Now that everyone is settling back into the church year, its time for an update on California Equity Ministry. It was a full summer with over 5000 miles logged, 6 different gatherings in three different regions of the state, countless conversations with clergy and colleagues and an unmeasurable amount learned! A big thank you to the congregations who welcomed and participated in this exploratory phase of understanding how we can move forward with Equity Ministry:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Luis Obispo
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kern County
Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church
Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
San Diego Cluster Ministers
UUJMCA Walking the Walk
A special shout out to some leaders and friends in these communities as well: Gina Whittaker and Rev. Rod Richards (San Luis Obispo), Liora Malicdem (Kern County), Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern (Palo Alto) and Evan Junker and Beverly Schmidkunz Boido at UUJMCA as well as Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Annette and Ron Schmidt (Mount Diablo). A big thank you as well to Rev. Kathleen Owens and the entire community of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego and Unitarian Universalists of the South Bay for their generous support in making this work happen. It could not have been accomplished without you!
So what now? Report to the Field
Through the workshops and meetings and conversations and preaching, we have been able to gather some concrete information as well as some theological and spiritual impressions from a broad range of people. This process was useful not just for the tangible information collected but for being a living workshop to use different methods of engaging people to spur the conversation on race, class and culture. Each workshop or sermon presentation has incorporated learning from the previous one…where to streamline, how to flesh out more, etc. and the hope is that the report we are preparing will capture what was learned as well as recommendations for ways to move forward with this work.
Equity Summit 2015
On October 27 – 29 in Los Angeles California, PolicyLink will host the national Equity Summit. This is an exciting gathering of leaders, community partners and on the ground organizers who will gather to discuss a wide variety of topics related to equity. If you are interested in attending, registration is still open, but limited. Please check out the link below for details. Even if you aren’t able to attend, this is a great resource to see who some of the people are involved directly in moving policy and thinking around equity on a national level.
Black Lives Matter
This summer has seen a number of our congregations embrace the Black Lives Matter movement. But sadly, it has also seen backlash from communities and individuals who have other ideas. Secretly vandalized banners, social media hate speech…these are the methods of cowards. Unitarian Universalism has the opportunity to be bold, brave and strong in the face of blatant ignorance. Our Action of Immediate Witness endorsed this summer at GA does not give us a prescription for facing our adversaries, but our faith does. We encourage you all to dig deep, to look at our values and principles and hold your ground. A torn banner can be replaced, a young black life cannot. We will continue to stand on the side of love.
For now however, it is important to continue all of the work that everyone is doing around issues related to equity. Whether it is supporting Black Lives Matter, keeping issues related to immigration and deported veterans in the public eye or demanding that the next crop of presidential candidates explicitly address income inequality, we can continue the work toward an equitable society every day.
Please be sure to check out the webinar done by Sean Neil-Barron at Faithify that shares some of the journey that got us here!