Too often, the idea that marginalized people cannot and should not expect to be fully and sincerely included in the fabric of our communities is reinforced by each of us.
Brittany Packnett delivers the Ware Lecture at the 2018 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. (© 2018 Nancy Pierce/UUA)
The following passage is an excerpt from the 2018 Ware Lecture, delivered by Brittany Packnett at the UUA General Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 23, 2018. Watch the complete lecture.
By what we say. By what we don’t say.
By where we show up. By where we don’t show up.
By who we defend. By who we punish.
By the side on which we stand.
By the excuses we make for ourselves and the excuses we won’t allow from others.
By the changes we make room for and by the evolutions we deem “too fast, too revolutionary, or too soon.”
We get those indications by the people we elevate and by the people we reject.
By the movements we call divisive.
By the pace we want to set for the freedom of others.
By the individual actions we take to either disrupt or uphold the systems that harm us.
All of those moments, all of those choices, and more tell marginalized people exactly what we think of their humanity, their dignity, and their daring. Each of those choices tells me exactly what you think of my expectations. Each one of those moments of action or inaction tells me precisely what you think of my right to have any expectations at all.
Excerpted from the 2018 GA Ware Lecture, presented June 23 in Kansas City, Missouri.
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Brittany Packnett, the 2018 Ware Lecturer, is Teach for America’s vice president of national community alliances, where she leads partnerships and civil rights work with communities of color. She is a co-founder of Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end police violence. Packnett is a contributor to Crooked Media’s “Pod Save the People,” a video columnist for Mic News, and a writer for many publications.
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