About BUF Black Lives Matter Team

The BUF Black Lives Matter Ministry Action Team seeks to nurture the social, spiritual and personal development of congregation members in the exploration of how racism and privilege impact our congregation, our community, and our nation. In particular, we acknowledge the targeted violence which impacts black people disproportionately. We work to end racial discrimination and injustice, starting within ourselves and moving out into the world around us. We support multiracial, multiethnic congregations and advocate for stopping racist policies like mass imprisonment and attacks on voting rights. We are committed to harnessing the power of love to dismantle racism and white supremacy across our communities and to creating spaces inclusive of people of all races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. We work with many partners in support of the Black Lives Matter movements.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Eracism Minute 9/3/17 David Curley

My name is David Curley. I am a member of the Black Lives Matter Action Team at BUF.
These thoughts have been inspired by Labor Day.

1. I believe that racism has always been used to defend money and power.
2. The fundamental strategy behind racism is divide and rule, seeking to set the interests of poorer whites against minorities, and to isolate minorities one from another.
3. The radical strategy against racism is solidarity. Essentially it means, honor each other’s picket lines and go to each other’s picnics.
4. For someone privileged like me to practice solidarity means that I have to put my status, money and power at risk.

September 11, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Black Lives Matter Ministry Team
Minutes 9-11-17

Karen K-F Nan Lauralee
Cat Judy Pine Courtney
Martie Carl Heidi
Angie Libby Judy Kasper
Paul Suzanne
      1. Eracism Minute Scheduling
      2. Follow-up from Paul after last meeting
      3. Plan November 12th BLM service
      4. Representative to Board vis a vis goal of “increasing vibrancy and diversity of congregation”

Heidi opened the meeting by recommending the November 2017 issue of the UU World magazine which contains many good articles on race. It is available online and in the lobby.

Paul thanked the Team for the conversation last month, stating that it was intense but important. Many issues from that meeting were clarified. The “us against them” feeling that developed was aired, as well as the loss of trust that occurred when previously agreed upon plans (the eracism minute) were changed. Concern was expressed that having the BLM service on the Sunday of the Retreat would reduce the audience significantly. This felt like a diminishment of the BLM message to many.

Paul noted that he had not even realized the service fell on the Retreat date and had meant no disrespect in assigning that date to BLM. It was suggested that the second BLM Service be later in the year to enhance planning time and impact of the message.

Re: the Eracism Minute and Process:
Paul is ultimately responsible for Sunday Services. He felt, partially because there had been a number of Sundays where BLM did not provide an Eracism Minute, that there were 5 Sundays that did not require a Minute. He took this idea to Ericka and Lauralee and they compromised on 2. Team members would have preferred to be involved in that decision. Tensions were increased when he mistakenly left BLM off the order of service, which he felt “terrible” about.

Us vs. Them:
It emerged that these events led to a feeling of us vs. them, and loss of trust between BLM and the BUF staff, from whom “rumblings” (why do we need these Eracism Minutes?) were being heard. Martie noted that the resolution gives BLM the charge to educate the congregation; that if we go back to the Mission the way forward is clear. Therefore, the question becomes where is the questioning of the activities coming from. Lauralee asked if BLM has full staff support. It was agreed that a conversation between BLM reps and the staff could be helpful in reducing tensions and facilitating anti-racist work at BUF. This meeting would include Paul, Kathy, Kevin and Jennifer and might resemble sensitivity training.
We acknowledged that these are difficult conversations to have and that putting everything on the table in clear, concrete language is needed to create a well-functioning team.

Learning Styles:
Angie pointed out that we are all learning, and that members of BLM consciously chose to focus on difficult discussions around race. And BLM has a charge to engage all congregation members including those that did not make that conscious choice. Addressing different learning styles could help engage more people. Suggestions for this included: insert messages in the order of service, use the BLM service to explain Eracism Minutes, using different modalities, eg visual, for teaching, Chalice Circles, Adult Education.

