Renewed Commitment for 2016-17

On May 15, 2016 the UUCB Congregation voted YES!! (1) To renew our support for the Confronting Racism Project; (2) To officially support the Black Lives Matter Movement; (3) To approve displaying our Black Lives Matter banner in public marches and demonstrations.

Literature, Film & Drama Contingent (LFDC)

This group has met monthly from September 2015 through December 2016.
Below are the discussions from this time period:

Books

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Nation Book Award winner)
Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s Story, Artemis Joukowsky, III (We also viewed the Ken Burns’ documentary.)
Whistling Past the Graveyard, Susan Crandall
Margaret Mead and James Baldwin: A Rap on Race (We also listened to a recording of this dialog, enhancing our appreciation of their discussion!)
Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham Jail
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Nikki Jones, “The Gender of Police Violence”
Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

Movies/Films

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, http://world-trust.org/mirrors-of-privilege-making-whiteness-visible/
The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker
Loving, Jeff Nichols
Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash
Film, Cracking the Codes: the System of Racial Inequity

Plays

It Can’t Happen Here, Tony Taccone and Bennett Cohen (But, it did, alas….)
The Last Tiger in Haiti, Jeff Augustin
Ayad Akhtar’s play at Berkeley Rep, Disgraced

Articles

There are too many articles to list, but there was a particularly lively discussion of: It’s Not About Race!, John Metta
https://thsppl.com/its-not-about-race-fb140bac8f1#.5zc6tfor3

Other

We created Moments of Awareness of Unconscious Bias (MAUBs): As a way to help us get in touch with biases we don’t own, let alone talk about, we share those times we catch ourselves thinking or acting in ways that can be considered racist, biased, or self-hating — in the safe space we have created within our meetings. We believe that awareness is key, because: “Individual ignorance sustains institutional racism,” (Jennell Benson, for the Black Lives Matter movement).

Confronting Racism Workshop

UUCB’s Social Justice Council is proud of its first event – the Confronting Racism Workshop held June 3, 2015.  96 people attended!  Reverends Ben McBride and Donnell Jones facilitated interactive exercises through which participants were able to speak about their personal racial biases and systemic racism.  From attendees’ evaluations:  “Made it really – tactile – observable.” “Made me more aware of them.”  “I looked deeper.”  “I’ve had a lot of experience in education in this. It comes better from a Black reverend who knows love.” “I was already aware [of personal biases], but the workshop heightened what was there: the internalized feelings of being ‘less than’ in America.”

Evaluations also informed the organizers that the workshop was missing the Female Voice, was missing youth and more people of color, and that too much was packed into two hours (and we did run over).

The purpose of the workshop was not just to build on self-awareness of one’s own biases and systemic racism, but to energize people and set a foundation for the work the Confronting Racism Project will do in the Fall and into next year.  Forty attendees want to actively participate either in creating the next dialogs or actions, inform and invite others to participate, or lead or participate in a book group or film series.  Organizers are thrilled to have this support in moving the confronting racism agenda forward!

Confronting Racism Project Approved by Congregation

At the May 17, 2015 Congregational Meeting the Social Justice Council recommended that the congregation approve the Confronting Racism Project as a sponsored project.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Now is the time to Confront Racism.  “Black Lives Matter” has found that every 28 hours a black person is killed by a police officer, vigilante, or a security guard.  African American Deacon Reggie Lyles from Oakland has said this is like returning to the lynchings of the 1920s.

We can’t let this go on.  We have had enough.  Now is the time to act!  We can thank social media for helping us get to this point of being ready – 35 states supported the people of Ferguson.

Over the next year, the Confronting Racism Project will invite our congregation to begin to understand systemic racism and implicit bias. We will engage in actions that lift up these issues. We will participate in dialog, workshops, activities and community actions. We will engage in work that will transform each of us as well as those in nearby communities as we build bridges.

The Confronting Racism Project, coordinated by Nancy “Kelly” Kelly and Jane Eisenstark, is a small group looking for several other congregants who are interested and want to commit to this project.  We have much learning, and much work to do.  We guarantee it will be spirit lifting.  Come!  Join us!