Racial Justice Task Force

The Racial Justice Task Force developed out of the “Building the World We Dream About” 15 month course which ended in December 2008. The overall goals of the RJTF are to promote racial justice awareness in our congregation and in the wider Summit community through exposure to both historical and current racial injustices and to lead the way for The Unitarian Church in Summit toward a more diverse, multiracial congregation.

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY ACTIVITIES For the past three years, we have presented readings of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches in conjunction with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in the City of Summit. On 1/16/12, a group of 6 readers presented the MLK sermon “Paul’s Letter to American Christians.” About 75 people attended, with almost half attracted from outside our congregation. On MLK Day in 2011 we read “Address on the March from Selma to Montgomery March 25, 1965.” On MLK Day in 2010, we read “Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution,” Dr. King’s Ware Lecture at the 1966 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly. All 3 years, as a companion activity, we sponsored a special collection of non-perishable foods for donation to food pantries in Orange and East Orange.

MLK SPEECH FOR 2013 We are planning to read another MLK speech on 1/21/13 and plan to honor the 50th Anniversary Year of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech by presenting that.

FORUM ON UU RACIAL JUSTICE ISSUES Under the leadership of Rev. Vanessa Southern, we co-sponsored a lecture by noted UU minister Mark Morrison-Reed on the history of the UUA with respect to African-Americans and Latinos. The talk provided food for thought on how we might become a more multi-cultural congregation and movement.

FREEDOM RIDERS We showed the PBS documentary “Freedom Riders” on Saturday, November 12, 2011, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the events in Alabama and Mississippi in the summer of 1961. We invited folks from other Summit congregations to this event and several attended. Our speakers Francis and Laura Randall were quite effective in presenting their views on their Freedom ride in June 1961 and in answering questions.

JOIN US The original core members of RJTF included Jean Crichton, Mia Morse and Arthur Perkins. Bill Foley and Rev. Vanessa Southern joined us in 2010. You are warmly invited to come on board so we can expand our activities. For more information, please contact any member of the RJTF or Email rjtf@ucsummit.org.

Racial Justice Task Force