1 00:00:00,890 --> 00:00:06,660 the Commission on institutional change 2 00:00:03,689 --> 00:00:09,690 is charged with long-term cultural and 3 00:00:06,660 --> 00:00:11,460 institutional change that redeems the 4 00:00:09,690 --> 00:00:15,150 essential promise and ideals of 5 00:00:11,460 --> 00:00:18,600 Unitarian Universalism appointed by the 6 00:00:15,150 --> 00:00:20,430 UUA Board of Trustees in 2017 the 7 00:00:18,600 --> 00:00:22,710 Commission will analyze structural 8 00:00:20,430 --> 00:00:23,279 racism and white supremacy within the 9 00:00:22,710 --> 00:00:27,359 UUA 10 00:00:23,279 --> 00:00:29,429 through General Assembly 2020 please 11 00:00:27,359 --> 00:00:32,399 join me in welcoming Leslie Takahashi 12 00:00:29,429 --> 00:00:34,759 their chair and the rest of her team to 13 00:00:32,399 --> 00:00:34,759 the stage 14 00:00:42,660 --> 00:00:48,610 good morning the Commission on 15 00:00:46,330 --> 00:00:53,530 institutional change was appointed by 16 00:00:48,610 --> 00:00:56,190 the UUA Board of Trustees to analyze the 17 00:00:53,530 --> 00:00:58,930 structures and processes which 18 00:00:56,190 --> 00:01:01,570 perpetuate oppression and white 19 00:00:58,930 --> 00:01:05,920 supremacy culture within our Unitarian 20 00:01:01,570 --> 00:01:08,530 Universalist Association we are working 21 00:01:05,920 --> 00:01:11,590 since August of 2017 to address our 22 00:01:08,530 --> 00:01:12,790 collective a collective starting 23 00:01:11,590 --> 00:01:14,770 assessments that the Unitarian 24 00:01:12,790 --> 00:01:18,040 Universalist associations legacy of 25 00:01:14,770 --> 00:01:20,710 racism must be addressed to end harm to 26 00:01:18,040 --> 00:01:23,680 individuals and to ensure that we must 27 00:01:20,710 --> 00:01:26,860 remain and viable as a faith we envision 28 00:01:23,680 --> 00:01:29,229 a liberating universalism and our 29 00:01:26,860 --> 00:01:31,420 designated are in our designing 30 00:01:29,229 --> 00:01:35,340 interventions that must move us 31 00:01:31,420 --> 00:01:35,340 dramatically closer to that spark we 32 00:01:36,450 --> 00:01:40,840 begin with the premise in all our work 33 00:01:39,040 --> 00:01:43,300 that the values of Unitarian 34 00:01:40,840 --> 00:01:45,789 Universalism cannot be realized in a 35 00:01:43,300 --> 00:01:48,910 system which is centered around one 36 00:01:45,789 --> 00:01:50,950 cultural expression in fact the 37 00:01:48,910 --> 00:01:53,679 centering of white culture and values 38 00:01:50,950 --> 00:01:57,220 has stymied the development of a full 39 00:01:53,679 --> 00:01:59,560 range of cultural expressions in the 40 00:01:57,220 --> 00:02:02,319 Unitarian Universalist tradition two 41 00:01:59,560 --> 00:02:05,050 pillar principles invite us to covenant 42 00:02:02,319 --> 00:02:07,929 to affirm and promote the inherent Worth 43 00:02:05,050 --> 00:02:09,970 and dignity of all people and to 44 00:02:07,929 --> 00:02:13,140 acknowledge the interdependent web of 45 00:02:09,970 --> 00:02:16,209 existence of which we are all apart 46 00:02:13,140 --> 00:02:18,520 systems policies and practices and 47 00:02:16,209 --> 00:02:22,240 expressions of unitarian universalism 48 00:02:18,520 --> 00:02:26,560 which bias one racial or cultural group 49 00:02:22,240 --> 00:02:30,099 above others make a mockery of these two 50 00:02:26,560 --> 00:02:32,670 four values and so we are called in to 51 00:02:30,099 --> 00:02:35,989 efforts to name and change 52 00:02:32,670 --> 00:02:40,680 as a witness to a fuller and more 53 00:02:35,989 --> 00:02:45,080 authentic expression of this our faith 54 00:02:40,680 --> 