Read this: Theology of liberation for white antiracists

Read this: Theology of liberation for white antiracists

A white Minnesota minister seeks to involve more Unitarian Universalists in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kenny Wiley


Chris Crass, a Unitarian Universalist, scholar, and activist pushing for “collective liberation” as part of the ongoing racial justice movement, interviews Ashley Horan for Truthout about her engagement in and commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

I find the interview to be brilliant and engaging. There are, I know, many UUs and others looking for ways to get more involved in the movement. Horan, a newly fellowshipped UU minister who serves as the executive director of MUUSJA, the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance, provides some fiery and faith-driven words for why the movement matters to her.

Crass asks Horan, “What challenges are you facing?” and Horan responds with a bit about the advantages and pitfalls of working with mostly middle-class white liberals.

Most people are theoretically sympathetic to the work of combatting white supremacy and creating a racially just and equitable world. So the resistance I see is more subtle . . .

In the first, liberal white people use bureaucracy to throw up red tape where it doesn’t need to exist. They ask whether there’s a policy in place to allow the institution to focus on racial justice, or raise concerns about safety and fiduciary responsibility, or suggest that there are more emergent and pressing responsibilities that we need to address before we move into racial justice work.

I found the second part of her answer especially illuminating, for I’ve seen this contradiction play out in fascinating and often challenging ways:

Liberals tend to be both somewhat anti-authoritarian and very deeply institutionalist, and this leads to pushing back against visionary leadership . . . and spending a lot of energy making sure the institutions and structures in which they live and move do not undergo true transformation.

Read the full interview: “ A Theology of Liberation to Inspire White Anti-Racist Organizing,” Truthout5.28.15.