The spiritual work of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other people marginalized by systems of white supremacy culture* (BIPOC+) has been a neglected conversation, as much anti-racism work has been focused on the learning needs of white folks. Recognizing the vast differences in our spiritual and learning needs, we are glad to offer both Fall and Spring Terms of the Within Phase of the program in completely separate courses for BIPOC+ and white folks.
*We recognize that the imperfect and complex ways we talk about our racial identities is one way that racism continues to cause spiritual harm. Our program hopes to be a mediating space of guidance, support, and reconciliation for those who experience the sting of racism in their everyday lives. Historically, the term People of Color refers to those who have experienced social and structural oppression based on racial and ethnic categorization: African Americans/Blacks, Caribbean people, Asian people, Pacific Islanders, Middle Easterners, Latin American/Latinx/Latine people, Indigenous peoples across the Americas, and mixed-race people.
For those of us who identify as BIPOC+, we recognize the need to understand the impact of racism in our lives—particularly our spiritual lives—and the choices we have made to survive.
In Gathering Our Selves, we will look at issues such as how and why Unitarian Universalist values matter to us, how race has shaped our personal and communal lives, the dynamics of why and how we stay in the faith, and what a theology for BIPOC+ in a white-dominated society might look like. This is VERY exciting work—conversations some of us on the design team have been waiting FOREVER to have!
Gathering Our Selves will run in two cohorts—one for those who are new to the program and one for people who have completed one Term of the program. The two cohorts will have opportunities to come together for worship and connection.
Wherever those of us who identify as white folks are on the journey toward collective liberation—whether you are just waking up to systemic racial injustice or your heart has been breaking for a long time—you are invited to join us for Un/Learning for Liberation. We will explore within ourselves as individual white people, within our family and community systems, and within the system of whiteness, which has impacted and limited our ability to truly be present with and connected to ourselves and our siblings of color. But we get to choose to be and do differently. Beginning within ourselves. This program is not a place to memorize definitions and rules to follow; instead, it is a space for justice-making and spiritual formation, and therefore a place where we honor complexity, nuance, and grace. We will bear witness to one another as we engage a process of introspection, honest reflection, and challenge what we always thought we knew or were too afraid or embarrassed to ask. We will learn together about how this system has impacted us and dis-connected us from ourselves and our BIPOC+ kin and how it was implanted in us without our consent. And we will unlearn some of our deeply ingrained habits of perception, thought, and behavior, while practicing spiritual skills for humility, resistance, and solidarity.
Un/Learning for Liberation will run in one cohort, regardless of folks’ previous participation in the program. Content will be different in Spring than in the Fall Term.