When she told Rev. Kathleen Owens at First UU Church of San Diego about her work, Rev. Owens asked her to consider mounting the exhibit in at First Church in Bard Hall. It fit in with the First UU's ongoing mission to become more aware of the microaggressions and macroaggressions people of color experience in our congregation and in our faith. Alison decided to use the storyboards and some art pieces to create a show sharing her experience of racism within her job as a religious educator and within UUism.
Alison's story begins in San Diego, at First UU, where her parents, Doug and Sue McLeod, brought her to Religious Education classes. There were no other children of color in those classes. The curriculum also didn't speak to her, so she made her own space where she could serve, as a volunteer in the bookroom. This came from a belief in her family that you need to help or contribute to the community you participate in. The family moved to Pullman, Washington when she was 14. There, Alison grew up and experienced more racism as one of the few people of color in that city.
She became a Director of Religious Education at San Dieguito UU Fellowship in 2007. Part of her work has involved coming back into covenant with youth and young adults of color in the Pacific Southwest District, wanting to create a safe space for them, where none had existed for her. "We benefit when theconversation (about racism, etc.) is multigenerational," according to Alison. She also wanted to be candid and open about her experiences, hoping it will become a teaching tool for First UU. "Starting conversations is how we heal. We need to be more aware of how we all contribute to the white supremacist society we live in."
The art exhibit connects to three workshops that will explore the issues raised by the art show, mediated by Alison. The first will be on April 30, with the other two in May. The art show itself opens with a reception on April 12 at 7 pm and will run through the end of May.