The team is structured to lead in five key areas of focus. Each aims to assess and address how unconscious bias and racism (and other oppressions) manifest within the structure of our community—both in how it’s governed and how it operates—with the overall goal to achieve true inclusion. The leads for each area will collaborate with staff and Ministry Teams and their groups to assess actions and activities with the anti-racism/anti-oppression/dismantling white supremacy lens of JTW’s mission. Our focus areas are: 1) Finances and Programs, 2) Worship and Music, 3) Policy and Practice, 4) Community Relationships, and 5) Education of Culture and Language.
Two initiatives have been identified and implemented or proposed to the Board as educational opportunities to:
- Develop a cadre of congregational leaders to help in this work,
- Develop a common language and understanding of racism and its manifestations, and engage in deep, relationship-building conversations.
Race: Are We So Different?
By mid-December, 30 Board members and Ministry Team lay leaders will have participated in a guided tour of the Museum of Man’s “Race: Are We So Different?” exhibit and a workshop on Implicit Bias and Micro-Aggressions. At least two additional tours/workshops are being scheduled for January and beyond for additional Ministry Team lay leaders and interested congregation members.
At its November meeting, Board members discussed the possibility of bringing to First UU “Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and ethnicity.”
This program was developed by Dr. Mark Hicks of the Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School and is serving more than 140 UU, Jewish, and Quaker congregations. Using a small-group format, it explores the role of race and ethnicity in the lives of individuals and the congregation. Further investigation of the program is taking place with the goal of bringing it to our congregation in the next few months.
Your JTW team is deeply moved by, motivated, and engaged in this work. We’d love to have deeper conversations with anyone who would like to discuss it. Journeying Toward Wholeness is work for each of us as well as for First UU as an institution. Only by working and learning together with other congregation members, friends, and staff will our mission thrive and progress—and we become the congregation to which we aspire. Your ideas, involvement, and suggestions are
important to us! Please reach out to any team member for further discussion: Honor Bell, Isaac Castro, Ben Fowler, Jan Garbosky, Kendric Hornsby, Steve Howard, Maggie Marshall, and
Keep an eye out for more updates from the JTW team!