I am whole-heartedly in favor of this principle – this initiative – this call to action. For me, it speaks of the love and connection so many of us deeply value in our beloved community. To demonstrate our caring of one another, it’s so important that we listen to understand, and that we grow our empathy for each other’s experiences. As I learn more and more intimately of the truth of the experience of BIPOC and other marginalized members of our UU faith community, I feel increasingly dedicated to doing what it takes to evolve our culture to be more inclusive, more welcoming, and more equity-based. This principle has come from the hearts, minds, and experiences of BIPOC members of our UU community, and I feel 100% drawn to learn how to live it for the highest benefit of us all. In addition to the action it can spur for us on the inside of our community, it also puts a flag up to let our broader community and beyond know that we are a welcoming place for people of color, for other identities and intersectionalities who feel marginalized in our society, and for all who are drawn to this justice work.
And perhaps we can act now, and align language later.
As a former English teacher with a lot of organizational development experience, I noticed how the language of this 8th principle is not aligned with our other seven principles; that there is overlap between this principle and some of the original seven; and that the 8th principle language is narrowing in on collective action and accountability unlike the others. I’ve been thinking that maybe this is not the most important concern for our energies, our discussion together, and our action together at this time. The world is rife with language and action being directly taken against people of color – explicitly and through unhidden laws, policies, and cultural ways of doing things that lead to voter suppression, violence and killing and that are actively and undeniably racist, harmful, and deadly. It seems clear that the need for action is urgent. By gathering our collective energies behind this principle, our community has an opportunity to bring our UU values to life more strongly. And many humans are looking for a place–-for community–-to anchor into this collective work for liberation. Adopting the 8th principle puts a stake in that ground, and offers a flag that we are working on this. And then it gives us the inspiration to take action and concentrate on doing that work, and to engage in beloved accountability with ourselves so we can be reminded to stimulate our own action to bring greater welcoming, loving equity into our congregation and beyond.