Will analyze structural racism and white supremacy within the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Members of the Commission on Institutional Change: the Rev. Natalie Maxwell Fenimore, Caitlin Breedlove, Mary Byron, the Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Elias Ortega-Aponte, and DeReau K. Farrar. (© UUA)
The Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association on Wednesday, June 21, appointed the members of the newly created Commission on Institutional Change, whose focus will be an examination of the impact of white supremacy on Unitarian Universalism.
The commission has been created in response to the hiring practices controvery at the UUA. Interim Co-President Sofía Betancourt was charged with developing the commission when she was appointed by the Board of Trustees April 10.
The board appointed six commissioners:
The board appointed the commission to work for two years, in collaboration with a professional organization capable of conducting an external audit of white privilege and the structure of power within Unitarian Universalism, in order to analyze structural racism and white supremacy within the UUA. Its scope will be broad and far-reaching, with the goal of long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism, according to the proposal upon which the board voted.
According to the proposal, the commission will establish a truth and reconciliation process “to create a climate of honesty, accountability, and disclosure essential to our learning and multicultural growth as an institution; examine and document critical events and practices at all levels of the association and its member congregations, which reveal areas for redress and truth-telling; set priorities for anti-oppressive practices (including hiring and personnel practices) and institutional change that will advance our progress towards building the Beloved Community; shape practices for recruitment and formation of religious leadership and the expectations placed on religious professionals of color in the transformation of our faith, and report back to the board and General Assembly its learning, recommendations, and guidance for ongoing work.”
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.
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