Dayna Kennedy and Paul Rogne Discuss Landmarks on Their Soul Work Journey
Edited by Becky Gonzalez-Campoy, Beloved Community Communications Team
Next to my bathroom mirror I have posted two notes:
And I’m showing up differently. I make sure I’m not doing this work to “save” anybody. I clear out any part of me that is feeling like a “hero” for marching. Now, I listen for what is needed and do what I am able to do. Change begins within me. But so does action. When I am feeling overwhelmed or frozen by the authentic history I am learning, I remember that my white history has given me a weak muscle that I need to exercise to build up stamina. And my white privilege has given me a short attention span — I can turn away when things get tough.… and my life will be affected very little. Moreover, no one holds me accountable. This work is hard to do in isolation. One solution that continues to prove invaluable to me is Recovery from White Conditioning. This group provides me with a community of meaningful support and accountability.
Whether it is a phone bank or calling legislators, I hear the freshness and urgency in the voices of my BIPOC partners. The effects for them are now … and every day. I continue to ask myself, “Why, just because the pigment of our skin is different, do I not feel the same sense of urgency?” After all, as James Baldwin said, it is my soul which is at stake.
We often rely on words for education, self-reflection, and spiritual growth. Art, too, can be a powerful messenger to change how we see ourselves, our community, and the world.
Unity’s antiracism goals inspire my work as the chairperson of the Unity Art Team. We are the group that bring artists to exhibit in the Parish Hall. We also manage over 80 pieces of art in the permanent collection that are displayed throughout the building. A few years ago, we identified the pursuit of Unity’s Ends Statements as something to embrace, especially, “Create a multicultural spiritual home built on authentic relationships” and “Create brave space for racial healing and dismantling dominant culture.” Consequently, the Art Team has deliberately sought to bring greater diversity of art and artists into the Parish Hall and to expand the permanent collection with art representing a multicultural community.
In 2020-21, this led the Art Team to specifically recruit and select artists of color to exhibit in the Parish Hall. The team also has added six new pieces of art to the permanent collection: A weaving by the Karin Weavers, a fine art print by local Latino artist Ricardo Levins Morales, a powerful painting on the theme of immigration by Black artist Simone Spruce, an impressive diptych painting by Heather Friedli whose heritage is Anishinaabe and Mexican, and a painting by local Black artist Rose Smith inspired by her trip to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. We hope the addition of more diversity in the art displayed at Unity will have a positive impact on the congregation and visitors to the church. This effort will continue over the coming years.
So come take time to enjoy and reflect on our featured exhibits and permanent collection. Each piece has much to teach us all.
Beloved Community Resources
Unity Justice Database
Team Dynamics House of Intersectionality
Anti-Racism Resources in the Unity Libraries Collection
Creative Writers of Color in Unity Libraries
The History of Race Relations and Unity Church, 1850-2005
Beloved Community Staff Team
The Beloved Community Staff Team (BCST) strengthens and coordinates Unity’s antiracism and multicultural work, and provides opportunities for congregants and the church to grow into greater intercultural competency. We help the congregation ground itself in the understanding of antiracism and multiculturalism as a core part of faith formation. We support Unity’s efforts to expand our collective capacity to imagine and build the Beloved Community. Here, we share the stories of this journey — the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations — both at Unity and in the wider world.
The current members of the Beloved Community Staff Team include Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. KP Hong, Rev. Lara Cowtan, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Laura Park, Lia Rivamonte and Angela Wilcox.