Grappling with White Supremacy in our Organizations

Dear Members and Friends of CUUPS,

headshot, wearing blue coat and fuzzy light blue scarf, taken outside in Red Rock Canyon

Reverend Amy Beltaine

I write to you with my heart heavy. I am weighed down by the mounting intolerance and increasing violence in our world, this country and in my city. I write as a citizen of Portland Oregon. I witness in horror that a White Supremacist recently knifed three men, killing two, when they attempted to protect two young women from his racist and Islamophobic vitriol. I write as a Unitarian Universalist minister who has recently recommitted to the challenging work of identifying the systems of White Supremacy that are woven into the fabric of our beloved movement. I write as a Euro-American member of the earth-relating/deities-relating community. I am uneasy about our history of White Supremacy, most visibly among the Odinists but woven throughout many of our traditions.

I am aware that the terrorism of the so-called “alt right” has been tolerated for years. This terrorism has roots through the Klan and racism deep in our American history. I’m aware of the ways White Supremacy has been installed into my head. It reminds me that I must respond with humility and respectful listening when I’m called in. I’m aware that I need to constantly learn and grow. I’m aware also of hope. I look to the coalition-building, developing awareness, compassion, commitment, and strength growing among those who would choose justice and love over hate and intolerance.

As the president of CUUPS I am asking the 2017-2018 board of CUUPS to take up the work of identifying and dismantling White Supremacy personally, as a board and in the resources we provide to our chapters. Inspired by the commitments and changes other UU organizations are undertaking, including two I’m a member of: the UU Society for Community Ministers and the members of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the UU Ministers Association, I expect we will also be exploring ways we can act in alliance and collaboration with others.

As a member of CUUPS I invite members and chapters to also be leaders in this work. Especially as our congregations participate in programs like the “Teach-In on White Supremacy” in the UU movement we can be supportive and participate in the learning and growth of all our communities.

With your congregations and the broader earth-relating/deities-relating communities, we can ensure that individuals, like the one on the Portland Oregon commuter train, are not raised to spew hate, and are not allowed to further terror. We can create resilient, aware, communities that nurture justice. We can help build respect for those who are marginalized and oppressed, especially People of Color and Indigenous People. We can help transform our world.

In faith,

Amy

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