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Racial Justice and Multiculturalism

Racial justice rally at the Oregon State Capitol (in the rain)

I believe that anti-oppression work is for all of us to do, and there are many ways to contribute. The characteristics of white supremacy culture, like perfectionism and patriarchy, permeate our institutions, including our churches. It is our work to identify how these characteristics play out in our congregations and to envision and implement a more just future.

I live out my values by educating myself about oppression and injustice, attending workshops, reading, discussing. I engage with others in the work of dismantling white supremacy by participating in a racial justice action group in Salem and learning to be a white ally. For the past two years, I have been a member of Allies for Racial Equity, a group of white UU’s seeking to dismantle the culture of white supremacy.

The front of First Unitarian-Portland

I support the growth of others as part of my ministry by creating opportunities for others to learn and grow. A powerful example of this was partnering this Fall with the Director of Social Justice at First Unitarian-Portland to offer a basic training on white supremacy culture for the teachers of our children and youth. In addition to helping the teachers learn the mechanics of preparing lessons and managing a room of energetic young ones, we helped them understand how white supremacy culture shows up in our church and how we can commit to dismantle it. It was an important lesson for all of us about living our values.

If we have any hope of transforming the world and changing ourselves,
we must be
bold enough to step into our discomfort,
brave enough to be clumsy there,
loving enough to forgive ourselves and others.
May we, as a people of faith, be granted the strength to be
so bold,
so brave,
and so lovin
g.

Joseph M. Cherry


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