by Amélie Heise
Growing up as a UU, I was never really aware of how white our faith is until I reached high school and started to participate in race caucusing at our bi-annual conferences. Caucusing is something that is mandatory in some form or another at our youth conferences, though it takes different forms every year. However, a pattern that we saw every con was the size of the BIPOC caucus. It has always been extremely small, with on average 10-15 members out of the 150 or so population of con. One vivid moment that I still hold from these amazing experiences was from the Fall Con of my senior year. We were doing caucusing based on race and we were going to have report backs of what we discussed in our small groups with the whole community. The BIPOC caucus had finished a little bit late, so we didn’t make it back to the dining hall right on time. When we arrived, they had already started to report back without us and didn’t leave room for any of us to sit or make any move to make room either. Since there wasn’t any room for us, we had to sit on the ground in the front of the room. I remember having a staff meeting that night about what happened and having to have a discussion with the whole community about how what had happened was unacceptable and how it was a breach in our covenant that we had created early that weekend.
Later that year, I learned about the 8th Principle in more detail from friends and loved the idea of it from the start. Supporting the 8th Principle is extremely important to me because it will allow us to better continue our journey as UUs to dismantle racism and oppression, not only in our faith but in our greater communities. We need to continue to be held accountable for our actions if we want to end this fight. We already live the 8th Principle in our everyday lives, even if we don’t realize it. Now is the time to support the 8th Principle and continue the hard work we have started.