Why Is the 8th Principle So Long?

I first heard about the proposed 8th Principle almost two years ago. My first impression was that it seemed long and complicated compared to the other seven principles! But as I continued the journey to understand more about my own white privilege and complicity in upholding systemic racism and other oppressions, I came to see that every element of the principle is important and needs to be there. And I learned that we cannot help to build equitable structures and institutions in our society until we first dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and in our UU institutions. Otherwise, we will carry forward racist and oppressive attitudes and behaviors into whatever new structures and institutions we help to build, even if we are unaware of those attitudes and behaviors.

I also learned more about our decades-long UU failure to follow through on association-wide commitments to become anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multi-cultural. I began to understand why adopting the 8th Principle at the congregational level is important regardless of whether our association ends up incorporating the principle into revised Purposes and Principles in a few years. The work to build Beloved Community is needed now. We can make the commitment at the congregational level to become anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multi-cultural and to hold ourselves accountable to take the actions to fulfill that commitment.

By participating in on-line gatherings of the association-wide 8th Principle Learning Community, members of congregations that have not yet adopted the principle have a chance to hear how adopting the principle has transformed many of the 125 congregations who have already adopted it. There is something very powerful and compelling about so many individual congregations adopting the same words of commitment to engage in this important work!

Note: 8th Principle Learning Community on-line gatherings are open to all UUs. The next dates are 11/10 and 12/8/2021 at 8:00 p.m. If you’d like to attend or you have a question about the 8th Principle, email: 8thprinciple@uutallahassee.org