Submission 143 Alice Diebel UU Congregation of Petoskey (Petoskey, MI) 5426
What is your suggestion or idea?
Text to be deleted is from Section C-2.2 Values and Covenant. I would modify the value ““Equity””. The current text reads: ““We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness. We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention, and money to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities.””
I recommend: Equity. We
commit to taking actions that will promote every person’s access to life’s
opportunities and benefits. We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention,
voice, and financial and other resources to build and sustain fully accessible
and inclusive communities. Our work for equity demonstrates the worth and
dignity of all people.
What is the reason for your amendment idea?
Equity is arguably one of the most important values we have when it comes to antiracism/antioppression work. I felt the statement needed stronger emphasis on what equity means, which is access. I appreciate the word ““flourish”” but it is not strong enough. Further, what needs to be done to create a more equitable society is to change policy, which is an issue of using our voices and taking actions to remove barriers. The language ““inherent dignity and worthiness”” could be replaced with worth and dignity to bring it closer to the principles - which may be more palatable to some. Finally, adding the last sentence brings the statement into parallel agreement with the other values statements.
Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?
I have had strong support from members of the Miami Valley UU Fellowship, the UU Congregation of Petoskey, St. John’s UU Church, and Heritage Universalist Unitarian. Do you want names?
I appreciate your intention to bring the values statement on Equity into better alignment with antiracism and anti-oppression work. And I agree that “flourish” isn’t ideal. I think the FAQ document on the UUA website raises a valid concern about the term “worth” applied to human beings. It can imply that a monetary value can be assigned to measure a person’s worth, as it was during slavery and still is for trafficked human beings today. I think “worthiness” is awkward, especially since it has an opposite of “unworthiness,” so I would prefer that we substitute “the humanity and dignity of all people” for “worth and dignity.”
I think the language here changes my understanding of the first principle in a profound way. It is not that people have the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness, but that they have inherent worthiness and dignity. We all come into this world good and, therefore, we should treat everyone as having worthiness and dignity even when they behave in harmful ways.
I really like this suggested wording-- all of it: I like the emphasis on every person having access to opportunities, and the statement that we’re committed to promoting it. I like the addition of “voice” and the replacement of “money” with “financial and other resources” to the list of resources we covenant to use toward the end of building and sustaining accessible and inclusive communities. And the last sentence has, I think, more power than the first statement of the original.
I agree the word ““flourish” is not strong enough.
this phrase spells it out “access to life’s
opportunities and benefits”
Worthiness, for the reasons the Commission cited, should remain.
thank you for the comment Alice