We are so glad you are interested in the MUUC Anti-Racism Team!
MUUC and Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter banner on the Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church’s lawn is a public proclamation of our church community’s ongoing anti-racism work and support of equity and justice in Melrose and throughout the world. Read our statement here..
Want To Know What We Are Up To?
MUUC is committed to social justice for all. The Anti-Racism Team (“ART” has plans in-the-works for several events for 2020-2021 (of course, the Coronavirus can change things, last-minute, so stay tuned!). We also have lots of resources for you and your families to engage in this important at home. ART’s plans currently include:
- Outreach out to the UU Urban Ministry (“UUUM”) – potential for book study groups within church and in the city
- Working once more with Melrose Human Rights Commission in support of the Annual MLK Day of Service.
- Presenting a worship service (likely in February)
- Coordinating the Giving Tree project during the holiday season.
Please reach out to Josh S (team captain) or Rev. Susanne if you have interest in supporting this vital social justice work in MUUC.
Dismantling White Supremacy
Folks at the UUA put together a helpful framework of “Act, Learn, Give” – things that we can all do to dismantle white supremacy and support Black lives right now. We have added local and MUUC-specific suggestions.
Find out what YOU can do NOW to help Dismantle White Supremacy
“Friends of Melrose METCO”
The Anti-Racism Team has been working with other interested Melrose and Boston residents and started a successful “Friends of Melrose METCO” group. METCO is a voluntary school integration program working with Boston families and suburban schools.
“How To Be An Antiracist”
For the fall of 2020, MUUC is engaged in a book-reading of “How To Be An Antiracist”, by Ibram X. Kendi. From his website: “Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”
“So You Want to Talk About Race”
Last fall, the Anti-Racism Ministry Team sponsored a 2-night book discussion of “So You Want to Talk About Race”, by Ijeoma Oluo. Topics included systemic racism and its affect on the lives of people of color, the school-to-prison pipeline and educational equity, cultural appropriation, the history of racism in America, and the impact of interactions between people of color and the criminal justice system.
Television & Film:
“College Behind Bars”
A great PBS documentary about the criminal justice system and what is and what is not meaningful and real rehabilitation. People of color constitute the majority of the 2.1 million people who are imprisoned today in our country. An in-depth, 4 hour documentary that details the struggles and successes of inmates who are also students working towards college degrees while serving time in the New York correctional system. Click for the online viewing of each of the four PBS episodes.
“White Lies” Podcast
We invite everyone to listen to the incredible
podcast series, “White Lies”, created by NPR
regarding the murder of UU Minister Rev. James Reeb
during the Civil Rights events in 1965.
“METCO Advocacy Day” Rally at the Massachusetts State House,Tuesday March 19, 2019
A rally was held at the Massachusetts State House to support more complete funding for the METCO program in the state’s annual budget. Along with other residents of Melrose, MUUC showed their support as members of a host community to the METCO families from Boston who entrust their children to our school system every day.
Then-Rep. (now Mayor) Paul Brodeur invited us to come to his office after the rally.
To learn more about the Advocacy Day, see: metcoinc.org/upcoming-events/advocacy/
To learn more about METCO, see metcoinc.org.
Note the 2020 METCO Advocacy Day had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus. (photos above and below belong to METCO, Inc.)
“METCO: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” Presentation and Discussion
MUUC’s Anti-Racism Team hosted a well-attended and informative presentation of this film about the METCO program in February 2019. Attendees engaged in a Q&A session afterwards with a great panel of folks from METCO (alums, administrators, parents, and the film’s producer, Natalie Guthrie) who graciously stayed beyond the scheduled time. Then-State Representative Paul Brodeur (now Mayor), school committee members, Melrose Human Rights Commission members, MUUC members, and other citizens across the area attended. This short film was also presented during the 2020 MLK Day of Service.
City-Wide MLK Day of Service
On the city-wide MLK Day of Service, hundreds people from all over Melrose come to MUUC to sign up for service activities across the city.
In addition, MUUC has offered to host presentations from the White People Challenging Racism (WPCR) programs including the history of racism and housing in Melrose, and on Indigenous Peoples Day in Melrose.
Breakfast (coffee & pastries) and pizza for lunch are provided by local stores and served at MUUC.
Note the 2020 MLK Day of Service had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus.
Melrose Human Rights Commission
In the process of planning for the MLK Day of Service, the Anti-Racism Ministry Team has established strong connections with the Melrose Human Rights Commission (www.cityofmelrose.org/human-rights-commission) We will continue to be a part of this organizations efforts, including attending their meetings and being on their email lists so we are notified whenever MUUC can take action and be of service.
(image credit: Melrose Human Rights Commission)
Stronger Connections with BLUU
The Anti-Racism Team is looking to establish deeper connections with “BLUU: Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism” (www.blacklivesuu.com/). Our goal is for presentations and church-wide commitments to come from these connections. Rev. Susanne is committed to keeping us connected to BLUU, using their resources for our worship and programs.
(image credit: Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism)
Movies and Documentaries
We are also looking into presentations of documentaries and movies for adults and for children. Among the suggestions include:
“Akeela and the Bee” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akeelah_and_the_Bee)
A story about an 11-year old girl who participates in the national spelling bee. The director, Doug Atchison, was inspired to write the story when he noticed that a most of the children who participate in the spelling bee come from well-to-do backgrounds. He wanted to portray the complexity of stereotypes regarding African Americans, particularly the impact on children, their communities, and their school system.
“Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities” (www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/tell-them-we-are-rising/).
The hope is that the showing of this documentary will coincide with the “Giving Beyond Our Walls” recipient for the month of May 2019, the United Negro College Fund (www.uncf.org/). An Independent Lens documentary shown on PBS, HBCU’s are described on the website as being “havens” for Black intellectuals, artists, and revolutionaries, being “unapologetically black”, and telling the story of Americans who refused to be denied a higher education, thereby “creating a set of institutions that would influence and shape the landscape of the country for centuries to come.”
Read a Book!
Racism is Not Just Black and White
At the Anti-Racism team’s first meeting, the team voted to support the effort in Melrose to endorse Indigenous People’s Day. We are planning to ask the Church Board if MUUC can proceed to officially endorse it, and we will then include discussions among church membership. MUUC also hosted the Indigenous People’s Day presentation at the MLK Day of Service. Anti-Racism is not just Black and White – we are doing research to include additional opportunities to include Asian, Indigenous, and Latinx/Hispanic offerings as well, so stay tuned!
All are welcome to be involved in the Anti-Racism Team!