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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Racism As I See It
Submitted by Jane Gaertner and Anneliese Scherfen on behalf of the Undoing Racism Committee
Mass incarceration, lack of universal health care or good parental leave laws, “this is all the legacy of racism and slavery and it’s hurting everyone,” said Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the NYTimes “1619 Project” (https://pulitzercenter.org/sites/default/files/full_issue_of_the_1619_project.pdf ) at a recent NJPAC event. Her focus is the centrality of slavery to the United States of America. This year marks 400 years since the first enslaved people were brought to the shores of what is now the United States of America. The Undoing Racism Committee coordinated with a variety of community groups to commemorate this solemn anniversary, with a vision to work for a Just Future. The September film series linked legacy of enslavement to the disparities in the current criminal justice system. Dionne Ford spoke at the Montclair Public Library about Slavery’s Descendants, her book with stories of reconciliations and reparations. The Montclair History Center held a tour focused on Montclair’s African American history. We held a rally, march & play on October 24th. Andrea McChristian of New Jersey Institute for Social Justice asked the crowds to join NJISJ to work to close New Jersey’s youth prisons, restore the voting rights of current and formerly incarcerated, and demand reparative justice in New Jersey. Montclair State University students, alum, and NAACP Collegiate Chapter members staged a powerful reading of a short play based on 1882 NY Times interviews of two people born into slavery in New Jersey. The reading was followed by a panel discussion that centered on the not so distant history of slavery in New Jersey.
Progress Towards a Just Future also includes intersectional work with the LGBTQ community. The final program in our 400 years series presented Rev. Dr. Traci C. West, activist scholar, on how do we address methods of achieving anti-racist solidarity and ending gender violence, and how do we expand our work and be held accountable? These are but a few moments looking back and looking forward. The work is still needed, the work continues.
Proud of Township Proclamation- Undoing Racism Committee and Social Justice Coalition
On October 29th, through work with the Undoing Racism Committee and others, Montclair Township issued a proclamation (tinyurl.com/400-years-proclamation) recognizing 400 Years of Inequality. Thanks to Eileen Birmingham, Johanna Foster, Wendy McNeil and Anneliese Scherfen, who worked with the Civil Rights Commission and Dr. Rene Baskerville, 4th Ward council member, to remember the struggles and victories of those Africans and their descendents, as well as the indigenous people of this land whose land was stolen from them. We are grateful that Rev. Scott was present for the proclamation’s reading. Please take a few moments to take cognizance of this event and participate in future events as you can. You can visit the YouTube link (https://youtu.be/gybBmvuS6Ko ) to see the Montclair Council Meeting excerpt Oct. 29, 2019.
If you would like more information about URC, please email email@example.com.
Participating in an immigration rally on June 17, 2018.
Our November 13, 2019 event, “Intersections: Ending Gender Violence, Finding Anti-Racist Solidarity,” led by Rev. Dr. Tracy C. West (photo courtesy of Mary Moriarty).