UUA leaders have given the magazine and its other communications teams a mandate to prioritize and serve historically marginalized people working to undo the legacy of white supremacy culture in the UUA and beyond.
Are you detecting changes in the UUA’s communications, including UU World? In the Summer issue, I mentioned that the magazine was changing its editorial approach in response to the UUA’s commitment to center voices on the margins and focus on becoming a truly multicultural, antiracist faith movement.
The editors began moving in that direction in 2014, boosting the frequency and prominence of articles about racism in the United States. Since President Susan Frederick-Gray’s election in 2017, however, all UUA staff groups have been charged to examine how their work has privileged culturally dominant groups and perpetuated white supremacy culture. The administration has given the magazine and other UUA communications teams—especially the UUA website and its social media channels—a mandate to prioritize and serve historically marginalized people working to undo the legacy of white supremacy culture in the UUA and beyond.
The administration has identified four primary mission areas for the UUA’s work: equip congregations; train and support leaders; advance our values in the world; and change its own organizational culture. In each area, it has identified ways to prioritize support for historically marginalized members of our communities. The new “Conversations for Liberation” program, for example, is part of the UUA’s investment in an “aligned system of supports for congregations to dismantle white supremacy in their own contexts.”
I commend to you the new book Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin (see page 26). Through interviews, site visits, and personal stories, they offer candid and useful glimpses into the ways congregations have embraced culture change, and they show what a profound difference that work makes in people’s lives.
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.