Amendment 17 to Article II - Proposed by Kenji Yano

Bold underlining indicate insertion ; [brackets indicate deletion.]

31 Justice. We work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive.

32 We covenant to [dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression] affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. We support the use of

33 inclusive democratic processes to make decisions.

[Reasons for this amendment]

I believe that activities potentially resulting from using the word “dismantle” could actually block us from truly becoming a diverse, multicultural community. From my observations, many people of color including immigrants, especially if they are traditionally religious, tend to have more conservative views on women and LGBTQ issues. For example, in Ann Arbor, churches who display the rainbow sign are almost always predominantly white communities. To the best of my knowledge, mosques, Hindu temples, Asian Buddhist temples, Asian Christian churches, African American churches, and Catholic churches where Latino people attend typically do not display the rainbow sign. If we “dismantled” the people who have conservative views on women and LGBTQ issues due to their upbringing, it would seem difficult for us to build a multiracial, spiritual community.

Here, I want to be clear that I’m not suggesting that we should relax our standards on the rights of women and LGBTQ people in order to become more multiracial. My purpose here is to raise the possibility that the inclusion of the word “dismantle” in Article II might contradict the existing UU 1st principle.

Back in 1848, Thomas Starr King, for whom Starr King School of the Ministry in Berkeley is named, made the comment that Universalists think that God is too good to damn us forever and that Unitarians think that we are too good to be damned forever. Neither denomination believed in original sin, hence the UU 1st principle—inherent worth and dignity of every person [regardless of how each person identifies themselves]. Let us not “dismantle” people for their views due to their upbringing, which they didn’t intentionally choose.

It seems to me that the only realistic way forward to forge a multicultural/multiracial UU community is through understanding where people of all walks of life come from both culturally and religiously, through learning their life stories as much as we can, through accepting people as they are, and through working with them **so that they become awakened—not dismantled—**about the rights of women and LGBTQ people. If we dismantled these people, the potential for their awakening is nil.

I see dismantling of institutions in the original wording, not dismantling of people (which actually sounds rather bloody). Those institutions are often actual barriers to progress against some oppressions (conservative christian churches against reproductive justice, mixed on environment, etc.)


I support this amendment maybe for a bit of a different reason the proposer. I can’t support the wording of “dismantle racism,” because, I don’t believe that I have the power to do it. It is beyond my control.

I believe that racism is wrong. I believe that racism may very well be the quintessential issue of our time. I am willing and able to offer my time, energy, and resources toward its eradication. But I do not believe that I, my congregation, nor the UUA can anymore dismantle racism than any of us can stop inflation or keep the wind from blowing.

We should all do our best to dismantle racism. There are a whole series of things identified by experts that we can do individually and collectively to help the cause. But we ought not say things that just aren’t true or even possible. The covenant doesn’t say work hard to, or do your best to, it says “dismantle.”

The revised language offered in the amendment makes a strong supportive statement and is much closer to reality. This issue probably deserves much further study and discussion.

I support this change.

dismantle racism in our congregations - that is somethoing we have more control over. I think the word covenant is to contract - so do we break our contract by adding the clause “all forms of systemic oppression”. Or is trying to dimantle all form of systemic oppression meet the spirit of the contract. I think that trying meets the spirit of the contract. I would not change dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression.

To authors of amendments that weren’t prioritized or presented: This forum is closing for comment tomorrow, but our lay-led public Facebook group, Blue Boat Passengers, will remain open for another few weeks for commenting (and still be viewable after that).

If you want to find people to coordinate with for the 15-congregation amendment process, you may use the group to do so while it remains open. There’s now a specific post for this in the group (“A post for those wishing to do the 15-congregation amendment process to coordinate”). Please read both the rules and the pinned post about the pending suspension of the group before posting or commenting there.