Why I support adopting the 8th Principle?

The Proposed 8th Principle:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

Kelly Patton submitted the article below:

I support the 8th principle because Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) UUs have asked for it. Because BIPOC members of our own congregation have asked for it. For me, it is not about reaching outside these walls, it is about supporting the people who are already here. I want everyone to feel a sense of belonging, and to know that we will put our beliefs into action to truly live out our principles. But I also support the 8th principle for myself, because racism and oppression hurts all of us. White supremacy culture hurts all of us.

I am a white person who grew up in a diverse neighborhood. I went to a school where I did not feel like I was part of any kind of majority or any dominant culture. Yet I was still afforded privileges because of the color of my skin. I was still part of the white supremacy culture. But I was also harmed by it.

When I was in first grade, there was a boy in my class named Dominic. Everyone liked him. He was funny, fun to be around, kind, and outgoing. He always shared his toys, and whenever he saw a kid sitting by themselves he would invite them to join in whatever activity he was doing. He made every one of us feel included. When his attention was on you, you felt like the most important person in the room.

Every Halloween, the younger kids would parade around the school in costumes, and the older kids would hand out candy. My first grade class was getting ready to line up and we had to pick a buddy to walk with. The most amazing thing happened that day, Dominic picked me to be his buddy. I was overjoyed. We walked around the school together, laughing, and having a great time.

After the parade was over, my teacher pulled me aside. She told me to be careful around Dominic and not to spend too much time with him. She said he was a “bad kid” and she did not want me to be influenced by him. I was devastated. I didn’t understand how he could possibly be bad. He was always so nice to me. But I trusted my teacher and assumed there must be some darker truth I was unaware of. I was still nice to him after that but I kept my distance. I did not realize until many years later that it wasn’t about who Dominic was as a person, whether he was a good or bad kid. My white teacher just wanted me, a white girl, to stay away from Dominic because he was black.

I support the 8th principle for the little boy and girl who both lost a friend that day. For all of us who have missed out on relationships because of structural racism. I support the 8th principle for everyone who has been harmed by racism and oppression. And I want to belong to a church that not only shares those values but lives them. Because I believe that if we lift each other up, we all rise.