Dismantling Racism Study Group

Why We Are Here

Here, today, in this place and with these people,
May we listen so that we can hear;
May we hear so that we can feel;
May we feel so that we may know, and
May we know so that we can change ourselves and this world.
May this chalice we light,
Light our Way

by Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom

The Dismantling Racism study group was formed in 2019 to engage Canadian Unitarian Universalists in conversation to identify efforts and explore possible actions to dismantle racism in our communities.

In the summer of 2020, the study group circulated a survey to learn about perceptions and experiences of racism in our congregations. Interest in the survey surged following the death of George Floyd in May 2020 in the US and the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests that occurred as a result.

The group presented their Preliminary Report in October 2020.

The CUC Dismantling Racism Final Report 2021 (large print version here) on that national survey was released in May 2021. It includes an analysis of the preliminary data and recommendations for further action toward dismantling racism in ourselves, our communities, and our congregations.

At the CUC’s Annual General Meeting on May 8, 2021, an unexpected motion was proposed to adopt an 8th principle, which reads ““We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote: “Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and other oppressions in ourselves and in our institutions.” Although ruled out of order, delegates voted to suspend the rules of order, and subsequently voted in favour of adopting the 8th principle. However, on review after the AGM, it was deemed that the CUC’s bylaws regarding providing sufficient notice had not been followed, and the motion was thus void and non-binding.

A Way Forward for the 8th Principle Process” was a proposal for proceeding that culminated in a vote at a Special Meeting on November 27, 2021. The delegates present voted 96% in favour of adopting an 8th Principle:
:We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions.”
Nous, assemblées membres du Conseil unitarien du Canada, sommes vouées à la reconnaissance et à la promotion des principes suivants Les actions collectives et individuelles visant à démanteler responsablement le racisme et les obstacles systémiques limitant la pleine inclusion au sein de nos institutions et en nous-mêmes.

The members of the study group reflect racial, regional and generational diversity:

Beverly Horton (Hamilton) – Co-Chair
Rev. Julie Stoneberg (Peterborough) – Co-chair
Douglas Ennenberg (Vancouver)
Charmaine Ferworn (Mississauga)
Ashlyn Noble (Winnipeg)
Pamela Smith-Loeters (Mississauga)
Catherine Strickland (North Shore, Vancouver)
Tamiko Suzuki (Vancouver)

If you would like to share a personal story of your experience of racism, the Study Group would like to hear from you. You can contact them at dismantling-racism@cuc.ca