle Peace Chorus
  • Seattle Unity Church Umoja Group
  • University Unitarian Church Juvenile Injustice Team
  • University Unitarian Church Racial Justice Team
  • Westside UUC Racial Justice Task Force
  • Woodinville UU Church
  • Sierra Club