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 align with our Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism.
The Anti-Racism Team meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7pm. Please reach out to team captain Josh S or email Rev. Susanne if you have a question. All are welcome!
Acknowledgement of Land and People
The Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church is located on the traditional and ancestral land of the Pawtucket people of the Massachusett (Massachuseuck) Federation of Tribes. We honor and give thanks to the people of the Massachusett past and present, the original stewards of this land on which we gather.
In October 2021, Reverend Susanne Intriligator presented the story of our church’s land, acknowledging the painful history leading to its transfer to European colonizers in 1637 from Squaw Sachem of the Mistick, leader of the last Native people to hold it (October 10, 2021 MUUC Worship Service). You can learn more and support Indigenous neighbors by visiting the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness at https://www.mcnaa.org and the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda, which lobbies for native justice at the state level, at maindigenousagenda.org.
Opening Doors: Watch the Trailer!
Opening Doors: Race, Conversation, and Song
Go to the Opening Doors website to watch the shows and learn more.
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.
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.
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)
Local Anti-Racist Resources We Support
* Melrose Racial Justice Community Coalition. The Melrose Racial Justice Community Coalition (RJCC) is an anti-racism organization founded in May 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. We are committed to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the city of Melrose, with a specific focus on racial and ethnic representation at all levels of city government and in our schools.
Click here for the RJCC Facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/melroserjcc
* The Wakefield Antiracism Group (WAG) and Temple Beth Shalom coordinate Conversations Unpacking Whiteness courses. Contact Beth Y at MUUC for information about upcoming 5-week, 2 hour/week courses.
* White People Challenging Racism. The website provides up-to-the-minute info about courses and events around the state. Melrose has a local WPCR Alumni group.
Click here for the WCPR website: www.wpcr-boston.org/
* Fighting for Black Lives in our Neighborhoods (FBLN).
Click here for the FBLN Facebook page: www.facebook.com/FBLNMelrose/
* Mayor’s Anti-Racism Task Force
Click here for the Mayor’s Anti-Racism Task Force website:
* Melrose METCO and Friends of Melrose METCO (FOMM) has partnered with Metafold in Boston. METCO is a voluntary school integration program working with Boston families and suburban schools. Click here for more information about FOMM:
Click here for the Metafold website:
Click here for the METCO website:
* North Shore Juneteenth Association Inc. is a group of community leaders seeking to create awareness about the Juneteenth holiday, educate the broader community about positive aspects of Black American culture, and dismantle racism by using events and programming as a tool for change. Visit the website for more information on how you can get involved and to see what programs we have hosted
Click here for the North Shore Juneteenth Association website:
* Malden Community Organizing for Racial Equity (MaldenCORE) is a volunteer-led group in the City of Malden that is dedicated to undoing racism in our public schools and community.
Click here for the MaldenCore Facebook page:
Racism is Not Just Black and White
At the Anti-Racism team’s first meeting in 2018, 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 has 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”
In the fall of 2020, MUUC was 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”
In 2019, 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.
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 showing of this documentary coincided 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.”