“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.” The Eighth Principle, written by the Black Lives UU Organizing Collective
“Why ratify the Eighth Principle?” is such a good question! Yet, as I sit at my desk thinking of what I want to say, I realize that I’m also asking myself “Why not?” Why wouldn’t I support ratifying such an important and affirming statement? Why wouldn’t I want my own journey toward spiritual fulfillment to include participating in the creation of a Beloved Community at East Shore and beyond? As a member of this community, I hope my deepening understanding of the privileges I enjoy will connect with others who are also committed to learning about their privileges and what we can do together to achieve the multicultural vision expressed in the Eighth Principle.
I believe that learning about and ratifying the Eighth Principle is a major step that marks East Shore as a hub of social justice in which its members are engaged in developing awareness and acting upon practices and structures that oppress many of our neighbors. We can come together to recognize the importance of voicing our stand as an anti-racist church and join over 40 UU congregations around the country that have already voted to adopt it. I look forward to the day that I can say that together we have shown our commitment to upholding an anti-racist and anti-oppression vision in ourselves and in our denomination.
Over the past several years and in the midst of the COVID pandemic, I have often found myself discouraged and saddened as I learned about another attempt at voter restriction, another hate crime, another environmental injustice that confirms the harmful forces at work throughout the US and in our institutions. In response to events such as these, I am taking the time to learn about policies and actions that harm BIPOC communities as well as about people and groups engaged in ongoing activities to improve their lives and their communities. This step is part of my personal journey toward realizing that action and accountability are required if I truly want to be committed to changing my own attitudes and to live the UU values I hold dear. Learning about the Eighth Principle helped me realize the importance of moving beyond talking about a better world, making financial donations, and going to occasional meetings. The Eighth Principle helped me realize that consistent action and accountability are required if I truly want to live the values that it states.
I feel a renewed energy and hope as I talk with East Shore members who are also interested in learning about what the Eighth Principle is and what it means. This support and positive curiosity helps me believe that East Shore will become part of the Beloved Community by ratifying a statement explicitly calling us to dismantle racism and other oppressions. What a powerful moment, what an inspiring opportunity, we have in front of us!
Lynn Roesch, Congregant and member of the Pathway to 8th Principle Team