The existing seven principles of Unitarian Universalism describe what we are striving for, our guiding lights, what we are journeying toward. Supporting the 8th Principle also means covenanting to go on a spiritual path with others to find our way to a beloved community free of all kinds of oppression, particularly racism. As an aspirational covenant, the 8th asks me to be accountable to those I covenant with – other congregants, East Shore, and other UU churches.
To be, in the present, right now, on a journey toward wholeness and beloved community with accountability to myself and others inspires me. The realization that I could learn to be anti-racist, or take anti-oppression actions grounded in faith has been revelatory. Beloved Conversations contributed significantly to that realization. The faith I grew up in – Unitarian Universalism – like the society I grew up in has a checkered history of struggling to see and correct oppression. Although we are a progressive faith, I don’t see us as having been as progressive as we think about being anti-racist. The 8th Principle offers a spiritual path that I can act upon, as do our other principles, by engaging with action, introspection, study, discussion, worship, community, and healing.
It’s my experience that our seven principles are not typically assumed to refer to racism or other oppressions. An 8th Principle would mean covenanting to be on a journey to an oppression-free world for people of color, LGBTQIA+, our older and younger generations, those differently-abled, etc. You can add to the list. In other words, truly all. Our progressive faith can progress. In Mission, Vision, Board goals, Team & Committee work, community partnerships, governance, and more, East Shore can commit to being on a journey towards a beloved community by ratifying the 8th Principle.
by Grace Colton