1 00:00:00,030 --> 00:00:05,000 please welcome I'm not gonna say everybody's last name Mary 2 00:00:05,000 --> 00:00:13,320 Natalie Jerome Elliott Carey Taquiena Jessica Melissa 3 00:00:13,320 --> 00:00:22,980 Jessie and Leslie. to share with us reflections on what is happening with 4 00:00:22,980 --> 00:00:32,040 the religious professionals of color have been our faith is setting aside 5 00:00:32,040 --> 00:00:36,480 time and space to bring forward the longtime concerns of Unitarian 6 00:00:36,480 --> 00:00:44,059 Universalist religious professionals of color black brown Asian Pacific Islander 7 00:00:44,059 --> 00:00:51,510 diaspora and indigenous peoples have stories of joy and pain to tell which 8 00:00:51,510 --> 00:01:01,309 inform and expand our faiths which expand our possibilities let us listen 9 00:01:01,309 --> 00:01:06,810 I'm going to speak for myself and know that my colleagues of color will mostly 10 00:01:06,810 --> 00:01:11,520 relate in the congregation that I serve in I serve as director of music and 11 00:01:11,520 --> 00:01:15,630 while the jobs and responsibilities for a director of music are broad and my job 12 00:01:15,630 --> 00:01:23,070 does not include does not include managing congregants white fragility my 13 00:01:23,070 --> 00:01:26,850 job does not include dealing with aggressions and microaggressions 14 00:01:26,850 --> 00:01:31,500 my job does not include being patient and waiting for others it's a way to 15 00:01:31,500 --> 00:01:37,409 learn how to and educate themselves on how to not be racist the fact that I am 16 00:01:37,409 --> 00:01:41,030 expected to do these things even though it is not in my job is 17 00:01:41,030 --> 00:01:46,950 damaging to my spirit it's damaging to my capacity for relationships it's 18 00:01:46,950 --> 00:01:56,520 damaging to my body and still I'd like you to consider that I and that my 19 00:01:56,520 --> 00:02:01,320 colleagues of color all do this work and we sustain this even though it is not in 20 00:02:01,320 --> 00:02:06,170 our jobs without even consideration for hazard pay 21 00:02:08,140 --> 00:02:16,030 this word one of the salient points has been that our collective stories and 22 00:02:16,030 --> 00:02:22,820 values and things that we say to uphold does not mean the Korean reality that 23 00:02:22,820 --> 00:02:27,290 often time we face in our congregations there seems to be a misalignment between 24 00:02:27,290 --> 00:02:37,100 our values and our aspirations and our actual concrete practices if there was 25 00:02:37,100 --> 00:02:41,720 one thing you could change to create the conditions where religious and lay 26 00:02:41,720 --> 00:02:46,360 people of color could flourish what would that be 27 00:02:47,800 --> 00:02:53,860 thanks for that question Mary and I'm Carrie McDonald I work for the UUA 28 00:02:53,860 --> 00:03:00,500 and you know it's it's hard to get to one it's hard to get to one but perhaps 29 00:03:00,500 --> 00:03:04,850 through our shared contributions on this stage you may take away a couple of 30 00:03:04,850 --> 00:03:08,570 things the thing that came to mind for me and answering this question to pick 31 00:03:08,570 --> 00:03:13,130 up on some of the threads of what Douro said is that being an ally a 32 00:03:13,130 --> 00:03:19,040 co-conspirator an accomplice whatever you want to call it is a skill it 33 00:03:19,040 --> 00:03:26,660 requires practice and education and it's not just about commitment and so when I 34 00:03:26,660 --> 00:03:31,310 think about the ways in which we've called us to follow the beautiful and 35 00:03:31,310 --> 00:03:35,690 powerful leadership of folks of color in our association when we talk about that 36 00:03:35,690 --> 00:03:41,510 that doesn't just mean sitting aside and waiting for orders sometimes it means 37 00:03:41,510 --> 00:03:46,340 speaking up sometimes it means being quiet and figuring out and listening and 38 00:03:46,340 --> 00:03:51,050 figuring that out is a big part of the work of being supportive and when we 39 00:03:51,050 --> 00:03:56,510 talk about the