Merrill Aldrich, On Behalf of the Beloved Community Communications Team
Anti-racism books are at the top of the best-seller lists this year. It seems we are wondering more urgently how to help in a way that is constructive and impactful. It’s a desire both to understand and to address questions about what we ought to be doing differently. This is also a conversation that has been ongoing at Unity Church, and our community is here to support one another as we decide what right action looks like.
Scholar Ibram X. Kendi describes parallel processes of introspection — critically examining our own assumptions, attitudes, and even vocabulary — and meaningful anti-racist action. He argues that the two activities could work together to move us past arguments of overtly held racist beliefs and into more effective actions against racist structures deeply embedded in our culture. So, what are some sustaining steps that we can take on these twin paths, working on ourselves (within) and in the world (beyond)?
First, the study of these issues is not in vain! Reading, watching, listening — learning — is absolutely helpful, especially as the result better informs our actions. A huge number of resources exist, and lately many folks have collected and listed and cataloged hundreds of them. Here is a sampling of the very tip of the iceberg:
If you have taken this look around, to get a handle on where you are and where others stand, you may want to consider some of these:
Consider the question of who is writing and speaking. For white people, myself included, white people talking to other white people on these topics can be a helpful way in, due to shared experience and perspective, but should not be the end point. Black, indigenous people, and people of color, while they should not be burdened with “explaining” racism, have done a tremendous amount of work putting this information out there. Seek that out and read it.
Finally, taking carefully considered and meaningful action is vital, and can take many forms:
Beloved Community Staff Team
In 2016, the Beloved Community Staff Team was formed at Unity Church to strengthen and coordinate Unity’s anti-racism and multi-cultural work, and to share the stories of this journey with the wider community. We commit to sharing the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations here at Unity and in the wider world of our faith and city. The current members of the team include Rev. KP Hong, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Ahmed Anzaldúa, Laura Park, Karen Hering, Angela Wilcox, Pauline Eichten, and Erika Sanders.
Beloved Community Resources
Next Right Actions
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