It’s been an amazing year at ERUUF. A generous member challenged us last December; they would match what members could raise dollar for dollar up to $250,000. Members stepped up and we more than met the match. As a result ERUUF has been able to pay off its $104,000 mortgage and put the rest into a reserve fund for scheduled maintenance (the big stuff that needs replacing and repair—and we will still cover our normal “wear and tear expenses” out of the funds we each contribute annually—as we should). Alleluia!!
And yet all this comes in a time when the Durham Herald Sun has been running a series on our local economic boom, the building downtown, and how all this affects our low income neighbors. In some neighborhoods developers snatch up homes for pennies on the dollar that residents can’t afford to maintain, then renovate and sell the properties at huge profit. Since long-time home owners, most of whom are People of Color, don’t realize the greatest profits, the remnant of wealth remaining in Durham’s historically Black communities is flowing out at stunning rates.
In the midst of such significant changes, I’m inspired by long time fellowship members who have a strong commitment to all of Durham. ERUUF was recently recognized as the group that contributes the most annual volunteer hours at Urban Ministries. And for the past several years Durham CAN, our local community organizing group that works on jobs, affordable housing, and community policing has had an office here on our campus, and we’ve become increasingly active members with them. Our commitment to dismantling systemic racism is significant in all this, because it helps us become partners who better understand the issues and increase our skill at following the lead of local People of Color who are fighting for their rights.
In a time when the winds of change are blowing fiercely, Unitarian Universalists have a great moral compass in the form of our principles and liberal religious values—justice, equity, and compassion just to name a few. At ERUUF we’re using these important tools as guidance to find meaningful, impactful ways to transform life for ourselves and our neighbors.