November 12th Service:
Brainstorming ideas which included: Teach in; acknowledge vulnerability required for this work; white fragility; defensiveness; define white supremacy; fear of conflict; how issues are reflected in hiring decisions, etc.; hand signals and numbers used to communicate white supremacy; video showing white man and black man engaged in same activity eg renting apartment.
Explain Eracism Minute
Music: Answering the Call of Love, Smiling Faces, Ella's Story
Children's story: Pink and Say by Patricia Pollaco a possibility
video clip – The Talk
UUA Reads: Daring Democracy, Centering
Kick off Adult Education Curriculum

Board request for rep to “increase vibrancy and diversity of congregation”:
With the caveat that BLM deliberately rejected the idea of setting a goal of increasing the number of blacks in the pews, and that BUF may not be a safe place for Blacks, BLM chooses to participate with the Board so as to have input to their process and break down barriers. Partnering with Black Churches was also suggested.

Action items:
It was agreed that BLM would plan the November 12th Service but not the October 8th due to the coinciding of the Retreat date.

Eracism Minutes will occur every Sunday, except 9-17 and 12-10, through the end of this year.
October 1st – Hilde, September 24th – Judy

Paul will coordinate with the person providing the Eracism Minute

Us vs. Them
The Communication Committee (Courtney) will be the liaison to set up a meeting to build bridges between BLM and the staff (Paul, Cathy, Kevin, Jennifer). This committee will also communicate with staff re: services.

Learning Styles: Courtney, Martie and Suzanne will meet with Jennifer re: adult anti-racist program. Discussion will include curriculum choice, format, starting time.

November 12th Service:
Libby, Kat and Karen will work with Lauralee and Ericka on Service.

Board Request:
Courtney will represent BLM to the Board.

Respectfully submitted, Suzanne Duscha

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 14, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

August 14, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Erika, Lauralee, Cat, Hilde, Rod, David, Lisa, Judy K., Angie, Allegra, Heidi, Mary, Suzanne, Liz, Judy Pine, Carl

Chalice Lighting

Introductions & Ground Rules

Programming Committee Report:
  •  Eracism Minute scheduling
  • Adult UUA Racism Curriculum will be offered in the fall at a different day/time from our regular 2x/month meetings
  • Children's Racism Curriculum to be theme of RE in 2018-19

Communications Committee Report: 
Hilde working on letter to editors of multiple newspapers re police practices and prosecution of abuses of Sharleena Lyles and others

Coalition Committee Report:
Initiative needs signatures gathered to get I-940 on the ballot: http://www.deescalatewa.org/
"This measure would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation, mental-health, and first-aid training, and provide first-aid; and change standards for use of deadly force, adding a “good faith” standard and independent investigation."

Program:  28 Racist Attitudes: http://www.culturalbridgestojustice.org/resources/written/detour

#25 The Accountant
We keep a tally sheet. If we perform some “feat of anti-racism,” we expect reciprocity from an individual or group of color, usually with some prestige or power that can serve our interests.
Reality Check and Consequence
  “I scratch your back, you scratch mine" is NOT justice seeking nor ally behavior. It serves only to reduce justice work to some kind of power brokering currency.

July 24, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

July 24, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Erika, Lauralee, Cat, Paul, Martie, Hilde, Rod, David, Lucie, Rachel, Lisa, Sandra, Judy K., Karen N-F, Angie

Chalice Lighting


Eracism Minutes Planning - EVERY WEEK, Permanently on Order of Service, add definition and intro

Communications Committee Report: 
Martie will connect with Director of Lifelong Learning, Jennifer Smith

Coalition Committee Report:
Cat reported on UUA General Assembly, including Bryan Stevenson, author of JUST MERCY as WARE Lecturer, as well as groups to connect with:

Equal Justice Initiative: https://eji.org/
Worthy Now Prison Ministry Network: https://worthynow.org/
Families on the Outside: http://www.familiesontheoutside.org/
Bellingham Families of Prisoners
Jan & Rick Krouskop's Alternatives to Violence

Program:  28 Racist Attitudes: http://www.culturalbridgestojustice.org/resources/written/detour

#24 Whites Only
I have no connection with or accountability to people of color. I do all my anti-racism with whites only. I am accountable only to other white people.
Reality Check and Consequence
While it is vitally important for white anti-racists to work with other white people, this detour results in white people again controlling the direction and focus of anti-racism work.

Learning to follow the leadership of, and taking direction from people of color, while being accountable to them are all vital components of our ally-ship.

July 10, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

July 10, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Erika, Lauralee, Hilde, Libby, Liz, Rod, David, Heidi, Lee S., Lucie, Sita, Nancy, Mary, Courtney, Monica Koller, Lisa, Sandra

Chalice Lighting


Eracism Minutes Planning
     Mary July 23
     Courtney July 16
     Erika July 30

Communications Committee Report: 
Hilde & David will write letters re police action accountability in justifiable homicide and research work done by the WA Legislative Committee on community policing.

