Simon Knaphus

Racism and white supremacy continue to be a pervasive problem, in the world at large, and sadly but honestly in our faith communities. Our previous efforts have made change (change worth celebrating), but have not made enough change. Frankly, we need to light a fire under ourselves. One of the reasons it took me so long to decide whether or not to join Westside was because I was reluctant to commit to a community that might be able to nurture my white child and be his spiritual home more fully than it might be able to do those things for my Black child, or for any person of color.

The 8th Principle gives me a feeling of hope, energy, and commitment for the work of building a diverse multicultural Beloved Community. It also gives me the feeling that my UU community is on the right path and is aligned with the work my personal faith calls me to do.

I like that the Principle calls for action, accountability, and work within ourselves. It is a commitment to work, to grow, to be better for ourselves and each other, and to do it in community.

BLUU, DRUMM, and many BIPoC UU individuals who have experience and knowledge around creating racial justice are strongly in support of adoption of the Principle, and I am grateful to have their fabulous leadership to follow.

I am learning to embrace imperfection. As a lawyer and writer, the language strikes me from two angles – one is that I love it because it says exactly what it means and needs to say. The other is a reaction against it because it is a mouthful and doesn’t fit neatly with the structure of the other Principles. This is giving me an opportunity to say a hearty “Yes!” to something that the perfectionist in me would be inclined to nit-pick. I don’t take issue with the substance of the Principle. I love the substance. I trust that many wise people have wordsmithed and worked it round and round, and that this is what they have lovingly created. Instead of sacrificing content for form, they (may have) sacrificed form for content.

Our Principles are a living document, and when we are ready to take the training wheels off and have a neat and tidy principle around race, we have the power to change it. Until then, it will be big and weighty and complicated and beautiful right there at the base of our Principles, where they touch the Earth, and that’s just fine with me.

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