Your Anti-Racism Team Is Off to a Big Start!
Hosting MLK Day of Service, 2019
Recently, on the city-wide MLK Day of Service (Jan 21), despite being bitterly cold and windy, 150 people came to MUUC to “officially” sign up for service activities across Melrose – several dozen late-arrivals headed directly to the service opportunity locations.
In addition, 40 people attended White People Challenging Racism’s (WPCR) programs upstairs at MUUC in our Parish Hall, with presentations on the history of racism and housing in Melrose, and on Indigenous Peoples Day in Melrose.
Although this was not the first MLK Day of Service “kickoff” at MUUC, it was the first that was planned and supported by our new Anti-Racism Ministry Team!
A breakfast of coffee and pastries was provided by Panera, and a lunch of pizza was provided by Gabriella’s Pizza of Melrose. MUUC folks set up tables for registration and chairs for lunch, kept the Supper Room clean, and helped guide our visitors by answering any questions they had. Many Thanks To All Who Participated – and A Very Special Thank You to our sexton Tom, who, among many tasks, kept our walkways safe and free of ice!
Melrose Human Rights Commission
In the process of planning for the MLK Day of Service, we 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)
Planning a METCO Presentation
On our to-do list is a presentation of a METCO video that was shown on the MLK Day of Service at the First United Methodist Church. This presentation explains the METCO program (www.doe.mass.edu/metco/) with information on how to become a METCO host family. Melrose has participated in the METCO program for many years, with children from Boston attending the Melrose Public School system.
Stronger Connections with BLUU
We are also 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” (www.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.”
Reading a Book Together
A book discussion will happen in the fall (once the book we want is released in paperback!). In the meantime, to celebrate Black History Month:
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 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!
Garin B. (captain)
Mary Lou S.
Reverend Susanne Intriligator