In October the Connections and Outreach Cluster chaired by Hilda Kurtz celebrates the volunteers of the Exploring Racial Justice Task Force. Led by Deb Brenner, the ERJ Task Force members – Ange Kahn, David Jarrett, Nancy MacNair, Karen Solheim, Heather Jensen, Susie Weller, Caryl Sundland, Helene Marotta, Irene Muthe (in memorium), John Muthe, Greg Davis, Steven Pottier, and Ryan Vander Plaats – were active in the Fellowship and in the community.
At UUFA the ERJ invited and sometimes facilitated discussion about how to understand white privilege and how to orient to racial justice as a moral and spiritual challenge. The ERJ designed and facilitated a workshop at the September 2016 Mountain Retreat and led discussions in team members’ Small Group Ministry groups about the congregational read, Waking Up White, by Deborah Irving.
ERJ members also drafted a resolution on racial justice which they shared throughout UUFA groups and then incorporated Fellowship members’ feedback into the final wording. At the May 2017 Congregational meeting UUFA members voted to approve the document titled “A Resolution: Racial Justice and Equity.”
ERJ members also met individually with members who had responded to an ERJ straw poll on using a Black Lives Matter banner at UUFA. After discussions, the Social Action Committee obtained a Black Lives Matter banner and has used it within UUFA as well as at marches, protests and events in the community.
The ERJ joined others in the Social Action Committee to represent the Fellowship at public events such as a July 2016 rally at City Hall and the MLK parade in January 2017. Deb Brenner joined the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement’s downtown sticker campaign, canvassing downtown businesses to ask them to post a sticker on their front windows indicating that they do not discriminate. Deb remains involved in the sticker campaign and was recruiting volunteers recently at the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement event organized in response to the Charlottesville violence.
In honor of the members of the ERJ Task Force, during the October 22 services the Volunteer Recognition Committee will make a donation to the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement.