Day 1: The Thirty Days of Love starts today
Today is Day 1 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to begin with the Thirty Days of Love by journaling. Write in your journal your response to: Why are we trying to be multicultural? Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.
Today marks the start of our third annual Thirty Days of Love campaign. The first weekly theme is Living the Dream, where we will explore the intersections of civil rights, voter suppression, the New Jim Crow, and what we must do to build multicultural communities and congregations.
Let us begin with a question: Why are we trying to be multicultural?
This was a question emailed to me by a board member of a UU Congregation who was highly desirous of moving into the multicultural future. It is a question that every congregation that thinks it wants to become a multicultural community wrestles with and can only answer for themselves. It’s a question that Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre asked during last year’s Mosaic Maker’s conference.
It is also a question that I and the Multicultural Growth & Witness staff group I lead wrestle with constantly along with “how” do we become an anti-oppressive/multicultural faith community? We try to answer it with curriculum like Building the World We Dream About. With conferences like Mosaic Makers: Leading Vital Multicultural Congregations. With workshops, consultations, coaching, leadership development, and learning communities. With integrating the multicultural work we do with our social justice work, through initiatives like Thirty Days of Love.
Here’s what I think. Our UU community cannot claim to promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person and remain moncultures. Navigating differences of class, race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ability, and religion test and challenge us to live every one of the seven principles. The only way to know if we are truly inclusive, welcoming, justice-centered, and compassionate is by how well we engage with people who are different – not just in our sanctuaries but in the larger community.
Leaders of long-time multicultural churches say that this is not a journey for the faint of heart. It involves risk and sacrifice. And it takes time.
Multiculturalism is more than programs. It is an ethos – values – the test of “are we who we say we are?” – in every aspect of our community. From welcome to worship, membership to leadership, fellowship hour to life-long faith development, socializing to social justice, multiculturalism is what we do in and beyond the walls of the congregations.
There is a great urgency to answer the call to transform our churches and move us into the multicultural future:
- Income inequality in the United States and the inequitable distribution of the necessities of life make the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all a sham.
- Voter suppression severely compromises the right of conscience and use of the democratic process in our states and our nation.
- Poor education, segregated schools and efforts to push multicultural education out of public classrooms diminish the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
- Barriers of race and class compromise our capacity for justice, equity and compassion in human relations – because difference challenges us in ways we cannot predict.
- Fundamentalism makes acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth impossible.
- Food deserts, the dumping of waste in poor communities, and the lack of access to quality health care is disrespect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part.
- Mass incarceration, mass deportation, and “stand your ground laws” mock our value of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. They criminalize poverty, race, and often times our country’s youth and young adults.
Multicultural community makes it harder to marginalize, exclude and oppress people who don’t share our identities. Multicultural relationships also call us to be more active in seeking justice for all people
Laila Ibrahim tells us in the Bless the Imperfect:
“Again and again, we are called to choose to commit ourselves to building a more just, more diverse, and yet ever messy and imperfect beloved community.”
May we be the people so bold by answering the calls of the marginalized, the excluded, and the oppressed that all people may be welcomed as blessings and the human family lives whole and reconciled.
Now it’s your turn to build the world you dream about. Journey with us, together during the Thirty Days of Love. Let this be a starting point or an opportunity to re-commit to our shared racial justice work.
Amen, Ache, Blessed Be, Shalom, May it Be So,
Director, Multicultural Growth and Witness
Unitarian Universalist Association
P.S. – If you would like to read more of Taquiena’s sermon from the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, check it out here.