Topics: race


“Tisquanta’s Gift”

December 1, 2019

The guest preacher at First Church Unitarian in Littleton, Massachusetts on December 1, 2019 was the Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs. Rev. Dr. Grubbs’s sermon was “Tisquanta’s Gift”. Description: “According to written sources, an American Indian came among the settlers in the Plymouth Plantation soon after arrival and taught them essential knowledge that was key to their survival. Who was this mystery man whom the English speaking Pilgrims called Squanto?” The Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs is a Unitarian Universalist minister who served congregations in Indiana, Quebec, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, and California. He is presently serving as Minister at Large of the Tuckerman Creative Ministries for Justice and Healing. Clyde honors his Native American heritage (Texas Cherokee) which informs his spiritual understanding and practice, and his anti-racist and anti-oppressive commitment. He has worked for peace, justice, and equality since he was in the Unitarian Universalist youth movement, Liberal Religious Youth.

“This Makes Me Uncomfortable: White Fragility”

October 20, 2019

The FCU delegates for last year’s UU General Assembly (i.e., the offsite delegates and I) all learned a lot from a workshop on the topic of “white fragility” co-presented by Robin DiAngelo (author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”) and Aisha Hauser, a UU religious educator. Why is it so often unsettling for white people to talk about race?

“Learning from the Blues People”

November 4, 2018

At the UU General Assembly in June 2015 (in Portland, Oregon), Cornel West delivered the Ware Lecture. It was a rousing talk, and he had much to say in appreciation of Unitarian Universalism’s justice efforts. One of the intriguing bits of advice the Dr. West gave, at least to my ears, was that Unitarian Universalists “should learn from the blues people”. West has written (in Democracy Matters) that we should “learn from the blues people how to keep alive our democratic energies” in difficult times. He wrote, “In the face of cynical and disillusioned acquiescence to the status quo, we must draw on the tragicomic”. He talks about “the black invention of the blues in the face of white supremacist powers.” West tells us to listen to the people who formed their music on “the night side of America”—music that is “open to people of all colors”—music that “expresses righteous indignation with a smile and deep inner pain without bitterness or revenge”. Further recommended viewing: Cornel West’s Ware Lecture: click here
Selected blues videos shown after the November 4 service: click here

Where Race and Class Unite? Part Two

October 15, 2017

Today I want to bring this matter of class closer to home. Home in this case being our Unitarian Universalist movement, and this congregation as a part of that movement—our UU Association. I’ll be drawing in part on a report that came out last summer, just prior to our UU General Assembly, by our Association’s Commission of Appraisal titled Class Action: The Struggle with Class in Unitarian Universalism. And I’ll be throwing in some of my own stuff as well.

Where Race and Class Unite? Part One

October 1, 2017

“Where is our Holy Church? Where race and class unite.” When these lines appear in our hymnal there’s a question mark after the words “Holy Church.” “Where race and class unite…” is offered as a response to the question. Perhaps that question mark is misplaced. Or maybe those words should be offered as a vision or goal we’ve not yet reached but still aspire to—be it in our UU congregations or in society at large. It’s not an easy topic, but one we can ill afford to ignore on either level.