Libby reported on the I-940 campaign: https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/FinalText_1372.pdf

New book by Robin DiAngelo: https://robindiangelo.com/publications/

Program:  28 Racist Attitudes: http://www.culturalbridgestojustice.org/resources/written/detour

#23 I Have to Do My Personal Work
"I have to do my personal work first." or "Ending racism is only about changing personal attitudes."

Reality Check and Consequence
     If we assume that personal reflection and interpersonal work is the end of our job as anti-racists, we will stay out of the public, institutional arenas. We will ignore cultural racist practices that don’t include us personally. We won’t take action, until we have finished ridding ourselves of all racist conditioning. And since that complete “cure” will never happen, we will never take any institutional or cultural anti-racist action.


June 26, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

June 26, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Erika, Lauralee, Hilde, Libby, Alice, Martie, Liz, Angie, Lucie, Rod, David, Heidi, Nan

Chalice Lighting


Moment of silence in remembrance of Charleena Lyles, mother, killed by Seattle police.

Communications Committee Report:  Lauralee excitedly presented the Rainbow Poster to be displayed in the Wayside Pulpit

Hilde updated on the RE Committee plans to incorporate race education into RE studies.

David will research who is working on laws to increase ability to change law enforcement officers' accountability/ability to prosecute.

Members are encouraged to write letters to newspaper/magazine editors as well as government representatives re police abuses, profiling and incarceration.

Those present signed a condolence card Liz will mail to Charleena Lyles' family.

Program:  28 Racist Attitudes

Smoke and Mirrors
We use the current politically correct language; we listen to the right music; we state the liberal line; we're seen at the right meetings with the right people.  We even interrupt racist remarks when the right people are watching and when there is no risk to us. We look lie anti-racists.

Reality Check and Consequence
This is the "Avon Ally," the cosmetic approach. People of color and other white anti-racists see through this pretense quickly.  This pseudo-anti-racist posturing only serves to collude with racism and weakens the credibility of sincere white anti-racists.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

June 12, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

June 12, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Erika, Lauralee, Cat, Rod Martie, Angie, David, Mike Betz, Alice, Courtney, Lisa, Hilde, Lucie, Heidi, Barbara, Sandra

Chalice Lighting


Communication Committee Report: Buttons & Banners

Programming Committee Report: Eracism Minutes

Program: Detour-Spotting (Jona Olsson: www.culturalbridgesto justice.org/resources/written/detour)

#20 Teach Me or Help Me, I'm Stuck
"I want to stop acting like a racist, so please tell me when I do something you think is racist." (Spoken to a person of color.)

Reality Check and Consequence: White people often assume that they can learn about racism only from people of color. We further assume that people of color have the energy and/or desire to do this teaching. My understanding is that most people of color are weary of educating white people about racism.

We will get stuck. We'll get frustrated and impatient with ourselves and other white people in this struggle.  We'll stay stuck if we don't seek help from other white anti-racists.  Our inclination in the past has been to ask people of color to help us.  We should seek out other white people BEFORE we go to people of color.  Perhaps, as we become more trustworthy as allies, we will build genuine relationships with a few people of color who will offer their reflections for us when we get stuck.  But this is at their discretion, not ours.  We can't assume or act as though people of color whould be so grateful for our attempts at anti-racism, that they will be willing to guide us whenever we are ready to be guided.

#21 White on White, and Righteously So
"What is wrong with those white people? Cant they see how racist they're being?" or "I just can't stand to be around white people who act so racist anymore." And
You're Preaching to the Choir
"You're wasting your time with us, we're not the people who need this training."

Reality Check and Consequence:  We distance ourselves from "other" white people.  We see only unapologetic bigots, card-carrying white supremacists and white people outside our own circle as "real racists."  We put other white people down, trash their work or behavior, or otherwise dismiss them.  We righteously consider ourselves white people who have evolved beyond our racist conditioning.

This is another level of denial.  There are no "exceptional white people." (4) We may have attended many anti-racism workshops; we may not be shouting racist epithets or actively discriminating against people of color, but we still experience privilege based on our white skin. We benefit from this system of oppression and advantage no matter what our intentions are.  This distancing serves only to divide us from potential allies and limit our own learning.