Anti-Racism Work

We take our anti-racism work very seriously at 1st UU.

On Sunday, May 31, 2020, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the members in attendance at the congregational Annual Meeting:

RESOLUTION 

WHEREAS, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond has adopted the 8th Principle, which calls upon us to “journey 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;”

WHEREAS, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond has adopted the Richmond Pledge to End Racism, which commits us “to working with others to transform the Greater Richmond region into a place that treats people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures with justice, equity, and compassion;”

WHEREAS, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond has adopted ends statements that include:

End #1: We will create a community capable of its multicultural aspirations, where we are able to respect, appreciate, and feel the power of each other’s experiences and faith, and

End #3: We will join with people and communities in Richmond and beyond in the struggle for racial, political, economic, and social justice, and against the forces of oppression.

WHEREAS, African American people and people of color continue to be detained, arrested, and killed by police at significantly higher rates than whites, and the justice system consistently exonerates police violence toward African American people and people of color;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, hold ourselves accountable to direct action to ending racism;

To this end, we call upon the Board of Directors and staff of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond to decide, in coordination with people of color organizations, on areas of focus for the congregation regarding:

  • legislative action to curtail police violence, and
  • voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts

As part of these commitments, the Board and staff will make resources and support available for the congregation and provide leadership for the congregation to become involved in these initiatives, and

Congregants of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond commit to support areas of focus and actions with their time, talent, and treasure as appropriate, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Board will update the congregation at least twice a year on our progress in this work, with the first such report by no later than August 31, 2020, and the last such report when racism has been eliminated from the United States.

 

The Board offers this report to the congregation, as mandated by the resolution, September 1, 2020:

“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, hold ourselves accountable to direct action to ending racism;

To this end, we call upon the Board of Directors and staff of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond to decide, in coordination with people of color organizations, on areas of focus for the congregation regarding:

  • legislative action to curtail police violence, and
  • voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts

As part of these commitments, the Board and staff will make resources and support available for the congregation and provide leadership for the congregation to become involved in these initiatives, and

Congregants of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond commit to support areas of focus and actions with their time, talent, and treasure as appropriate, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Board will update the congregation at least twice a year on our progress in this work, with the first such report by no later than August 31, 2020, and the last such report when racism has been eliminated from the United States.”

These are the final words of a congregational resolution that was passed by the voting members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, Virginia on May 31, 2020.  In response to the resolution, the Board of Directors is pleased to provide this update on actions that are in specific response to the resolution.

Legislative Action

Rev. Jeanne Pupke and six of the congregation’s young adults are enrolled in a ten week training course on community organizing, offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) #UU the Vote campaign.  (Learn more at uuthevote.org)  One of their key goals is to develop the skills to call on legislators in the Virginia General Assembly during their upcoming session in January.  The primary goal of the group in training is to align themselves with the platforms and proposals of Virginia’s Black Legislative Caucus in an effort to build support for them.  They have met with State Senator Ghazala Hashmi to encourage her to understand and support the Caucus’ proposals, particularly around criminal justice reform.  Their activities will add strength to the work that Rev. Jeanne Pupke, Rev. Faith Harris, and Rev. Amy Russell have been doing at the legislature for years.  Stay tuned for more as we get closer to the 2021 regular session of the General Assembly.

A group of First UU members and others who have taken Living the Pledge (LTP) have created some important project work in an effort to keep people informed of legislative activities.  The LTP Influencing Governing Bodies has agreed “to support the priorities identified by the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus (VBLC) in our state legislative sessions.”  They are working to follow issues and keep people informed. They will continue to be focused on anti-racism at the public policy making level, and have created an email alert process to keep people who sign up in the loop on the latest information available.  If you are interested in receiving these alerts and supporting this effort, email Mary Secret or Kendall Nordin to have your email added to the list.

Rev. Jeanne is exploring a new relationship with a local collaboration of organizations presenting a “Unity in the Community” rally this weekend.   There are also a number of members and friends who have historically been heavily involved in civic engagement and lobbying as individuals, and we are grateful for their efforts!

