Moving Ahead with Our Anti-Racism Work, A Summer Report
Summer Greetings Dear UUC Friends,
With a pandemic “time warp” and our altered summer rhythm, the passage of time seems weirdly distorted. So, six months after UUC’s adoption of the 8th Principle, I know there is some impatience at not hearing about our congregational anti-racism work. There is urgency to move into this quickly. And the arc of this work will span many years. With both of these being true, the Board is committed to keeping it a front and center priority and to thoughtfully putting things in place so we can sustain this work. As a number of things have come together in the past few weeks, I am glad to share the progress we are making and to give you a sense of what is next.
Engaging with Kaleidoscope Institute
Kaleidoscope Institute (KI) works primarily with congregations and faith-based groups on culture change and organizational transformation that builds an anti-racist inclusive community. We started conversations with them earlier in the year. On July 21, the Board approved moving ahead to engage with them based on their formal proposal received late June. Briefly, this will involve using an assessment tool called the Intercultural Development Inventory and intensive training with a group who will become trainers in subsequent rounds as we expand this effort across the entire congregation. We will also have their consultation on what we need to sustain this effort and achieve systemic change. More details to follow, but we hope to start this work with KI in September. The Board fully supports this as a wise investment and believes that KI is a good match for UUC.
Forming an ‘Anti-Racism Guiding Team’
While UUC has a number of groups who do valuable work on racial justice or equity, we don’t have the right group who can be specifically composed (or repurposed) at this time to work with Kaleidoscope Institute and to help us build out a long-term plan for anti-racism work at UUC. We have sought feedback and input about how to organize at Conversations with the Board and at a stakeholder meeting in June. Finding skilled, gracious leaders for such a team was a critical milestone. We are very happy and grateful that Rebecca Dinino and Mike Kasprzak have agreed to co-lead this soon-to-be formed team and its important work.
The immediate next priority is to identify who will be on the team. We have compiled a list of potential members that includes both volunteers and recommendations. Mike and Rebecca are reviewing this, and KI is offering their perspective on how to best compose such a group, considering a range of perspectives and experiences. We expect the team to number around seven. Over the next several weeks, we plan to reach out to potential team members to ensure that they understand the road ahead and are able to make the necessary commitment.
This team will work collaboratively with the Board. We know there has been some wariness of the Board being too hands-on or controlling. We are striving for the right balance in a relationship with the new team to ensure we are in good productive communication with one another and that we have the necessary support in place to sustain this effort.
We are eager to get the guiding team formed. We are eager to start working with Kaleidoscope Institute. We are eager to eventually engage and involve the entire congregation in this effort. In the meantime, you can expect continued communication as this unfolds and takes shape.
We are grateful for all the work on racial justice at UUC that has come before. And now we have big, profound work for our community—for justice and inclusion. Thank you for your patience as this will not be perfect nor fast. Thank you for caring enough to stay curious, to question, to learn, to change.
Kathleen Cromp, on behalf of the Board of Trustees