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.”
Steve Sanderson submitted the article below.
I’m a newbie to the UU St. Pete experience. Prior to that I’d been pretty much a loner since my departure from my fundamentalist upbringing. The reason I sought out a place, primarily for fellowship was twofold. 1) Quite simply, one cannot really love others in abstract. Only in community is love tested and strengthened. 2) the second is similar to the first, I’ve realized “I need you”, all of you, to hold me up as I am learning to hold you up, to encourage me when I’m feeling down as I want to encourage you and the list could go on. Bottom line, we need each other to grow, love and be loved in a way that can extend “out into the world.”
At St. Pete we not only talk about what needs to change in the world, which happens endlessly in dorms, bars, front/back porches and social media across the nation but are actively involved in coming up with ideas and creating ways to actually influence change in this world. So, although I’m not an academic on the seven UU principles I am in favor of adding the proposed 8th. Why do I say that? Because I’ve been told that among us (UUs nationally and locally) are people of color who felt the need to draft this 8th principle to draw attention to what they viewed as a lack of specificity in the other seven. The seven did not speak sufficiently to their need to be heard, be felt, be understood from their unique viewpoints. The experiences of my brothers and sisters of color are deeply personal and are not only about them, but about all the people lumped into what we weakly refer to as “non-whites.” They are talking to us, saying they/we need the eighth principle to help us be able to not only see them beyond acquaintance, but especially to truly hear them and we need to listen and affirm their voice in an effort to actively dismantle racism—seen and subtle. They have been gracious and trusting enough to request this addition. True fellowship calls us to listen, respond positively and then we need to listen some more as they tell us the experiences of their lives. To listen to their stories, just as we would like to be listened to. It is a sacred gift they offer, and I believe we are worthy of this call to action and will respond with an affirmative, “Yes, brother, Yes, sister – I am listening…”