Voter Registration and Get Out the Vote

Given that we are now about 60 days away from the November 3 elections, there is a good deal of activity on this topic.

The Living the Pledge members also created a small team dedicated to Voting Rights.  They have amassed significant resources, including, but not limited to voter registration and absentee/mail-in voting.  In coordination with work that the Board of Trustees has been doing, they are determining the possibility of working with the Richmond Crusade for Voters in support of voter registration.

Two of our members, Sue Murdock and Lynne Edwards, gathered a small group of people who researched a number of resources around the voting cycle.  Their excellent research has resulted in a list that has been shared with the LTP Voting Rights team to enhance their efforts…a wonderful collaboration.  You can take advantage of these resources by going to   https://richmonduu.org/connect/social-justice/voting-rights-and-uu-the-vote/

The Board of Trustees has been reaching out to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations in Richmond to offer support to any of the work they are doing around voting rights.  The voter registration drive that the Richmond Crusade for Voters conducts (mentioned above) is one possible collaboration that we are working on.  We are also in touch with Richmond for All, New Virginia Majority, Care in Action, and the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project for possible connections regarding voter registration and legislative influence.

How can you get involved?

Other Activities

First News Weekly does a wonderful job of keeping us informed about other related activities that contribute to our social justice efforts.  We hope that you will take time to read about them and donate some time or treasures to their critical work:

  • RISC (Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities) is an organization made up of congregations throughout the metro area. First UU has a healthy number of people involved in RISC, who are currently focusing on the eviction crisis and the gun violence crisis.  RISC is always looking for more members; if you are interested, please contact Steve Saltzberg.
  • Cardinal Elementary School is our partner elementary school where we have a number of activities each year: Backpack snacks, winter coats, mentoring, weekly visits to read with the students, and an annual yard sale.  Plans are still in process for this year’s activities as a result of COVID-19, but Joel Blum would be happy to hear from you if you are interested in getting involved.
  • Climate and Earth Justice has a listserv and ecology tips available on their webpage, and encourage you to keep up with their important work through the listserv by contacting Susanna Calvert.

Our next report to you will be in the first quarter of 2021, but if there are key updates before then, we will be certain to let you know through First News Weekly or special emails.  If there are other activities that you would like to make us aware of, please email board@richmonduu.org and we will be happy to add to our project and event activities.  Thanks to you all for your interest and support!

 

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We take anti-racism work very seriously, and in 2018, the congregation adopted an 8th Principle about that:

“We, the members and friends of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond 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.”

 

 

                                 

 

Anti-Racism Group

  • Living the Pledge Workshop: http://richmondpledge.org/
  • Maintains Social Justice table on Sunday between services to provide resources to the church community
  • Works with the Black Lives Matter Group
  • Provides a space for communication and processing for members of our church and community
  • For more information, please contact Deborah Coleman and Sheryl Johnson

Living the Pledge

  • Educates members about systemic racism and encourages participants to become active in fighting racism evident in our systems throughout the city.
  • Class curriculum includes American and Richmond history, personal biases and microaggressions. The goal of Living the Pledge is to transform understanding into action.
  • For more information, please contact: Annette Marquis at annettemarquis@gmail.com or Anita Lee at La_toute@principle2.org

Black Lives Matter

  • Vigils
  • Protests
  • Solidarity
  • According to Black Lives Matter, the movement “is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

You can find more resources here:  https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

DRUUMM
(Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries) is a growing network of over 500 UU People of Color. We are primarily a volunteer and member-led organization without any regular staff. The primary governance and workgroup is the DRUUMM Steering Committee. We invite you and members of your UU POC group to stay connected to receive periodic email announcements, our DRUUMM Beat Newsletter (back issues here and on FB), and engage in dialogue through The DRUUMM Gathering Place on Facebook. There is a regular monthly drop-in session on 4th Tuesdays at 8 pm ET. You can learn more, and sign up for those through any of the links in this paragraph.
There is a range of upcoming activities including culturally-specific and UU POC specific programs during the UUA General Assembly, youth and young adults of color gatherings, and other events for DRUUMM members. You can join at www.druumm.org or contact Dawn Robinson drobinson@uua.org.