Anti-Racism Leadership Team (ARLT)
The Board of Trustees appoints new members to the team, with a goal of 7-9 members.
The current members of the Anti-Racism Leadership Team are Brooke Darst Rice, Peter Heege, Amy Kujawski, Gabrielle Mead, Russ Peterson, Vicki Stewart, and Mary-Margaret Zindren.
The congregation of Unity Church-Unitarian commissioned the Anti-Racism Leadership Team in January 2003. Initially, the team participated in several training sessions to learn about the power of systems and institutions with regard to race, as well as how to function as a leadership team. The team developed vision and mission statements to guide them in their work and, in spring 2005, they completed an audit of Unity Church and its history on issues of race.
Unity Church - Unitarian is an anti-racist community that is actively engaged in dismantling racism both internally and in the wider community in a manner that is accountable to communities of color.
The mission of the Unity Church Anti-Racism Leadership Team is to lead the church in developing and living out an intentionally anti-racist identity in all aspects of church life. The team will seek opportunities to:
The purpose of the institutional audit is to research an institution’s identity in relationship to racism. The Anti-Racism Team examined Unity Church from the time of its earliest formation to the current day in order to provide a thorough, thoughtful analysis of the church’s institutional response to race. The audit will be a guide as the church moves forward in the process of becoming an intentionally anti-racist institution.
The audit is also an invitation to the congregation to participate in work that is extremely vital for the health and future of Unity Church and Unitarian-Universalists everywhere. We believe that we can create a church that is not only anti-racist in word, but has genuine acceptance, respect, and love for all people as a recognizable part of its identity. As expressed in the conclusion of audit report:
… we must have the will and determination to undertake what may at times be very painful work. We want to create a religious institution that is known throughout the neighborhood, the city, and beyond, as a place of loving, welcoming, joyous Unitarian Universalists who are not afraid to live out their values. Can we imagine a day when Unity’s bell peals and the whole neighborhood takes comfort, knowing what that ringing symbolizes?
May it be so.
Resources and Documents
Policy J Monitoring Report, September 2015 (pdf)
2014-2015 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2013-2014 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2012-2013 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2011-2012 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2010-2011 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2009-2010 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2008-2009 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2007-2008 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2007 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Annual Report (pdf)
2005 Unity Church Anti-Racism Audit (pdf)
Policy J (pdf)
Policy J Vendor Audit (pdf)
New Jim Crow Action Ideas (pdf)
ARLT Position Description and Application (pdf)
ARLT History at Unity Church
In 1998, in preparation for our search for new ministers, Unity Church did extensive surveying of the congregation, which showed that congregants felt a spiritual need to connect in meaningful ways with the world outside of Unity’s walls.
In 2001, a large group attended General Assembly and learned of many ways in which active engagement in the world was being encouraged by the UUA. That summer, a group of members went on a pilgrimage for the first time to our partner village in Transylvania. Participants were profoundly moved by the experience of having their hearts opened toward people whom they had just met.
A church service in early 2002 focused on the history of the Rondo neighborhood, the onetime African-American neighborhood just to the north that was torn apart by the construction of Interstate highway 94. The congregation also learned that the Twin Cities are currently one of the most segregated areas in the United States. It was after this service, and in this climate of change, that some members began to question how Unity Church might make a difference.
Working with the Minnesota Collaborative Anti-Racism Initiative (MCARI), which provides training on understanding and dismantling racism, a group of interested members created a task force to develop plans for an anti-racism initiative within Unity Church. They presented a project description and received the support of the Board of Trustees. The Anti-Racism Ministry Team of Unity Church was formally commissioned by the congregation in January 2003.
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