Being a leader


man person people street
I am entering my second year as the chair of the Black Lives Matter Committee at our church. This is a difficult task for many reasons. The first is that I am very introverted. I stand at the ready during coffee hour ready not to go speak up to people. I may be a very educated and bright man with a lot of knowledge but I will be damned if I am going to allow you to force me to share it with you. I read the stories black UUs who tell of microaggressions by whites that make them feel uncomfortable being there. This comment deserves some explanation. First is the fact that despite the fact Unitarian Universalists are by and large liberal and have a history of supporting wonderful causes our churches are very white dominated with some notable exceptions.

Our church has a history of attempts to create more racial diversity and the most recent was in response to the events from 2 years ago which exposed the dominance of white supremacy in Unitarian Universalism. I found that I was not seeing this white supremacy all around me. I just thought, oh that’s how the services are supposed to be. Oh they haven’t been able to hire African-Americans. I was strangely distant from the few African-Americans who I saw due to my introversion.

Last week there was an event conversation across differences which offered an opportunity to talk. One interesting aspect was that there was a small group set aside for people of color. I participated in this group which was more diverse than one would have expected. There were four of us and I was the oldest. Two people were bi-racial in very different ways. While I cannot divulge what we discussed I can say that it made me think about the ways in which my introversion was preventing me from becoming as effective as I believed I could be.

I retired from work recently which gave me more time to pursue committee work. We have a very exciting project underway to develop and submit a grant proposal to a fund created within the church. Our project would provide resources to a small struggling organization which assists mothers whose children have been murdered. I see the project as something I could be involved with in a way that will allow me to overcome my interpersonal problems while aiding the community. I am quietly optimistic that by learning how different African-Americans can be, I will be a better person and a better leader.

 

 

 

 

 

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