White AR Allies GA Report

Rev. Bill Gardiner, UUA Anti-Racism Consultant, shared this with me for public consumption.

At the General Assembly in Fort Worth 20 White Allies came together to reflect on work they
are doing and opportunities and challenges they find in doing work as white allies.

We identified several people who are doing white allies work in the UUA.

Bob talked about the work of the National Journey Toward Wholeness Committee.

Emily, Clare, and Kyla talked about caucusing for white people that is happening in the young adult community.

Patti and Mark mentioned the work on white identity that is going on in the anti-oppression committee at

Starr

King

School

for the Ministry. 

Thomas mentioned the white allies group that exists at the church in

San Diego

.

And I noted the white caucuses that exist in our transformation teams.

Other white allies talked about the work they are doing as allies in their communities and congregations.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR DOING WHITE ALLIES WORK:

We have an opportunity to show up as allies to support people of color in their struggles.

We have an opportunity to develop less hierarchical organizational models.

We have an opportunity to really probe into how we are socialized to be white in our culture of white supremacy.

We have an opportunity to develop new theological perspective informed by our anti-racism work.

We have an opportunity to model the joy we find in doing the work.

CHALLENGES IN DOING OUR WORK:

Our congregations are built on white European models.  This is reflected in our worship services, our music, our ways of making decisions, our norms for behavior, our methods of making presentations, our lack of programs for People of Color, and our lack of accountability structures to People of Color.

Many members of our congregations do not consider themselves to be racists.

There is resistance in the congregations to even talking about the issue of racism.  So we need methods for opening the conversation especially when there isn’t a crisis.

We talked about the importance of doing programs that are spiritually nurturing for white people. 

There was discussion about the issues of guilt and remorse that white people have. We recognized that getting stuck in our guilt as white people puts the focus on our emotional state rather than ending racism – which is the real source of our bad feelings any way.  But we need to create safe spaces to work through these feelings and see our pain as a road to growth.

We need to prepare people with a framework to be good allies when they work with People of Color in their communities.

We also noted Rev. Davidson Loehr’s concept of a liberal salvation story. The essence of this is we feel good when we speak on behalf of the victims in our society.

RESOURCES FOR MOVING FORWARD:

We recognized that we have a great deal of work to do to develop methods and resources for dealing with white identity and empowering white people to be good allies.

We identified these resources as being good starting points  at this time:  The book Soul Work.  The PBS film series, Race the Power of an Illusion.  The PBS film series on slavery. 

Ronnie Adams reported that she is developing workshop models she will share with other white allies.

Jubilee One and Jubilee Two are UUA resources that also help congregations get engaged.

Hopefully we will have more time to discuss these possibilities at the next General Assembly in

St Louis

,

MO.

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