#113 | Frances Koziar | In-depth Description of Inclusion

Submission 113
Frances Koziar
Church of the Larger Fellowship (Boston, MA) 1911

What is your suggestion or idea?

Updates to the section on ““Inclusion””:

  1. Change: “”…have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories.“” to ““have traditionally created barriers for those with particular identities, abilities, cultures, histories, classes, and statuses.””

  2. Change ““We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons who share our values.”” to ""We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome everyone who respects and is committed to our values of covenant, diversity, and anti-oppressive unlearning.

  3. Change ““We commit to being an association of congregations that empowers and enhances everyone’s participation, especially those with historically marginalized identities.”” to ""We commit to empowering all those with historically marginalized identities, to unlearning microaggressive language and behaviour, and to dismantling all barriers to the full inclusion of our members.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

The first change is to be clearer about what types of oppression are excluded by giving some more examples. This is important for the same reason we are spelling out racism rather than just saying ““oppression”” is important – because it’s easier to understand.

The second change is because ““all persons who share are values”” can sometimes be misused by congregations to me ““people we don’t like””. It’s important to spell out what you mean by ““don’t share our values””. In this case, the only reason that someone shouldn’t be welcome in a UU space is because they are infringing on the rights of others, whether that be their right to a safe space as marginalized people, or their rights to their beliefs, culture, and identities.

The third change is to adjust the wording to be more strongly and clearly anti-oppressive, as well as to be clear that the work we have to do is not about empowering privileged people who are already empowered, but those lacking privilege. We have a responsibility to leverage what privilege we do have to protect, support and fight for those lacking the kinds of privilege we have. The language ““dismantling all barriers to the full inclusion of our members”” is language taken from Canada’s (passed) 8th principle.

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

I haven’t discussed my specific wording here with anyone, but some YAs agreed with me that the current wording isn’t strong enough.

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