TeachIn2 Resources - Education Adult Track
Gail Forsyth Vail, Adult Programs Director at the Unitarian Universalist Association shared reflections she presented at her congregation. Gail shares her perspective of the events that led to the Teach In and white supremacy.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, Jr. on White Supremacy
A challenge to Unitarian Universalists in addressing institutional white supremacy is that the term itself conjures images of the KuKlux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and torch-bearing white nationalists such as those who showed up in Charlottesville VA last August.
In this MoveOn.org video, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II makes the point that while overt manifestations of white nationalism need to be opposed, they are not the primary ways that white supremacy operates to keep racism and other forms of oppression and inequity in place.
As you watch the MoveOn.org video pay particular attention to how Rev. Barber makes the distinction between protesting hate and dismantling systemic and structural white supremacy.
ABOUT Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II if former president of the NC NAACP, Pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, NC, and founder of Repairers of the Breach.
Rev. Barber is an Auburn Fellow at Auburn Seminary and the author of The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of a New Justice Movement with Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove (Beacon Press).
Rev. Dr. Barber is credited as the originator for Moral Mondays in North Carolina where clergy, unions, social service organizations, and everyday people came together in a “fusion coalition” to advocate for equitable civil and human rights policies as well as to challenge voter suppression in the state of North Carolina.
Moral Mondays inspired the Mass Moral Movement that called on people of conscience to hold elected officials accountable to economic, political, and social priorities such as access to health care, education, jobs, affordable housing, and voting rights. Barber’s “fusion organizing” model brings together people across race, class, sexual, and gender identity to build local and national coalitions that advocate for moral conscience in legislation and policies.
Currently Rev. Barber is organizing a Poor Peoples’ Campaign inspired by the movement of the same name that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was coordination at the time of his death. The Poor Peoples Campaign brought people living in poverty of all races to Washington, DC in 1968 where they created a Tent City on the National Mall to bring attention to economic and racial injustice, inequity, and oppression.
In this video from MoveOn.org, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II describes how institutional white supremacy operates to keep in place economic, political, racial, and other systemic oppressions. Take a few moments to reflect on the questions below and then share your reflections either in small group or the full gathering.
1. How do white nationalists and hate groups differ from institutional white supremacy? How is opposing hate groups different from dismantling institutional white supremacy?
2. Based on Barber’s description, how has white supremacy operated in the past to create economic and racial inequity? How is white supremacy manifesting in institutions and policies to keep economic and racial inequity in place today? Ex. “stand your ground laws,” eliminating DACA, dismantling Affordable Care Act.
3. What might be evidences of institutional white supremacy operating in your UU community? Unitarian Universalism? Your workplace? Neighborhood? City? County? State? Country? [OPTION: This may be supplemented by using the White Supremacy Pyramid]
4. What is the role of Unitarian Universalists and other people of conscience to advance “moral conscience” in legislation and governance? How do Unitarian Universalist values call our community to the work of dismantling institutional white supremacy?
5. It is not enough to do the work of dismantling white supremacy. It is essential to know what we are trying to build. Using the video as inspiration, what might be a vision of Beloved Community where UU principles become UU ways of doing and being? Be as concrete as possible. Feel free to draw an image, create a spoken word presentation, or sing a song that expresses that vision. Or just say what’s in your heart.