Wondering what the Racial Justice Change Team (RJCT) is working on this year? Here are the team’s goals for 2021:
- Become conversant in the recommendations of the UUA’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” report and align our actions to those recommendations. We have ensured that our planned actions below align with the general recommendations of the report, as well as the priorities of the WSUU Board. The report is available for free at the above link, or for a fee in print or as an Amazon Kindle ebook.
- Support our BIPOC members and continue to be connected and accountable. Currently, two members of the RJCT are also members of WSUU’s BIPOC group, and are serving as liaisons between the two groups. Because working toward racial justice means prioritizing the needs, experiences, and goals of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, we are working to increase our connection to Westside’s BIPOC members, including those not currently involved in the RJCT. With continued relationship and trust building, the RJCT hopes to have an open line of communication with WSUU’s BIPOC members so we can be aware of concerns within our congregation, provide support as needed, and maintain accountability to the work of true racial justice.
- Support the ongoing use of the WSUU Equity Tool, which was introduced to the Leadership Assembly last year. The RJCT hopes to again offer training on the use of this decision-making tool, for those not yet familiar with it or wanting more training. The tool helps Westside leaders and committee members make stronger decisions that incorporate input from those most likely to be affected by the decisions. The RJCT is also offering its assistance to the Board in reviewing Westside’s policies and procedures using an equity lens.
- Build relationships with BIPOC-led groups outside WSUU and take meaningful action to support the work of a group or groups. Several members of the RJCT have formed a subgroup tasked with identifying specific actions that Westside will take to develop long-term external relationships and connect Westside members and friends with opportunities to take action in a sensitive way. Everyone who has taken Beloved Conversations was recently invited to be part of the subgroup. Invitations will be going out soon for the first meeting on February 4.
- Connect congregation members to the work of the RJCT. The initial plan was to hold post-service Zoom rooms 2-4x per year. This has now expanded into offering monthly RJCT Coffee Hours on third Sundays. These are casual opportunities to inform and celebrate our work, and the first one on January 17 was well attended. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed at a future RJCT Coffee Hour, please email RJCT@wsuu.org. The RJCT will also submit articles (such as this one) to the WSUU eNews about its activities and reach out to the membership committee about inclusion of the RJCT in outreach to new members.
- Sustain adult education classes that are accessible at different levels. The RJCT will explore opportunities to partner with Common Quest and/or offer interesting/fun programs through the Zoom affinity groups that will be forming. Movie or book discussions or an ongoing white affinity group are some ideas. Cecelia Hayes recently gave an excellent presentation, “Equity and Social Justice in the Age of COVID-19.” In February, Cindy Jackson will be offering a deep-dive discussion into the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
- Sustain RJCT members through connection and small group ministry. This initiative focuses on helping RJCT members feel connected and supported in doing the challenging, long-haul work of racial justice. On a more logistical note, the team is also hoping to adopt a technology platform for keeping all our information together.
Questions or comments about our goals? Please contact the team by sending email to Tracy Burrows, RJCT Leader, at RJCT@wsuu.org.
—by Kerrie Schurr, RJCT Communications Subcommittee