I was full of feelings—certainly gratitude— for all the good that was created. But also awe as we caught glimpses of people’s experience of learning and growth so deep it’s been transformational. I’ve been learning and growing with you this year. Though I first became aware of needing to dismantle my own racism years ago and have been at it since, honestly, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I did know that racism impacts all of us and that it especially impacts Black, Indigenous and people of color relentlessly, unfairly, and in sometimes overtly violent ways. And, once you know something is wrong and unfair, you have to do something different.
The first thing you can do is choose to be aware. If you’re a person who’s been oppressed you can believe in yourself and your ability to analyze a situation. You can gather other people who’ve had a similar experience. You can name your values, and together you can envision ways to do things differently. If you’re a person who’s had privileges, you can choose to put yourself in proximity to someone who hasn’t. You can choose to notice their humanity. You can choose to appreciate their capability. You can choose to ask them what they want for themselves, and if, and how you might help them achieve their goals.
Figuring out how to do this takes effort. Healthy humility helps. Humility is the ability to simply embrace yourself as you actually, truly are without illusion and that is spiritual work. It also helps to work within organizations that are led by people who have been most impacted, because people who are most affected have to know their own experience and how the situation they’re in works, in order to survive. This work is about allowing change to happen. First within our self, and then between our self and other people. It takes self-awareness. We have to learn new skills. We have to go beyond our comfort zone in order to create new relationships. It takes time. It takes patience. There are no quick fixes.
All of this is part of the spiritual work of creating heaven on earth. Like other religious liberals, UUs are not content to let things be the way they are now, and imagine that we’ll get a later reward in heaven. Whatever may or may not come next, we intend to live together in equitable, Beloved Community here in this world, now, today. If we practice building that community together on this earth, we will change. We will become more together than any of us can be on our own. Some of us need to believe in our power a bit more; others need to become aware of and let go of our privilege. If we each do our part, the community we build here and now can be full of people who have lively conversations, good arguments, creative planning, unleased enthusiasm, energy, joy and tremendous love!
May the people of ERUUF continue to create this beloved community together. May it be good for each and every person, and may all that we do bring us into more equitable and just relationship with the larger community.