burden falling unequally the burden of navigating that is part of 40 00:03:56,510 --> 00:04:01,430 what is falling on so we have a lot of transformative conversations we're 41 00:04:01,430 --> 00:04:05,510 trying to have in our association in our congregations in the coming year and I 42 00:04:05,510 --> 00:04:10,910 as a leader need skilled not just committed but skilled and practicing 43 00:04:10,910 --> 00:04:14,380 partners in the work 44 00:04:17,180 --> 00:04:22,410 Sakina Boston and I'm going to speak in my capacity a special advisor to the 45 00:04:22,410 --> 00:04:28,470 President on institutional inclusion equity and change as I thought about 46 00:04:28,470 --> 00:04:33,090 this question what came to mind for me was a time when my congregation was 47 00:04:33,090 --> 00:04:40,320 going through a conflict and my mom said well it is their church and I thought 48 00:04:40,320 --> 00:04:44,250 about all the time and talent and treasure we had given to the 49 00:04:44,250 --> 00:04:51,180 congregation and not to feel that we were owners of that community just 50 00:04:51,180 --> 00:05:00,570 really struck me as weird and so what I'd like to see change is regarding 51 00:05:00,570 --> 00:05:06,780 people of color as owners and not tenants or renters in unitarian 52 00:05:06,780 --> 00:05:19,650 universalism and what that looks like is putting racial equity at the core before 53 00:05:19,650 --> 00:05:29,419 we hire before we do outreach before we have people coming to us and after 54 00:05:29,419 --> 00:05:36,180 because the work is continuous in like any relationship it's never over right 55 00:05:36,180 --> 00:05:42,900 relationship is a continuing spiritual practice and so as I think about the one 56 00:05:42,900 --> 00:05:47,040 thing I would change it would be that that sense that when people of color 57 00:05:47,040 --> 00:05:54,030 come in we don't know we aren't as competent we didn't grow up as Unitarian 58 00:05:54,030 --> 00:05:59,390 Universalists we don't understand the faith and therefore we don't have full 59 00:05:59,390 --> 00:06:06,120 benefits of being part of it and I'd like to see us being valued for what we 60 00:06:06,120 --> 00:06:14,210 bring versus having our gifts extracted for the benefit of everyone except us 61 00:06:18,160 --> 00:06:23,690 I'm Jessica York your co-director of ministries and faith development and 62 00:06:23,690 --> 00:06:29,570 faith development director at the UUA and like Carrie it was difficult for me 63 00:06:29,570 --> 00:06:34,180 to pick one thing to talk about but I was thinking about my own personal 64 00:06:34,180 --> 00:06:39,139 experience and relating that to experiences of other religious 65 00:06:39,139 --> 00:06:44,930 professionals of color and it seems to me that quite often it's is either feast 66 00:06:44,930 --> 00:06:50,990 or famine that so many of our religious professionals of color are having a hard 67 00:06:50,990 --> 00:06:58,479 time finding places where they can truly live out their ministry and then others 68 00:06:58,479 --> 00:07:07,610 sort of a select few are put up on a pedestal and are kind of the famous go 69 00:07:07,610 --> 00:07:12,979 to religious professional of color the ones who are always asked to speak the 70 00:07:12,979 --> 00:07:18,220 ones that you always see presenting and 71 00:07:18,250 --> 00:07:23,690 because of the career trajectory I've had you know I find myself sometimes in 72 00:07:23,690 --> 00:07:30,680 that position and that position can look really nice sometimes from the outside 73 00:07:30,680 --> 00:07:36,289 and yet the reality of that too is is that when we put people on such a high 74 00:07:36,289 --> 00:07:40,580 pedestal we also are creating the possibility of 75 00:07:40,580 --> 00:07:48,020 a great fall so we're holding people sometimes to such high ideals that 76 00:07:48,020 --> 00:07:52,789 there's no way they could possibly live up to them being flawed human beings 77 00:07:52,789 --> 00:07:59,690 that we all are and none of us are perfect but when you're put on that 78 