The goal of the Racial Justice Leadership Team (RJLT) is to lead the congregation in developing and living out an intentionally anti-racist identity in all aspects of church life. RJLT was formed prior to the reunification of First Church and UU Society with members from both
congregations participating. Within the first month post-merger, we conducted worship services and an afternoon discussion of Robin D’Angelo’s book, White Fragility. In Winter 2020, we offered the UU Fahs Institute curriculum, Beloved Conversations, through which 40 UUCC members participated in a week-end retreat and eight additional weeks of small group meetings. Additionally we presented a worship service about the Beloved Conversations experience and hosted a forum on white privilege. In the fall of 2020, another 17 UUCC members participated in a virtual Beloved Conversations model.
In addition to educational opportunities, RJLT engaged in direct actions. We advocated for the inclusion of racial justice as part of our new congregation’s strategic plan. We sponsored a candlelight vigil in memory of George Floyd, a black American who was murdered in Minneapolis by a police officer who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes in May of 2020. We worked to obtain a Black Lives Matter banner, a gay pride rainbow banner, and an Earth flag banner for hanging on the front of the building to express some of the values of our congregation to our wider community. We continue to review our congregation’s progress in breaking down white supremacist structures and to support other congregational groups offering movies, book discussions, and opportunities to otherwise consider aspects of systemic racism.
The Members of the Racial Justice Leadership Team are Erika Brown, Rev. Joe Cherry, Pat Dillard, Christie Manning, Valerie McFadden, Roschelle Ogbuji and Nancy King Smith, Chair. Anyone interested in the Team’s work can contact Nancy King Smith for help finding a place to become involved, starting with the Building Authentic Diversity covenant group.