Commitment to Racial Equity

SOPHIA's Racial Equity Team meets monthly -- please join us!

Interested in Racial Justice? Contact us at wauksophiacom@gmail.com and we will reach out to you shortly!

Learn & Take Action

One of our members, Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church, publishes a twice monthly Black Lives Matter Learn & Take Action opportunity. We will be sharing some of those on this page.

February 2021 #2

LEARN – If you watched Remembering Bronzeville about Milwaukee’s Black neighborhood (watch it free HERE), you learned a bit about blockbusting. HERE is blockbusting defined. HERE is more about how blockbusting affected (and still affects) segregation in our neighborhoods and contributes to systemic racism. A deeper dive into the history of blockbusting in Milwaukee is available HERE.


TAKE ACTION – Read this opinion piece on a cemetery refusing Black burial by Bill Janz, retired columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel HERE. (Another of his articles on those not following COVID health guidelines is HERE). Then take a minute to email him at wjanz@wi.rr.com for keeping these issues alive and in the news.

February 2021 #1

All of us feel called to do something to change our racist society, but we have little time. These twice a month Black Lives Matter Learn & Take Action emails give us a concrete way to learn something and then do something. This short commitment of time and energy allows you to make a difference.

This “Groundhog’s Day” edition of BLM Learn & Take Action reviews some of the articles and videos you might have missed. Here is a summary of things we learned in 2020:

· July #1 Watch Trevor Noah connect the dots on why people are marching for BLM HERE.

· July #2 She has rape colored skin and that is a monument. Read the essay HERE.

· August #1 Black teen learns self protection. Watch HERE.

· August #2 Read about Joshua Glover and origins of the Republican Party HERE.

· September #1 Systemic racism defined HERE. And described in graphs HERE.

· September #2 Kyle Rittenhouse and Waukesha County Republican “endorsement” HERE.

· October #1 Friends who “don’t agree with” the BLM movement? Talking points HERE.

· October #2 One teacher’s BLM lessons in Burlington, WI and her school’s reactions HERE. (NOTE: Read about Burlington HS teacher who attended Jan. 6 insurgency HERE.)

· November #1 Tipping and its racist history HERE.

· November #2 How Wisconsin became a bastion of white supremacy HERE.

· December #1 The “socialist” as a derogatory slur and racism by Heather Cox Richardson HERE. Deeper dive into understanding the connection between socialism and racism HERE.

· December #2 Enjoy a more light hearted video HERE.

January 2021 #2

LEARN – Dylan Roof murdered 9 African Americans who welcomed him to their bible study at church. After the murders, police treated him to Burger King. Brandon Bernard, a Black teen, was implicated in the murder of two white Christians. He was not the shooter and was a model inmate. He was executed in December. Kalief Browder, a Black 16-year-old, allegedly stole a backpack and spent 3 years at Riker’s Island without a trial. Riley Williams, a white 22 year old, is accused of stealing a laptop from Nancy Pelosi’s office and was released to her mom.

Read about Wisconsin’s law enforcement system and racism HERE.


TAKE ACTION“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it…” —Kareem Abdul-Jabar in an LA Times Op-Ed.

Watch Remembering Bronzeville, a free 57 minute film focusing on a Milwaukee Black neighborhood. Then join Clayborn Benson from the African American Historical Society Museum for a discussion Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7pm. Film link, discussion guide, and lecture sign-up HERE.

December 2020 #2

LEARN – Smile along with this VIDEO. While you are enjoying it, ask yourself what you notice about them. Be aware of your own biases and thought process while watching. But enjoy!


TAKE ACTION – Our culture “normalizes” white skin color. Think of nylons colored “nude” or bandages in one pale white flesh color. Crayons too, have a Peach color (Flesh changed to Peach in 1962) but no Black or brown toned colors in the regular packs. Buy your children, grandchildren, and friends’ children Crayola’s Colors of the World or Multicultural crayons, sold at every retail store, so children can continue drawing people, but more realistically.

In February 2019, WISDOM (the state-wide network to which SOPHIA belongs) adopted the Racial Equity Statement below. SOPHIA commits to this statement, and to action steps and measures toward a diverse, equitable society.


WISDOM RACIAL EQUITY STATEMENT

adopted February 21, 2019

DESIRED FUTURE CONDITIONS

Racial equity is a core value of WISDOM and its affiliates and is practiced in everything that we do.

  • Diverse voices, viewpoints, opinions, thoughts, and ideas are actively encouraged and embraced throughout our organization.

  • A culture of deep and authentic relationships throughout WISDOM and its affiliates fosters a sense of restored community and mutual caring.

  • Our commitment to racial equity promotes a just, fair, respectful, inclusive, and thriving community for everyone in our organization and in the institutions, we seek to improve.

WISDOM and its affiliates, and participants individually, are open and responsive to constructively-given feedback about racist attitudes or behaviors we may display, however unintentional.

  • Mistakes are courageously and forthrightly identified. We will graciously “call each other in” and describe and discuss mistakes with clarity as part of a continuous education process.

  • Patience, genuine caring, and compassionate listening are practiced in our mutual effort to understand oppression, both overt and systemic.

WISDOM and its affiliates are characterized by an intentional identity as an antiracist institution.

  • Our antiracist identity permeates our organizational culture, values, norms, and behaviors.

  • Diverse racial, cultural, and economic groups enjoy full participation and shared power in all aspects of our mission, structure, constituency, policies, and practices.

  • People of color lead in the work we do and are always at the tables where decisions that affect us get made.

WISDOM embraces and champions policies that provide for both individual dignity and dismantling structural racism in the wider community by building clear lines of accountability to organizations of color and racially oppressed communities that are directly impacted by our work.

  • Our work for racial liberation values embracing diversity/difference as a gift, the unique worth of every person, treating everyone with dignity, inclusivity, social justice, public good, and cultural competence (awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills). By living these values, we are better human beings.

ACTION STEPS AND MEASUREMENTS

WISDOM and its affiliates will take the following first steps toward fulfillment of these principles and will do an annual racial equity check-in to keep us all accountable. The WISDOM Racial Equity Core Team will provide tools for this to the affiliates (e.g., a WISDOM assessment tool to be used each October) and serve as resources to the affiliates as needed.

Provide Education on Implicit Bias: We will provide an Implicit Bias workshop in every affiliate and encourage all members to participate. This training is provided through Gamaliel and is in conjunction with Gamaliel affiliates across the country.

Baseline Analysis of Organizational Racism: We will develop a baseline analysis of racism within our organization that will serve to increase commitment of members to dismantle racism both within WISDOM and its affiliates and within the community.

Education and Dialogue: We will develop a shared understanding within WISDOM and its affiliates of the meaning and historical reality of systemic racism through education and dialogue.

Long Term and Short Term Racial Equity Goals: We will be strategic and intentional in setting both long term and short term racial equity goals and in monitoring our progress toward them by their impact, not simply our intention. (We should be able to see the progress)

Raise up and Support Under-Represented Leaders: We will prioritize historically and systemically excluded or marginalized people by recognizing, raising up and supporting leaders from under represented populations and intentionally creating pathways for them to be included in decision-making and leadership.