Breaking the Circle/Cycle of Whiteness - A Strategic
for LREDA's Intentional Struggle to Claim an Anti-Racist Identity
January 23-24, 2001
Drafted by Anti Racism Task Force members: Andrea Lerner, Cathy Muller,
Tracey Robinson-Harris and Ann Scott
Breaking the circle/cycle of whiteness:
LREDA's current membership is predominantly white. LREDA's emphasis
is on serving the needs of its members. We are a "club"
institution. LREDA does not engage in outreach to people of color
communities. LREDA reflects the interests, culture and norms of its
predominantly white constituency. Marginalized groups, such as religious
educators, can also be oppressors. Oppression is part of the status
quo. In it's current institutional life; LREDA serves the status quo
of whiteness. This institutional reality is a spiritual dead end and
The priorities the LREDA Board has articulated for the organization
- building alliances, professional standards, educating congregations
- are worthy of our best efforts. Our best efforts call us to undertake
a process of institutional transformation so that all our work is
in the service of justice.
This strategic plan supports and furthers LREDA's established priorities
of building alliances, professional standards and educating congregations
as we live out the vision of LREDA as an organization intentionally
willing to struggle to dismantle racism.
How we understand racism:
1. Anti Racism work is spiritual work grounded in our Unitarian Universalist
2. We work from a common analysis of racism:
a.) knowing its history both the oppression and the resistance. In
the resistance we find hope.
b.) a common definition - race prejudice plus systemic/institutional
(misuse/abuse) of power equals racism
c.) racism has the power to oppress/victimize peoples of color, maintain
white power and privilege, shape our identities as victims and racists
(identities shaped by internalized oppression or internalized superiority)
d.) racism manifests itself in individuals, institutions and cultures
3. We are focusing on institutional manifestations and institutional
4. A first step in institutional transformation is claiming an anti-racist,
anti-oppressive multicultural identity.
5. A next step is to explore stages of transformation, and assess
where we are and where we need to go based on effects and results,
(This outline is from a summary provided in the LREDA final report
by Taquiena Boston)
Where LREDA Stands Now:
Changing institutions requires understanding structural levels and
function, and an understanding of the stages through which organizations
move to become anti-racist. The Journey Toward Wholeness (JTW) analysis
uses a Structural Analysis Chart and Continuum to identify racist
practices and chart organizational transformation. The five structural
levels and an assessment of LREDA (found on pages 6-8 of the final
report) are summarized here:
a.) Personnel - stage 2 - passive or club
b.) Program, Policy, Procedures - stage 3 - symbolic change
c.) Constituency - stage 2.5 - moving from passive or club into symbolic
d.) Organization - stage 2 - passive or club
e.) Mission, Purpose, Values - stage 3.5 - moving from symbolic change
into analytical change
Objective 1.) Building Alliances: Developing accountability structures
and relationships with communities/constituencies of color
In establishing accountability with an identity group, it is critical
that the persons representing a community are designated by and accountable
to the communities they represent. Consider the difference between
having a religious educator invited as an individual to represent
the constituent group of which s/he is a member and having a religious
educator chosen by LREDA to speak for the interests the profession
and its practitioners. The representative chosen by LREDA not only
has more institutional strength backing her/him but also has a network
or community providing counsel and support. (Page 8 of the final report)
Action 1.1: The President of LREDA, on behalf of the organization,
reaches out to DRUUMM (Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist
Multicultural Ministries) and invites a conversation to co-imagine
the creation of an accountability relationship between LREDA and DRUUMM.
The LREDA Anti Racism Task Force will facilitate the first face to
face meeting in this process which we hope can take place at General
Assembly 2001 between representatives of the LREDA Board and DRUUMM
Time frame: · Approval for moving ahead at the February 2001
LREDA Board meeting followed by the invitation.
· First meeting at GA 2001.
· Between GA01 and GA02 - build structures to sustain this
· GA02 - a formal recognition of the relationship by LREDA
Funding: ask LREDA's grant writing committee to explore a joint proposal
from LREDA and DRUUMM to the Fund for Unitarian Universalism to support
this process in hopes that it can be a model for other UU organizations
Our long-term vision is for a broad and deep accountability structure
that might involve many groups involved in this work. LREDA will be
one of many groups engaged in developing accountability relationships.
There are possibilities for collaboration.
(Reference pages 8-9 in the report)
Action 1.2: Beyond any commitments LREDA makes as an organization,
the Anti Racism Task Force calls each of us individually to have and
develop relationships of accountability with people of color and people
of color communities where we live and work. What this looks like
for each of us is impacted by particular contexts, and goes beyond
friendship into a realm of deep honesty, where both parties mutually
agree to stay at the table in the face of anger, pain, misunderstanding.
