#112 | Frances Koziar | Oppression Spelled Out

Submission 112
Frances Koziar
Church of the Larger Fellowship (Boston, MA) 1911

What is your suggestion or idea?

Under ““Justice”” change the current wording of ““We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression.”” to ““We covenant to dismantle racism, classism, sexism, ableism, queerphobia, and all other forms of system oppression””.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

The reason we need to have all major types of oppression spelled out here is for the same reason that we need racism to be spelled out. All types of oppression exist in our congregations, and all urgently need our attention. It needs to be 100% clear that this faith needs anti-classism work just as much as it needs to be 100% clear that we will be anti-racist. As someone personally lacking 5 different types of privilege, I can say with more confidence than most that every type of oppression can be a nightmare, and that I have experienced every single one of them in UU spaces. While Cis Able Middle-Class Anti-Racism is a huge improvement on nothing, it has just as many issues as White Feminism. We need to be clearly intersectional with our anti-oppressive work to liberate us all.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

I have talked in agreement with some other underprivileged UUs more generally about the need for explicit intersectionality, but for this issue, I’ll instead tell you that in Canada, when the wording of the 8th principle changed from (don’t remember exactly) ““racism and all oppressions”” to ““racism and other barriers to full exclusion””, marginalized people were hurt. Disabled people, poor people facing systemic UU classism, non-binary folks etc spoke out on how they felt more excluded. Please don’t make the same mistake. The answer you give in the FAQs for not including this is insufficient, and sounds ignorant of how bad all the other types of oppression can be in UU spaces too. In my last congregation, for example, I dealt with serious sexism, with people supporting the men’s rights movement and wanting more men in leadership ““for diversity””. It gets bad.

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I agree with the sentiments stated here but would suggest that we not try to list all possible oppressions as someone will always raise the fact that they were not included. I fully support just removing “racism and”.