I am part of a happy little liberal faith. We sing. We donate to good causes. We fight injustice. Simple, right?
We have recently gone thru a crisis. And I really mean it. A full-on crisis. My friend saw injustice and in looking closer, she smelled a rat and then she brought that rat out for all of us to look at.
We are Unitarian Universalists. Church of the open mind The loving heart and the helping hands. Inclusion. Radical acceptance. Proactive structures that prevent biased hiring.
Not the church of the all white staff. Who is again, with a new hire, now debuting an all white staff.
What is true is not that we are open and proactive and moving forward. What is true is that we are apparently looking for the right “fit” when we hire. We do not live this thing that we talk about and wear t-shirts about and hang signs on our church proclaiming. Not enough, not always, not in the way we white folks think we are…..
And I will admit. What made me scrub my kitchen floor with a little blood and a lot of tears and probably too much bleach was the statement from the president of the UUA that religious educators don’t have enough management experience to be hired as staff leaders.
I know that’s wrong. I know my people, the ones who can pull off miracles of staffing/programs and finance sometimes from thin air are the ones who make this faith tick. I know it. I DID it.
I see it every day when I go to work. I serve these people in one of the most humble repeated daily rituals of my life. It’s my job. They cry with families, cook food for a whole homeless teen feed on their own, they whip up worship and fire crappy staffers and make ministry of even a middle school class. EVEN A MIDDLE SCHOOL CLASS, do you know how hard that can be? If, perhaps, some staff groups in existence now had this kind of resourcefulness in house, we would be a better faith for it. We would have grown more. We would not have so many meetings or so much travel, but instead, would be DOING things that matter.
And. And and and. That is not the crux of this. The issue at the center of our crisis is that this stoic old faith is still, clearly, holding strong to the belief that white is normal. White is the starting point. White is the core of who we are.
This faith is holding on to white supremacy. Our faith is holding onto patriarchy. We are not who we can be. We default to centering whiteness. Yes. Me, too. Yes, likely, you too. And no we are not talking about the Aryan nation, or the KKK. Centering whiteness, believing that white is the baseline that white is normal is also holding this.
And so, I, as a white person and a Unitarian Universalist insist that hiring practices in the UUA must change. That congregations must change, that we white folks must change. Let us commit to hiring more people of color. Let us examine the way we hire leaders, and let us examine our definition of “management experience” to conform with the best practices in our living congregations.
Let us see a 25% increase in people of color in leadership at the UUA and across our movement by 2019 and let us see non-ordained religious professionals as an increased cohort of respected colleagues on regional staff teams.
Together we white people can examine our inherent biases. Together we can make amends to our siblings in the movement. Together we can build a new path toward justice and love. Together we can find a way.
And who is in the lead, knocking down barriers and old ways of doing things? Who are our leaders?
Religious Educators. Let us not lose sight of who is making things happen in this good faith. It is our fierce and fearless religious educators leading the way.
#BuildingNewWay #25percentIncreaseBy2019 #UUA