00:07:59,690 --> 00:08:05,389 higher petal stone and you make that inevitable mistake that's a real long 79 00:08:05,389 --> 00:08:13,070 fall down and it's hard to come back from that so what I'm sometimes seeing 80 00:08:13,070 --> 00:08:19,250 is that religious professionals of color are not given the second chance not when 81 00:08:19,250 --> 00:08:24,020 they've had that mahdia fall so I would hope that people will start to ask 82 00:08:24,020 --> 00:08:29,990 themselves who are given the second chances in our faith 83 00:08:29,990 --> 00:08:36,839 third and fourth right though we've broken our vowels of thousand times we 84 00:08:36,839 --> 00:08:42,719 say and who did that apply to and who doesn't it apply to and to remember that 85 00:08:42,719 --> 00:08:49,020 we are not just employers and our congregations that we are houses of 86 00:08:49,020 --> 00:08:54,029 faith and our congregations and covenant communities and uu institutions we need 87 00:08:54,029 --> 00:09:00,870 to act as people of faith we need to act with mercy and grace and practice 88 00:09:00,870 --> 00:09:06,680 forgiveness and that love that we want to see returned to us 89 00:09:12,940 --> 00:09:18,200 my name is Melissa Carville Zemer I'm currently the acting executive director 90 00:09:18,200 --> 00:09:22,940 of the Unitarian Universalist ministers Association and next year I'll be one of 91 00:09:22,940 --> 00:09:31,070 the co executives the you um a is deeply concerned about the work of dismantling 92 00:09:31,070 --> 00:09:35,540 white supremacy and the impact that white supremacy culture has on ministers 93 00:09:35,540 --> 00:09:40,370 and religious professionals of color and we've already begun to do some things in 94 00:09:40,370 --> 00:09:44,270 terms of the work with our leadership but the one thing I want to lift up 95 00:09:44,270 --> 00:09:49,010 follows on what Carey said we have not achieved this yet but we are working in 96 00:09:49,010 --> 00:09:53,480 partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association to establish 97 00:09:53,480 --> 00:09:58,190 expectations for a lifelong commitment to continuing education for ministers 98 00:09:58,190 --> 00:10:04,100 after we have achieved final fellowship and one of the particular areas of 99 00:10:04,100 --> 00:10:09,230 concern for us is that we provide opportunities and expect ministers to 100 00:10:09,230 --> 00:10:14,110 continue to develop our skills in anti-racist anti-oppressive 101 00:10:14,110 --> 00:10:19,340 multicultural practice because this is not something that we we we believe that 102 00:10:19,340 --> 00:10:23,330 this is not something that we can learn in seminary and be set for the duration 103 00:10:23,330 --> 00:10:28,250 of our careers this is something we have to keep learning keep practicing keep 104 00:10:28,250 --> 00:10:32,630 paying attention to the way that we are changing the world is changing unitarian 105 00:10:32,630 --> 00:10:36,350 universalism is changing and so this was the one of the things that we're working 106 00:10:36,350 --> 00:10:40,700 toward now that we're looking that we believe could have a significant impact 107 00:10:40,700 --> 00:10:45,260 not only on religious professionals but also on Unitarian Universalism as a 108 00:10:45,260 --> 00:10:47,560 whole 109 00:10:50,180 --> 00:10:55,850 my name is my name is Jesse King and I am the service the chair for the 110 00:10:55,850 --> 00:11:02,720 ministerial fellowship committee I have been learning a lot in this role I am a 111 00:11:02,720 --> 00:11:07,040 student of the people who are being leaders within our congregate our 112 00:11:07,040 --> 00:11:11,450 denomination and one of the messages that I keep getting back from ministers 113 00:11:11,450 --> 00:11:15,140 both the new ministers that are going out into the world and the ministers 114 00:11:15,140 --> 00:11:20,240 that have been established ministers of color who say the expectation seems to 115 00:11:20,240 --> 00:11:24,350 be on us that were the ones that have to help our congregations move forward and 