Our personal work is as important as the institutional work we do
and can inform it.
Objective 2.) Professional Standards for the organization and our
leadership: Internalizing (the application of) the anti-racism analysis
as standard operating procedure (regular review, part of practice,
tool for decision making and evaluation, etc.)
Action 2.1: A by-law change to add an identity statement after the
Preamble. The language we propose is:
Our identity: non-discrimination commitment
LREDA is an anti racist, anti oppressive, multicultural welcoming
organization that supports and advocates for religious educators of
every age, race/ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, physical
ability and sexual orientation.
· Approval of this language at the February Board meeting
· Notification of the membership per the by-law process
· Vote at the June membership meeting
Action 2.2: Anti-racism training be required for LREDA leadership
(including the Board, Good Offices representatives, the Anti Racism
Task Force) and stated in our policies and procedures. This requirement
will be part of conversations with potential nominees and persons
recruited for other leadership roles.
Annually in November anti racism training is offered for UUA leadership.
LREDA should plan and budget for new Board members and the President
Elect (in years when that office is filled) to participate in this
training along with a Board member who has previously experienced
A long term goal is for there to create opportunities for the LREDA
Board, UUMA Executive Committee and the Good Offices persons for both
organizations to participate in anti-racism training together, building
our commitment to this work, alliance with one another and advancing
the professional standards of LREDA through collegial work and relationship.
Action 2.3: The Board and groups designated by the Board to carry
out work on behalf of LREDA are informed by and use an anti racist
lens in carrying out their responsibilities.
The Anti Racism Task Force will develop and/or provide the Board
and each group designated to carry out work on behalf of the organization
with a simple assessment tool to aid in the application of the lens
to their work.
The Board charges itself and every group designated to carry out
work on behalf of the organization to use an anti racist lens in its
work, living out the commitment of LREDA to intentionally struggle
to dismantle racism.
Each group, in its reporting to the Board and membership, and the
Board will address how the commitment to anti racism impacts their
work and how their work furthers LREDA's commitment to become anti
Groups impacted by this include the Board, the Professional Standards
Task Force and its successor, the 21st Century Committee, the LREDA
Grant Committee, Good Offices representatives, the Nominating Committee,
the Endowment Committee, the Anti-Racism Task Force and its successor,
the Grant Writing Committee, the Welcoming LREDA Task Force, the staff,
the newsletter editor, the Fahs Committee, and the Professional Day/GA
Objective 3.) LREDA Membership: Expanding commitment to antiracism
Strengthening anti-racist understandings and skills of religious
educators strengthens anti-racist understandings and actions in our
congregations. And congregational transformation is our ultimate goal.
Action 3.1: The Anti Racism Task Force will create and publish a
best practices brochure for the purpose of informing LREDA members
about our anti-racism work. The brochure will include a statement
on the importance of this work for you as a member, suggested actions
and continuing education opportunities, resources for you and your
congregation and information about the LREDA Anti Racism Task Force.
Action 3.2: Use the by-law change as proposed in this plan as an
opportunity to expand member buy in through a study circle and personal
reflection process. The Anti Racism Task Force will create and distribute
to each LREDA chapter study circle questions inviting reflection on
chapter identity, accountability to people of color and impact of
anti racism on the chapter and on religious education. The Task Force
will also develop and distribute a resource for personal reflection.
Action 3.3: Develop a logo or graphic to use in reminding members,
promoting to members, claiming by members the organizational commitment
to intentionally struggle to dismantle racism and to claim an anti-racist
Action 3.4: Explore the development of continuing education programs
for religious educators in the use of an anti-racist lens in their
congregational work. Allies in this effort will include the Departments
of Religious Education, Faith In Action and Congregational, District
& Extension Services of the UUA.
Approved Budget for LREDA's Anti-Racism Work for 2001-2002
Task Force Meetings
· one add on day to Fall Conference @ $1200 for food and extra
· one stand alone meeting of two days (8-10 people) for a total
Annual Anti-Racism Training Costs - @ $450 per person -
· new Board members, President Elect and a continuing Board
member (funded under LREDA operating budget - Board expenses)
· for Anti-Racism Team members who have not previously had
Anti-Racism training - up to $900
Anti Racism Resource Library
· maintenance of library - $100
Materials and mailing
· Brochure as called for in this plan - $600
Total - $7,800