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


A celebration of life for Nancy Shakir, former URC member and cofounder, former UUCM Board Member,  will be Sat., April 1st at 11 am in the Sanctuary, followed by a lunch planned by Maggie Joraleman, James Shillaber and Ellen Blaney, with assistance from Undoing Racism Committee. 


The Undoing Racism Committee (URC) of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair (UUCM) will be hosting a forum to discuss and apply the lessons of The Third Reconstruction by the Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II.  The event will be held on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 12:30 PM in the Peierls Room of the UUCM building, located at 67 Church St, Montclair, NJ.

This will be an opportunity for Montclair and surrounding communities to discuss racial justice within a progressive framework. The discussion is a part of a broader program run by the URC called “Conversations on Racism,” and is the third in the series.

The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear is part-memoir, part how-to manual for coalition building. The book traces Barber’s life in North Carolina and outlines the architecture of building local coalitions to pursue progressive policies in the state. Attendees are recommended to read Reverend Barber’s book but are not required to do so.

 The event comes as a groundswell of support for progressive organizations and advocacy efforts has been sparked by the election of President Donald Trump.

Organizers of the forum say that now is the time for action, and that all are welcome to discuss racial justice problems facing our community and to search for concrete actions that can be taken to address injustices.

 The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II is a Protestant minister and political leader in North Carolina. He led the Moral Mondays movement in the state which challenged conservative policymakers and created a diverse statewide coalition. He serves on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and is chair of its Legislative Political Action Committee.

The Undoing Racism Committee is a community organization that works to raise awareness of ongoing systemic oppression of people of color.

 For inquiries, contact: Jane Gaertner
e-mail: gaertnerjane@comcast.net
phone: 973-464-8279 

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

March 2017

Often when we think of women warriors, the image of women with weapons and suits of armor come to mind.

But we members of the Undoing Racism Committee wish to memorialize another kind of woman warrior in the persons of Joan Burress and Nancy Shakir, two longtime UUCM members who died this past February.

Joan Burress was a very unassuming person who often displayed a self-deprecating sense of humor that reminded us to not take ourselves too seriously. She served on several projects within URC and was a staunch believer in the work of the People’s institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB). She helped to conduct anti-racism workshops for young people as well. Joan was also one of the first to volunteer as a tutor when retired principal Frank Rennie started our After School Tutorial Program and remained a tutor until her illness prevented her from participating.

When Nancy Shakir relocated to North Carolina in 2008, she remained an active UU. She was also active in the Moral Monday Movement, ran for Congress and worked tirelessly for voting rights in an increasingly hostile environment.

Here at UUCM, we remember Nancy for her work as a Board member, Sunday Service leader and founding member of the Undoing Racism Committee. Her expertise as a teacher, media person and poet extended to the larger community where she organized lecture series and train-the-trainer sessions for anti-racism work.

Our love and gratitude extend to these two memorable warriors for peace and justice.


Becky Doggett
The Undoing Racism Committee