00:02:47,370 [Applause] 55 00:02:45,080 --> 00:02:50,400 which will continue through General 56 00:02:47,370 --> 00:02:52,140 Assembly 2020 we examined the events 57 00:02:50,400 --> 00:02:56,100 surrounding the Southern Regional lien 58 00:02:52,140 --> 00:02:58,769 hiring decision in spring of 2017 we 59 00:02:56,100 --> 00:03:01,350 found this to be but one eruption of the 60 00:02:58,769 --> 00:03:02,849 seismic tension two round rays which 61 00:03:01,350 --> 00:03:05,519 illustrate the depth of the 62 00:03:02,849 --> 00:03:07,380 disillusionment and tension faced by 63 00:03:05,519 --> 00:03:10,170 religious professionals of color in our 64 00:03:07,380 --> 00:03:13,819 faith a few highlights of that report 65 00:03:10,170 --> 00:03:13,819 which is available through our website 66 00:03:19,640 --> 00:03:25,730 when the southern regional lead hiring 67 00:03:22,040 --> 00:03:27,860 process took place racial tensions were 68 00:03:25,730 --> 00:03:30,500 already at a breaking point in the 69 00:03:27,860 --> 00:03:32,990 system especially for religious 70 00:03:30,500 --> 00:03:36,020 professionals of color who endured 71 00:03:32,990 --> 00:03:43,190 countless insults and aggressions as 72 00:03:36,020 --> 00:03:46,670 part of their world our governance 73 00:03:43,190 --> 00:03:49,280 structures are outdated and designed for 74 00:03:46,670 --> 00:03:51,740 a system which centers white culture and 75 00:03:49,280 --> 00:03:55,070 it's bifurcated in ways that do not 76 00:03:51,740 --> 00:03:57,470 allow for good governance widespread 77 00:03:55,070 --> 00:04:00,470 disregard of existing systems and 78 00:03:57,470 --> 00:04:03,130 policies shows a lack of trust in 79 00:04:00,470 --> 00:04:06,440 existing systems which have not been 80 00:04:03,130 --> 00:04:08,860 intentionally redesigned to reflect the 81 00:04:06,440 --> 00:04:13,720 complexities of an emerging 82 00:04:08,860 --> 00:04:13,720 multicultural Unitarian Universalism 83 00:04:18,000 --> 00:04:23,590 assumptions growing out of ignorance of 84 00:04:20,590 --> 00:04:26,710 racial bias and a white supremacy 85 00:04:23,590 --> 00:04:29,469 culture led to conclusions that harmed 86 00:04:26,710 --> 00:04:32,590 people of color those who work every day 87 00:04:29,469 --> 00:04:35,199 within it and those who attempt to find 88 00:04:32,590 --> 00:04:38,680 a spiritual home with the Unitarian 89 00:04:35,199 --> 00:04:41,020 Universalism the skills and perspectives 90 00:04:38,680 --> 00:04:43,569 of religious professionals of color are 91 00:04:41,020 --> 00:04:46,330 not valued within the culture of our 92 00:04:43,569 --> 00:04:54,669 institutions especially our 93 00:04:46,330 --> 00:04:57,509 congregations a fear of open conflicts 94 00:04:54,669 --> 00:04:59,699 and the assumption of good intentions 95 00:04:57,509 --> 00:05:03,039 increase the damage done by 96 00:04:59,699 --> 00:05:07,680 institutional racism and other forms of 97 00:05:03,039 --> 00:05:07,680 oppression within our Association 98 00:05:15,070 --> 00:05:23,010 truth must come before reconciliation 99 00:05:18,970 --> 00:05:27,460 and transformation and truth-telling in 100 00:05:23,010 --> 00:05:29,830 2017 and 2018 is still dangerous for 101 00:05:27,460 --> 00:05:32,560 religious professionals of color who are 102 00:05:29,830 --> 00:05:35,230 often the advance team doing the work 103 00:05:32,560 --> 00:05:38,800 that prepares the way for members to 104 00:05:35,230 --> 00:05:41,260 join as people of color we began the 105 00:05:38,800 --> 00:05:44,410 planning for a racism assessment across 106 00:05:41,260 --> 00:05:47,470 