Last Spring the Racial Justice Ministry and R.E. Program, with leadership from the Board, made the commitment to bring “Living the Pledge to End Racism” curriculum to FUUSN. Created by members of our UU congregation in Richmond, VA. “Living the Pledge to End Racism” is currently being used by 30 UU congregations in the South and Midwest. We are proud that, come next Spring, FUUSN will be the first congregation in New England to begin using this engaging program.
A bit of background from the Richmond congregation’s website: “In 2014, in response to the rash of deaths of African Americans at the hands of the police, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond modified and adopted the Birmingham Pledge, a personal commitment developed in Birmingham, Alabama, to work to end racism. The pledge asks each who affirm it to make it personal. On the first day it was shared with the congregation, hundreds made the commitment. But, fighting racism is challenging and requires tools adequate to set a new standard of resistance to a long entrenched social disease. So, we asked ourselves, how do we live out the pledge?
Our response to that “how” was developing a twelve-hour workshop-based program called Living the Pledge to End Racism, which focuses on incorporating the pledge into one’s own life, the life of the congregation, and the Greater Richmond area. Living the Pledge to End Racism is much more than a workshop for passive participants. It’s a comprehensive program designed to build leaders through small group interactions, reflection, self- study, didactic presentations, and most importantly, a focus on making real commitments to become involved in the work to end racism in their community.”
This weekend Annette Marquis and Anita Lee, both members of the Richmond congregation, will be here to train 20 members of our community, including four young adults who grew up at FUUSN, as facilitators. It is our plan that we will start offering small group workshops next spring. I am so pleased that Annette and Anita will also join me in the pulpit on Sunday morning to share with us all their congregation’s story of how “Living the Pledge” came to be.