116 00:11:24,350 --> 00:11:31,250 as I my colleagues have stated before that is our job as congregants to do the 117 00:11:31,250 --> 00:11:36,560 work and not expect our ministers just to carry the burden and particularly not 118 00:11:36,560 --> 00:11:41,810 expect the ministers of color to carry the burden or to push back on them when 119 00:11:41,810 --> 00:11:49,790 they raise the issues um with the other thing that I think we need to do is as a 120 00:11:49,790 --> 00:11:53,330 system I think our faith is strong or I was 121 00:11:53,330 --> 00:11:58,670 reminded of how our faith fits well over the last few days for the work that 122 00:11:58,670 --> 00:12:02,450 we're doing but it's our systems and structures that need to change and 123 00:12:02,450 --> 00:12:07,520 evolve and it's become eminently clear to me that the system of how we bring 124 00:12:07,520 --> 00:12:14,450 leaders lay and professional leaders into our world needs to adjust and grow 125 00:12:14,450 --> 00:12:19,760 and if it is not welcoming it if is not becoming an if it doesn't change in a 126 00:12:19,760 --> 00:12:25,000 way that said that allows people to come in and have authority and that we can 127 00:12:25,000 --> 00:12:30,230 see the spark of the divine as natalie has taught me within everybody who walks 128 00:12:30,230 --> 00:12:38,540 in in those roles then we are failing so I ask us just to assist in our change 129 00:12:38,540 --> 00:12:43,040 in evolution and when something feels really uncomfortable and it's gonna feel 130 00:12:43,040 --> 00:12:48,100 uncomfortable when we start changing how we move toward credentialing and 131 00:12:48,100 --> 00:12:54,290 evolving our ministry and our leadership practices realize that is part of our 132 00:12:54,290 --> 00:13:04,439 future we have to grow thank you I'm Leslie talk to Hoshi and 133 00:13:04,439 --> 00:13:07,379 I'm with the Commission on institutional change and I want to ask my fellow 134 00:13:07,379 --> 00:13:10,319 commissioners just to raise their hand on the stage one more time because some 135 00:13:10,319 --> 00:13:15,089 of you may not have seen them when they were introduced so we are looking at 136 00:13:15,089 --> 00:13:18,720 systemic and cultural change and one of the things we're looking at is where are 137 00:13:18,720 --> 00:13:22,079 those levers where we can make a difference people have stopped me 138 00:13:22,079 --> 00:13:26,339 throughout this GA to say why are we focusing so much on religious 139 00:13:26,339 --> 00:13:31,290 professionals of color and it's because our religious professionals of color lay 140 00:13:31,290 --> 00:13:37,800 the groundwork for us to have communities and cultures in which people 141 00:13:37,800 --> 00:13:43,050 of color and other marginalized people can actually thrive and flourish that is 142 00:13:43,050 --> 00:13:48,540 very important we are working with a premise that if we can be good 143 00:13:48,540 --> 00:13:53,429 communities for those whose identities are most marginalized within our greater 144 00:13:53,429 --> 00:13:58,889 society then we will be better communities for all and it is very 145 00:13:58,889 --> 00:14:03,870 important for us to say that we have asked for you to join your voices with 146 00:14:03,870 --> 00:14:08,519 ours to let us know what your concerns are and to let us hear from you it is 147 00:14:08,519 --> 00:14:14,160 very concerning that for the last three days what we have heard most from people 148 00:14:14,160 --> 00:14:20,879 is in 2018 those marginalized among us do not feel as if their voices can be 149 00:14:20,879 --> 00:14:28,129 heard we are here to say to you that they can and in honor of my biracial 150 00:14:28,129 --> 00:14:33,179 tradition and from the Japanese I have composed a tonka to conclude this 151 00:14:33,179 --> 00:14:40,259 session to make our bold faith the meeting ground of beloved lives held 152 00:14:40,259 --> 00:14:47,670 with exuberance a ground for transformation take voice tell deep 153 00:14:47,670 --> 00:15:01,049 truth center all thank you