Unitarian Universalism we are looking at 107 00:05:44,410 --> 00:05:50,950 what it will take to build a Unitarian 108 00:05:47,470 --> 00:05:54,640 Universalism centered around a diversity 109 00:05:50,950 --> 00:05:58,390 of experience and capable of inclusion 110 00:05:54,640 --> 00:06:00,640 equity and true multiculturalism we are 111 00:05:58,390 --> 00:06:03,220 examining data and collecting stories of 112 00:06:00,640 --> 00:06:05,410 how racism and oppression have affected 113 00:06:03,220 --> 00:06:07,690 those within our faith and have several 114 00:06:05,410 --> 00:06:09,820 opportunities for dialogue about this at 115 00:06:07,690 --> 00:06:15,310 this General Assembly in which we hope 116 00:06:09,820 --> 00:06:17,020 you will join us yes truth-telling 117 00:06:15,310 --> 00:06:18,760 is still a risk in fact it's still 118 00:06:17,020 --> 00:06:20,800 dangerous for people of color within our 119 00:06:18,760 --> 00:06:22,870 faith religious professionals are still 120 00:06:20,800 --> 00:06:25,930 demeaned and treated as if they were 121 00:06:22,870 --> 00:06:27,790 without competency people of color 122 00:06:25,930 --> 00:06:30,490 within our membership or those who are 123 00:06:27,790 --> 00:06:33,640 friends risk loss of community among us 124 00:06:30,490 --> 00:06:39,810 if they speak about the aggressions they 125 00:06:33,640 --> 00:06:39,810 face and so many choose to quietly exit 126 00:06:42,409 --> 00:06:47,430 the board charged the Commission with 127 00:06:45,240 --> 00:06:49,979 examining the relevance of truth and 128 00:06:47,430 --> 00:06:52,400 reconciliation processes to the key 129 00:06:49,979 --> 00:06:54,900 events in the association's recent past 130 00:06:52,400 --> 00:06:57,120 while we spent some time researching 131 00:06:54,900 --> 00:06:58,710 these processes as they have been used 132 00:06:57,120 --> 00:07:01,289 in a number of nations and 133 00:06:58,710 --> 00:07:04,110 municipalities to resolve issues related 134 00:07:01,289 --> 00:07:06,089 to the damages from racial conflict we 135 00:07:04,110 --> 00:07:08,509 find that the circumstances of the UUA 136 00:07:06,089 --> 00:07:12,509 may require a different kind of response 137 00:07:08,509 --> 00:07:14,490 some observations from our report one 138 00:07:12,509 --> 00:07:17,159 while the Commission was charged 139 00:07:14,490 --> 00:07:19,110 included establish a Truth and 140 00:07:17,159 --> 00:07:21,719 Reconciliation process to create a 141 00:07:19,110 --> 00:07:24,539 climate of honesty accountability and 142 00:07:21,719 --> 00:07:26,520 disclosure essential to our learning and 143 00:07:24,539 --> 00:07:29,279 multicultural growth as an institution 144 00:07:26,520 --> 00:07:31,080 most religious professionals of color do 145 00:07:29,279 --> 00:07:33,210 not feel safe to tell their truth 146 00:07:31,080 --> 00:07:35,819 because of what they have experienced 147 00:07:33,210 --> 00:07:37,979 from congregational leaders colleagues 148 00:07:35,819 --> 00:07:41,629 and many of the system's set up to 149 00:07:37,979 --> 00:07:44,460 support them - the lack of true 150 00:07:41,629 --> 00:07:46,409 anti-oppressive anti racism orientation 151 00:07:44,460 --> 00:07:48,360 on the part of regional staff and good 152 00:07:46,409 --> 00:07:49,860 officers through the minister's 153 00:07:48,360 --> 00:07:51,749 association has been particularly 154 00:07:49,860 --> 00:07:54,539 damaging with the dis professionals of 155 00:07:51,749 --> 00:07:56,399 color which is in part why the events 156 00:07:54,539 --> 00:07:59,909 around this hiring decision became