The MUUC Anti-Racism team held its first meeting August 25 – online – and welcomed several new members.
Discussion included an update from the Friends of Melrose METCO, who are building connections between Melrose and Boston families involved in the program.
Plans for activities involve:
- 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.
The Anti-Racism Ministry Team is very grateful for the leadership of Garin B, who this year begins service on the MUUC Board. Josh S agreed to assume leadership of the Team.
The Team will be consulting with the Board about the continuing the work of ministry teams this church year. Stay tuned for updates.
Please reach out to Josh or Rev. Susanne if you have interest in supporting this vital social justice work in MUUC.
“Friends of Melrose METCO”
The Anti-Racism Team has been working with other interested Melrose residents and started a “Friends of Melrose METCO” group along with Boston parents. The Anti-Racism Ministry team invites ANYONE who is interested in participating in this group to join.
In early 2020, FOMM was able to set up a “Friends of Melrose METCO” scholarship for a graduating METCO student. Tax deductible contributions were made through the Melrose High School Permanent Scholarship Fund.
(For the 2021 scholarship, checks may be sent directly to the Melrose High School Permanent Scholarship Fund or contributions can be made on line via http://www.mhsfund.org/donate.html includes all instructions. Please indicate your donation is for the “2021 Friends of Melrose METCO Scholarship“. Thank you for your support!)
“So You Want to Talk About Race”
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.
“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 HERE 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. Click for more information.
“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 Presentation and Discussion”, Feb 25 2019
MUUC’s Anti-Racism Team hosted a well-attended and informative presentation of a film about the METCO program. Thirty-seven attendees engaged in a Q&A session afterwards with a great panel of folks from METCO (alums, administrators, parents) 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.
City-Wide MLK Day of Service, Jan 21, 2019
On the city-wide MLK Day of Service, despite being bitterly cold and windy, over 150 people came to MUUC to sign up for service activities across Melrose – several dozen late-arrivals headed directly to the service opportunity locations after sign-up was completed, so it was over 150!
In addition, 40 people attended White People Challenging Racism (WPCR) programs upstairs in MUUC’s 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!
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)
On the Anti-Racism’s Team “to-do” list was a re-presentation of the 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
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!
Josh S. (Captain Extraordinaire!)
Garin B. (Captain Emeritus!)
Mary Lou S.
Reverend Susanne Intriligator