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@gmail.com.

Rally for a Just Future & March to UUCM for Premiere of
“Just as Cruel”: Enslaved in Essex County—In Their Own Words 1882

Thursday, Oct. 24
6–7 pm Rally; 7-7:20 pm March

Part I: Rally & March—A Just Future in NJ—NJ Reparative Justice & Closing Youth Prisons

Rally speakers include area ministers, activists, and New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Location: 12 Church Street Plaza, Montclair

Thursday, Oct. 24
7:30-9 pm

Part II: “Just as Cruel”: Enslaved in Essex County—In Their Own Words 1882

A short play of an 1882 New York Times interview of two of the last NJ residents born into slavery adapted and performed by NAACP Collegiate Chapter at Montclair State University, followed by panel discussion. 

Co-Sponsored with Collegiate Chapter of NAACP at Montclair State University and Montclair History Center

Location: UUCM, 67 Church Street, Fletcher Hall, Montclair


Intersections: Ending Gender Violence, Finding Anti-Racist Solidarity

Wed., Nov. 13, 2019
8–9:30 pm
Location: UUCM, Peierls Room, 67 Church Street, Montclair

With Dr. Traci C. West, activist scholar

UUCM Program Co-Sponsored by UUCM’s Undoing Racism Committee and
Out Front: Sexuality and Gender Alliance.

Can we find solidarity in an anti-racist approach to ending gender violence, especially the targeting of black lesbians? Traci West will focus on her book, Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality and its examples of the role of spirituality, religion, and race in anti-violence strategies. The book includes interviews with activist-leaders who address gender-based violence in Ghana, Brazil, and South Africa and analysis of how we, in the U.S., might learn from them and form solidarity. She will lead us in discussing both the challenges and helpful resources we can find in a vision of gender justice that intentionally confronts prejudices based on race, sexuality, and nation.

Rev. Dr. Traci C. West is an activist scholar who serves as Professor of Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School. She is ordained in the United Methodist Church and the author of Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality: Africana Lessons on Religion, Racism, and Ending Gender Violence (2019); Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter (2006); Wounds of the Spirit: Black Women Violence, and Resistance Ethics (1999); and editor of Our Family Values: Same-sex Marriage and Religion (2006). She has also published many articles and book chapters on sexual, gender, and racial justice, gender-based intimate violence, and clergy ethics. She has been involved in supporting the full equality of LGBTQ persons in church and society and teaching in NJ state prisons. 


Racism As I See It
Submitted by Anneliese Scherfen on behalf of the Undoing Racism Committee.

As I make my way through Ibram X. Kendi’s crucial tome, Stamped From the Beginning, I am simultaneously devastated and empowered. We may know that the roots of racism run deep in the United States but Kendi lays out exactly how race and racism were cruelly created and perpetuated by slave owners in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable enslavement of human beings. August 20, 2019 marked 400 years since Africans were first brought to and sold in what is now the United States of America. 400 years later, freedom continues to be aspirational. August 9, 2019 marked five years since 18-year old Michael Brown was murdered by a White police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, adding yet another Black person’s name to neither the beginning or end of a seemingly infinite list of Black people subjected to White violence, violence perpetrated with impunity. Michael Brown’s death was just one instance of unpunished White violence that forced many to open their eyes to see the systemic racism about which antiracists have been warning our society centuries. 

As I mentioned, I am also empowered by Kendi’s text. Even as I stand among the oppressors, continuing to benefit from the long history of oppression, I am empowered to continue to examine my role in that oppression and to try to find and participate in the work to dismantle it. One such effort is my work on a research team at UUCM examining the use of force by police in Montclair. Based on population, a Black person in Montclair is 490%* more likely to have force used on them than a White person. Freedom continues to be aspirational.

 * https://force.nj.com/database/pd-dept/montclair-essex


If you would like more information about URC, please email uucmurc@gmail.com

Participating in an immigration rally on June 17, 2018.