MUUC is committed to social justice for all and we understand that we must work proactively to achieve this goal, including the work of dismantling the system of white supremacy.
Our goal is to foster a congregational and community-wide understanding of white supremacy as a dominant culture that “privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred”. For us, being anti-racist includes an open examination of our own actions, biases, and behavior; as well as reflecting on ways in which we have benefited from structural and institutional racism. These actions, especially when fused with our Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism, will help us become authentic allies in the fight against racism.
The Anti-Racism Team meets remotely on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00pm. Please reach out to team captain Josh S or Rev. Susanne if you have an interest in supporting this vital social justice work at MUUC. All are welcome!
Opening Doors: Race, Conversation, and Song
Opening Doors is a new music and interview series hosted by Alastair Moock and presented in collaboration with the Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church’s Anti-Racism Team. The series features top national and largely BIPOC talent playing music and discussing issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion –– within the music industry and beyond. Guest musicians are paid a guarantee by the church and, additionally, split online donations with an advocacy/charity organization of their choice. Shows stream live on Facebook and YouTube.
Click here for on-demand replays and more info.
Organizations We Support
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.
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.
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.
MUUC Collection Plate for UNCF
The Giving Beyond Our Walls recipient for May 2019 was the United Negro College Fund (“UNCF”).
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.
Racism is Not Just Black and White
At the Anti-Racism team’s first meeting, the team voted to support the citywide effort in Melrose to endorse Indigenous People’s Day, which saw successful implementation in 2020. 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 for additional opportunities to include Asian, Indigenous, and Latinx/Hispanic offerings as well.
City-Wide MLK Day of Service
On the city-wide MLK Day of Service, hundreds of people from all over Melrose come to MUUC to sign up for service activities across the city. Breakfast (coffee & pastries) and pizza for lunch are provided by local stores and served at MUUC.
MUUC also hosted 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
“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 effect 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.
“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.
“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. 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:
To learn more about METCO, see metcoinc.org.
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.
Documentaries & Podcasts:
“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.
“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.
“Akeela 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“
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.