8th Principle Member Reflections

Reflections on Building a Beloved Community

This page will be updated periodically with reflections from members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington.

In response to the writing prompt “What astonishes you?”

February 23, 2021

I am astonished by the awakening that is taking place in this country around the issues of equity and social justice. More and more people are stepping outside of their comfort zones in a sincere effort to right the wrongs that have been laid bare in the past year. When people KNOW better, they usually do better. It’s like the Winston Churchill quote “America always does the right thing after it has tried everything else.” I am not astonished that our youth, of all races, took to the streets in record numbers, in cities large and small, forcefully and fearlessly stating, BLACK LIVES MATTER.  I’m just astonished that it took so long for everybody else to catch up.

Phillip Andrew Stroud

In response to an invitation to respond to the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson.

February 23, 2021

I’m reading Caste–about halfway through it. And, oh my, so many things that I knew about, in general, through my reading of historical novels, Warmth of Other Suns, etc, and personal experiences with POC, but to read her detailed accounts of the different means of creating a subordinate caste, of torture, experiments, public dismemberment, etc, keeps playing over and over in my mind’s eye. And that the US caste system was what Nazi Germany studied and based their dehumanizing of Jews! Something I didn’t know.

How does it apply to my work with people who are incarcerated? Whew! How does it not apply since all of the people that Bill and I know and/or advocate for have been and are prime examples of this caste system. The creation of and continuation of scapegoats; the blaming and shaming; the poverty and race cards; the need to have someone that we as the white privileged group can be better than. It makes me see the white on black violence in prisons differently. The White prisoners–even in their common situations–have to keep themselves above the Black prisoners as their means to having any worth at all. Not just a hatred of Blacks but a means to their own dignity.

The book is hard–not my usual night time reading, but I’m grateful for Wilkerson’s research and truth telling. My mind and heart have been opened even more. I need to be anti-racist/anti-caste in everything, with every person I’m involved with. More intentional. More courageous. More outspoken. Don’t know how that’s going to play out but it’s what I’m feeling. Peace,

Glenda Breeden