By Cheri Taylor, Membership Development Coordinator
Growing up in Milwaukee, I was constantly reminded of everything I was not. I was reminded by my school friends that I stayed in what they classified as the “ghetto” since I did not live in the suburbs like they did. I was reminded I was not a boy when I decided to run for school president, and that maybe it was more appropriate for me to run as secretary. I was reminded when I was talked out of going to Xavier University, a school in New Orleans because I would not have the power to compete with my white peers back in the north. I was also reminded when I went to Marquette University when questions were posed to me in which I somehow became the “black voice” in the class. As a black woman, I face a double-edged sword of oppression, I am everything that the white man is not. My skin has been soaked in melanin, and my children and I do not hide behind the mask of privilege because we have none.
When it comes to my work of dismantling racism and oppression, I am hopeful but aware, that dismantling a system that has been perpetuated for hundreds of years will not happen easily or in my lifetime. Unitarian Universalism, has been built by both white and brown people, but it far from perfect. It is a liberal faith of justice and love that still lives and breathes the air of injustice. Therefore, what we see happening in the UUA regarding unfair hiring practices and a faith that is still predominantly white- is happening in individual congregations in a variety of ways.
Therefore, dismantling white supremacy is a task for each of us to understand and take on- here in church and in our communities. It is what our faith and principles call us to do. I hope that as we begin to talk about this more, you will understand that it is about the system at large and how we are all part of it, but we can lead the change, it just begins within ourselves.
First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee is a home for spiritual community, social justice, and intellectual freedom, active in Milwaukee since 1842. Unitarian Universalism is an inclusive denomination; core principles include recognition of the worth and dignity of every person; respect for the interdependent web of existence; and the goal of world peace, liberty and justice.