Learning and Listening To Each Other When Harm is Experienced – A Message from the 8th Principle Team

A Message from the 8th Principle Team shared at the April 21, 2024 8th principle moment during the service

At a recent event at UUCW, offensive language was used as part of a public reading. While the author acknowledged including the language as part of the introduction to the piece, a number of attendees experienced the language as hurtful.  

Over the past several weeks, members of the 8th Principle Team and others at UUCW have been discussing this experience and using it as an opportunity to address our values as a congregation.  We have thought seriously about how we as a community should engage in repair and follow-up.  We have also been mindful that there is value in holding space to grow and learn from actions that can cause harm, both as individuals and as an organization.

This type of reflection is at the heart of our commitment to the 8th principle. The 8th principle calls us to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions. Our work is to build sensitivity towards how our everyday actions can be unintentionally hurtful and to develop our ability to intervene and follow-up when we notice or hear about experiences of harm – whether intentionally or unintentionally caused. 

Addressing these incidents, while vital to our principles, does not mean that we wish to condemn or reject anyone who unintentionally causes harm.  We hope that we can move forward and continue to have these discussions from a place of love and inclusion.

To our community, including our youth, visitors, and the broader community, we:

  • affirm that it is never ok to use racial and ethnic slurs;
  • offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who felt impacted or hurt;
  • commit to continue working to build more support and regular practices to prevent and respond to situations where harm is experienced in the future, and
  • invite you to engage with us for further conversation or reflection, if interested.

If you’d like to join in conversation about how to create welcoming and inclusive spaces and to discuss the interplay between language and inclusion, the 8th Principle Team will host a special discussion session on Tuesday, April 23rd at 6:30pm on zoom.

CLICK HERE to join the online conversation @ 6:30 pm, Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

In Love, the 8th Principle Taskforce

Rachel Keyo

Mara Pentlarge

Dave Showalter

Karen Stepenson

Emily Stolarski

Evan Wilson