Dismantling Racism Program Launches

For the past four years ERUUF has had a strategic initiative aimed at helping the Fellowship understand who we are in the context of an increasingly diverse, multicultural community, and to build the skills needed to live out our Unitarian Universalist values in a multicultural context--both inside our walls and in the communities around us. As part of this ongoing effort, the Board of Trustees and Multicultural Team together applied for and received major financial support from the Eno River Fellowship Foundation. Grateful for this funding, we’re excited to launch a major congregation-wide initiative called “Dismantling Racism.”

Why Dismantling Racism?
ERUUF has been actively concerned about racial justice from its very inception. This new program is designed to support and deepen our ongoing commitment to racial equity. Systemic racism is deeply embedded in our society, and each and every one of us is impacted by the depth and destructiveness of racism. But without taking time to learn together, we may not be fully aware of its pervasive effects. Just like fish that are unaware of the water in which they swim, and despite our best intentions, we are hindered by the system of racism from being able to fully live from our core values as individuals and as a community.

Engaging in the practice of Dismantling Racism is one way we can honor our commitment to our own humanity and the humanity of everyone. This initiative will build on our core principles which affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and the interdependent web--the “inescapable network of mutuality” of which we are a part. ERUUF’s leaders believe that by doing this work together, ERUUF members can have a more effective presence and impact in our local communities and beyond.

What does Dismantling Racism involve?
ERUUF is partnering with a Durham-based organization called “Dismantling Racism Works” (dRWorks) that has extensive experience helping people and organizations who want to build and live into a commitment to racial equity. Their approach is to develop a common language and a shared understanding of the history of racism in our society, including our history of oppression and white privilege. The Dismantling Racism process is intended to build community and shared commitment. It is work that builds on our strengths and serves our mission and vision. This work can quite naturally lead to profound changes in the way individuals and organizations choose to live out their values with each other and in community. The Dismantling Racism initiative consists of three phases:

Phase 1: Organizational Assessment
In this phase, we seek to understand our organizational strengths, challenges, capacity, and accountability to community and values. We also identify people to help with logistics for the next phases. This assessment phase has already been underway for the past few months.

Phase 2: Dismantling Racism Workshop
This is a two-day intensive and interactive training led by experienced dRWorks facilitators. To keep the workshops interactive, they are limited to a maximum of 40 participants. ERUUF has scheduled two workshops this fall for 40 people each, so a total of 80 ERUUF members can participate. The workshop dates are Sept. 4-5 and Oct. 2-3. We hope to provide additional workshops in the coming year so that more people can participate.

Phase 3: Planning and Taking Action
Following the two workshops, dRWorks will help ERUUF develop goals for future programs and activities that incorporate racial equity goals and plans into our programs and priorities. This “action planning” phase is crucial to our implementing our increased awareness into how we live out our values as a congregation, with one another and in the community.

How can you get involved?
ERUUF members are invited to participate in one of the workshops in either of two ways:

  1. Any member is encouraged to apply to attend one of the workshops. Your application would include a commitment to participate in one of the workshops (the commitment is for both days, all day) and to work together with other ERUUFians to deepen our understanding of racism in community with one another.

  2. A certain number of spaces will be held for invited leaders, staff, and active members of key groups whose roles would be especially enhanced by the dismantling racism training. Examples include social justice groups, RE teachers, greeters and visitor hosts, affinity group leaders, and others.

The Fall workshops are now filled, but we will be scheduling more workshops, probably in the Spring, 2016. If you would like to be placed on the wait list and be notified when additional workshops are scheduled, please fill out the Wait List and Notification Request below. (Everyone who applied for one of the Fall workshops will be notified by July 12 about the status of their application).

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page or talk with any member of the Change Team, which is coordinating the Dismantling Racism Program: Diane Blount, Linda Brooks, Tom Fletcher, Dan Grandstaff, P. Quick Hall, Maria Martin, Lillie Searles, or Rev. Deborah Cayer. You can also email your questions to .