Proposed 8th Principle

8th Principle in English

“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

8º Principio en Español

“Nosotros, las congregaciones miembros de la Asociación Unitaria Universalista, nos comprometemos a afirmar y promover: viajar hacia la plenitud espiritual trabajando para construir una Amada Comunidad multicultural diversa mediante nuestras acciones que desmantelen responsablemente el racismo y otras opresiones en nosotros mismos y en nuestras instituciones.”

The background and origin of the proposed 8th Principle

The 8th principle was originally drafted by Paula Cole Jones (All Souls, Washington DC) and Bruce Pollack-Johnson (UU Church of the Restoration, Philadelphia) along with the UUA Central Region Group. They and a group of allies began working on this in 2013 and in 2017 recommended its adoption by the UUA that set up a commission to consider it. See UUA website for more information on the origin of the 8th principle and other related topics. (https://www.8thprincipleuu.org)

UUs and the UUA have done very good work in fighting racism, such as during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Again in the1990s when the General Assembly passed a resolution to become an anti-racist, anti-oppression multi-cultural organization; however, the funding and support for these efforts started to wane in the 2000s. UUs also have a mixed record historically, e.g. there were followers on both sides of the abolition movement and some Unitarians were proponents of eugenics.

The 8th principle came from a feeling that we as a faith community need something to renew our commitment to the work of anti-racism, to hold ourselves accountable, and to fulfill the potential of our existing principles.

 

Why is UUCOD wanting to adopt this and why now?

The 8th Principle is a natural extension of our UU values and faith development. Unlike our other 7 Principles, it calls us to action, to not only be not-racist but to actively engage in anti-racist behaviors as individuals and as a faith community. And it calls us to be accountable to each other as we continue to work towards building Beloved Community.

Here at UUCOD the 8th Principle also flows from efforts that began anew in the summer of 2020 when Rev Don introduced us through three consecutive sermons to “Widening the Circle of Concern,” a report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change. This Commission was charged with “conducting an assessment of the power structures and analyzing systemic racism and white supremacy culture within the UUA.” Following those sermons, several small groups met to discuss its implications for our congregation.

At the same time the UUCOD Board established strategic goals that included expanding our diversity, inclusion and belonging focus. Part of that included the formation of a BIOPOC support group and the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Ministry (DIBM). Additional related sermons were and continue to be delivered by Rev Barbara and Rev Ian in the ensuing years.

During 2020 and 2021 about 19 people including Rev. Ian, BIOPOC and White members participated in the Beloved Conversations Within program. This program focused on our own experiences growing up and living in a white dominant society and how those experiences impact our words, thoughts, feelings and behaviors regardless of our skin color. Now a group of 13 are participating in the Beloved Conversations Among program that focuses on our congregational life, policies, practices and culture with an eye towards practicing anti-racism in all aspects of our community.

It is clear, then, that the 8th Principle not only represents a natural extension of our UU values and history but also a logical extension of the work we have been engaged in for the past several years.

Become a part of our discussion.  Here are the articles that we’ve published.

What does “white supremacy culture” mean?

At its most basic, white supremacy culture is based on the ideology that people with white skin are superior to people with dark skin, intellectually, morally, and physically, and therefore should dominate society, typically to the exclusion or detriment of other...

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What is meant by “white privilege?

White privilege is “having greater access to power and resources than people of color, in the same situation, do."  from Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race" by Francis E. Kendallin ....

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The 8th Principle – Let’s Examine What It Really Means

As we journey towards adopting the 8th Principle, throughout March we will present various words and phrases both within the 8th Principle language itself and those related to the work of anti-racism. We will begin to explore what they mean and invite your responses....

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The 8th Principle – Can we change the wording?

At this stage in the process, congregations need to adopt the proposed principle as it is written. The wording of the 8th Principle will be substantially debated on the floor of the UUA General Assembly and will likely be changed as a result. By voting to approve it...

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The 8th Principle – Learn More About It!

Rev. Ian introduced this proposed 8th Principle in depth and in the context of our covenantal relationships during our January 16 Sunday Service. If you missed this very important service or wish to listen to it again, it is posted on the UUCOD Facebook page Over the...

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The 8th Principle – Why is UUCOD wanting to adopt this?

The 8th Principle is a natural extension of our UU values and faith development. Unlike our other 7 Principles, it calls us to action, to not only be not-racist but to actively engage in anti-racist behaviors as individuals and as a faith community. And it calls us to...

read more

The 8th Principle – What is it and Should UUCOD Adopt it?

Unitarian Universalism has a long and at times checkered history of fighting racism within the organization and in broader society. The idea of the 8th Principle began in 2013 and came from a feeling that we need something to renew our commitment to this anti-racist...

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