Undoing Racism Committee

We are a long-standing committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair whose goal is to work with our congregation and the wider community to develop, strengthen and act upon anti-racist, multicultural perspectives through worship services, educational programs, lectures, book & film discussions, other cultural events, and community involvement.

The goal of the Undoing Racism Committee is to give UUCM members and friends the opportunity to act on their commitments to racial justice. We work closely with the UU Legislative Ministry of NJ and seek guidance from the UU Association. Through self-examination and learning, we are able to act with more direction and impact.

Jane Gaertner serves as chair. For information, contact uucmurc@googlegroups.com

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On November 3, 2016, Undoing Racism Committee hosted  a program/book signing with Rev. David Billings of People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond on his new book:  “Deep Denial:  The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life ” at which 85 guests attended.   URC hosted and co-sponsored with Antiracist Alliance of No Jersey (ARA-NoJ) and European Dissent, New Jersey (ED- NJ).   Pictured:  Margery Freeman, trainer and organizer, PISAB; Jeff Hitchcock, ARA-NoJ and ED-NJ;  Rev. David Billings, antiracist trainer and organizer,  PISAB; Bonnie Cushing, ARA-NoJ and ED-NJ; Jane Gaertner, Chair, URC. 

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When we Meet:

  • The URC meets on the third Sunday each month following the second service or after the single service when scheduled.

As I See It
A Monthly Take on Race in America from Members of the Undoing Racism Committee

December 2016

By nine that evening I felt sick.  How could Trump be winning? By ten, I knew an alternate universe was on its way, and that everything we’d worked for would be lost.  The wisest thing to do, I decided, was to go to sleep and wake up when it was over. I’m an artist-in-residence at an East Orange high school and had to teach a roomful of teenagers the next morning. But first I had to face my young grandson who was crying so hard he couldn’t sleep. He’d been safe in Obama-World, where the President looked like him and respected everybody’s worth. He’d heard Trump spew hatred and feared it would touch him and his Latino and Muslim friends. I was scared, too, but I couldn’t let him know that.

So I explained that America is governed by a Constitution and that nobody—not even a president—has the power to do whatever he wants.  I said African-Americans had been through far worse than Trump and had survived and thrived. I reminded him he had a loving, strong family to protect him, and that we’d built this country and it belonged to us, too.  As long as there is an America we will be here, I said. Trumps will come and go.

Reassurances didn’t come easily when  I faced my scared teenagers the next morning. With their youthful irreverence and swagger, they are uniquely vulnerable.  We are all “other” in the eyes of too many Americans but everything-—stop and frisk, no planned parenthood, too many guns, cop shootings—will hit them hardest and first. They’ve come of age with Barack Obama and have no idea how hateful and ugly America can quickly become.

Before he fell asleep, my grandson asked, “Do you think I can I sleep for four years?” I told him things would be better in the morning because they always are. A nine-year-old can dream of sleeping for four years. His grandmother doesn’t dare.

Valerie Wilson Wesley
The Undoing Racism Committee

The December meeting of the Undoing Racism Committee will be held Sunday, December 18th in the Alliance Room from 12:15 to 1:45 PM.  Please join us to discuss January programs and plan for Conversations on Racism to be held on January 29, 2017 in the Peierls Room, 12:30 to 2:00 PM.