By Cary Williams
I greet you all as a new member of ARAOMC (Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Multi-Cultural Committee). For those who don’t know me, I am Cary. I teach Kindergarten and First Grade Religious Education and I am also one of the RE greeters who says hello to you at the top of the stairs most Sundays.
This summer I went to General Assembly. One of the workshops I attended concerned the experiences of people of color in our congregations. This discussion was eye-opening. The participants spoke of the great divide they felt between the Seven Principles UUs espouse and their experiences in UU churches. One woman said she felt that she was viewed by her congregation as proof that they are diverse. Another mentioned how the first time she went to coffee hour after service, people touched her hair without her permission. A speaker on a panel shared that he no longer trusted white liberals. The young people of color spoke of their sense of betrayal in matters of race and social justice at the hands of the older members of the faith. Listening was painful. I came late to UUism but I love it very much. I know that it is made up of humans and therefore as prone to human failings as any other institution and yet, I had hoped for better.
Then the other thought came to me—what was my part in this? What had I done lately to make things better? I had attended the two-and-a-half-day anti-racism training put on by ERACCE, I had learned about systematic racism and white privilege. Now, I felt like I needed to put my knowledge to use and that I needed to keep learning about anti-racism work. This led me to join ARAOMC.