While strolling through the General Assembly bookstore this past summer and promising myself not to buy yet another book (as it would likely have to be added to my very long list of “to be read” books), I came across the following title: “Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything.” The book was co-written by Becky Bond and Zack Exley who were key architects of Bernie Sanders’ grass-roots organization that led him to the cusp of winning the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The book had twenty-two rules for “big organizing.”
Because I’ve always been interested in organizing, I wondered what big organizing might be. “Hey, aren’t those some UU necklaces over there?” I asked Tammy in an attempt to throw her off my trail. While she was distracted with UU bling, I bought the book.
Back home, I began looking at the twenty-two rules more closely and I found rule number four most interesting; it seemed almost out of place for a book about political organizing.
Rule #4: Fighting Racism Must Be at the Core of the Message to Everyone.
I could understand most of the other rules.
Rule # 5: Get on the Phone!
Rule #9: Fight the Tyranny of the Annoying
Rule #16: Best Practices Become Worst Practices
…. But Rule #4 seemed out of place.
Their argument for the inclusion of Rule #4 comes in three parts:
- Racism is immoral, unjust and unethical.
- To build the kind of momentum necessary to completely re-invent America will require a mass movement that simply has to be multiracial and multicultural – one that includes people from all walks of life (i.e. mass movements simply aren’t possible by simply targeting specific categories of voters).
- Racism is the dysfunctional, systemic core to most all society’s problems to the extent that attempting to solve the problems without addressing the core is pointless.
As Unitarian Universalists, I believe we understand that racism is immoral (argument one). I believe we are trying our best to be open and welcoming to all (argument 2). I’m not sure we all understand the depth of racism’s dysfunction. I’m not sure we understand how the tentacles of a systemically racist culture are entwined around all aspects of what it means to be an American.
At UUMAN, we hope to understand this better. We will be offering a facilitated workshop following a proven curriculum offered by the First Unitarian Church of Richmond called “Living the Pledge.” It will be offered once a month for two hours each session for a total of eight sessions.
If you had time for only a single social justice initiative this year, attending the Living the Pledge workshops should probably be that initiative. (I know it would be the one I’d choose.)
Living the Pledge Workshop Dates
Time:12 – 2 pm
Location: UUMAN Sanctuary
Childcare will be provided.
Please contact Dave Dunn to signup: firstname.lastname@example.org