such 157 00:07:56,399 --> 00:08:02,099 a lightning rod for criticism as part of 158 00:07:59,909 --> 00:08:03,839 the conversations we have elicited it 159 00:08:02,099 --> 00:08:05,610 has become clear the associations 160 00:08:03,839 --> 00:08:08,039 credentialing system for religious 161 00:08:05,610 --> 00:08:10,139 professionals and its systems for 162 00:08:08,039 --> 00:08:13,020 developing late leaders do not take into 163 00:08:10,139 --> 00:08:18,059 account the dynamics of oppression and 164 00:08:13,020 --> 00:08:20,459 its systemic effects also no process 165 00:08:18,059 --> 00:08:23,339 exists for redress when damaged due to 166 00:08:20,459 --> 00:08:25,349 institutional racism is done whether 167 00:08:23,339 --> 00:08:28,469 that damage is done to people of color 168 00:08:25,349 --> 00:08:29,320 or white participants trial in the court 169 00:08:28,469 --> 00:08:31,720 of social media 170 00:08:29,320 --> 00:08:33,990 is not a healthy alternative to a real 171 00:08:31,720 --> 00:08:33,990 process 172 00:08:39,260 --> 00:08:43,580 and no consistent resources are 173 00:08:41,840 --> 00:08:46,280 available for religious professionals of 174 00:08:43,580 --> 00:08:48,230 color or others who experience traumatic 175 00:08:46,280 --> 00:08:50,450 stress as a result of the lack of 176 00:08:48,230 --> 00:08:52,760 clarity of mission around racial 177 00:08:50,450 --> 00:08:58,820 inclusion and the gap between our 178 00:08:52,760 --> 00:09:00,830 aspirations and our actuality no data is 179 00:08:58,820 --> 00:09:02,180 available on the number of religious 180 00:09:00,830 --> 00:09:04,610 professionals employed at the 181 00:09:02,180 --> 00:09:07,130 congregational level or the types of 182 00:09:04,610 --> 00:09:09,430 positions other than in the ministry and 183 00:09:07,130 --> 00:09:12,170 these statistics are not easily obtained 184 00:09:09,430 --> 00:09:14,840 that an association which claims to wish 185 00:09:12,170 --> 00:09:17,030 to be more diverse does not track data 186 00:09:14,840 --> 00:09:21,100 which most corporations now track is 187 00:09:17,030 --> 00:09:23,450 puzzling and since we began our work 188 00:09:21,100 --> 00:09:26,150 more religious professionals have lost 189 00:09:23,450 --> 00:09:28,130 their positions our are in conflict with 190 00:09:26,150 --> 00:09:31,420 congregations and the existing systems 191 00:09:28,130 --> 00:09:34,700 remain inept and inadequate at offering 192 00:09:31,420 --> 00:09:36,260 help the loss of any religious 193 00:09:34,700 --> 00:09:41,690 professionals of color among us is 194 00:09:36,260 --> 00:09:44,750 costly the time for reconciliation may 195 00:09:41,690 --> 00:09:47,150 be passed what may be needed is what 196 00:09:44,750 --> 00:09:50,240 author melvin gray calls a truth and 197 00:09:47,150 --> 00:09:52,640 transformation process which looks at 198 00:09:50,240 --> 00:09:55,930 not reconciling us to an equity under an 199 00:09:52,640 --> 00:09:58,540 outmoded system but reimagining anew 200 00:09:55,930 --> 00:10:06,310 system of equity inclusion and 201 00:09:58,540 --> 00:10:09,130 innovation we begin with truth-telling 202 00:10:06,310 --> 00:10:11,680 if you have an observation that we need 203 00:10:09,130 --> 00:10:14,080 to hear please visit the drum booth in 204 00:10:11,680 --> 00:10:16,060 the exhibit hall where information about 205 00:10:14,080 --> 00:10:18,399 us our work and how to share your 206 00:10:16,060 --> 00:10:21,120 stories or perspectives with us is 207 00:10:18,399 --> 00:10:29,899 available thank you 208 00:10:21,120 --> 00:10:29,899 [Applause]