My head is spinning from all that has happened since my February newsletter column. I attended retreats for UU Military Chaplains, UU Religious Professionals of Color and the Youth Ministry Advisory Committee. All three of the above mentioned groups advocate for and support UUs who are marginalized either within Unitarian Universalism and/or in the U.S.
One of the many reasons I am a UU and love Unitarian Universalism is the support and voice that is given to people who are oppressed and marginalized by U.S. culture. By now most of you have heard about Trayvon Martin, who was killed as he walked to the home where he was staying after shopping at a nearby store. The person who shot Trayvon said he looked suspicious. In other words, Trayvon looked like he did not belong.
One of the common stories shared by people who are marginalized or oppressed is that they are made to feel like they do not belong. This message is sometimes communicated with a question such as “Are you lost” or action such as following the person perceived as not belonging. The message “You are different” can be communicated by simply ignoring someone or denying that you notice differences in appearance, gender expression, ability, perceived sexual orientation, age or race/ethnicity.
Our sixth Unitarian Universalist Principle calls us to affirm and promote “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.” I encourage each of you to answer the following questions. How can our sixth UU Principle be practiced in youth and young adult communities? Is the culture of your youth and young adult community one that judges people on appearance, gender expression, age, race/ethnicity or perceived sexual orientation or ability? Is the culture of your youth or young adult community a place where people are free to bring all of their identities without fear of feeling different? If your answer is “I do not know” or “No” to any of the above questions, I encourage you to explore ways to change the culture of your community so it is a reflection of our UU Principles.
As always, I would love to hear from you. You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at http://uuyayaoc.blogs.uua.org/.
I Love You,