How I got to General Assembly




The Unitarian Universalist Association was rocked this spring by revelations about their hiring practices and how few people of color it employs. It is a system which favors white ministers. Suddenly the liberal religion was turned upside down. The President, Peter Morales, quit and was replaced by three people of color who served on an interim basis. The Black Lives Matter to Unitarian Universalists became an increasingly important force for change. There was the news that the Board of Directors made a commitment of financial support to the Black Lives Matter group which surprised many white people. And the denomination began a self-examination to understand the ways in which white supremacy governed how it operated. There was a series of white supremacy services in churches across the country, including the First Unitarian Society. It was in the midst of this change that the leader of the Black Lives Matter at the church, Mary Devitt, decided it no longer made sense for her as a white woman to be in charge of the group and asked me if I would become the chair. Mary had been very active building relationships with all sorts of groups. I attended some events and was not involved in marching. I wrote a humorous blog post about the transition called Welcome Back which hearkened back to an old television show about a white teacher who returned to the school he used to attend.

The Black Lives Matter to Unitarian Universalists were very active in helping to raise money, which I learned about at the GA. I spent time watching videos from the Church of the Larger Fellowship which is an organization of Unitarian Universalists who are not affiliated with any congregation. I engaged on-line with the Black Lives Matter to Unitarian Universalists and saw some of their videos from a gathering they held in New Orleans. I wondered what was going on and how could I fit in. It soon developed that there was one delegate credential left and there was a movement to reach out and make it possible to help cover the costs of people of color like me. I wondered how this GA would be different from those in the past. My long time friends at First Church encouraged me to go. And the outgoing development director sent an email about the fundraising and encouraged me to apply for a scholarship. I was sending emails and text messages and posting on Facebook up until a couple of days before I was supposed to leave.  Despite the fact I had worries that things were not going to work out, a group called Standing on the Side of Love, handled arrangements getting us to New Orleans, providing spending money and finding a room in a hotel right across from the General Assembly.

The other part of how I got to GA is much more mundane. I have a full-time job with benefits including vacation. I discovered that the GA would coincide with our annual employee retreat but that was not a problem. My vacation was granted without a hassle. So, if you have understanding and compassion surrounding you, it is possible to do things. You can have support from the congregation. You can get the funds that you need to go. And you can rest assured that your job will be there when you return. In a lot of ways, it helped me feel that my life mattered.

Go take a hike!

This is the year of the vacation. What used to keep me from getting away was lack of paid vacation. But this year I am entitled. I am saving money and wondering about those places I used to go check out. Places that I could drive to and return from over a couple of days. I am going to be going on google to look for those places. I remember there was a place where I could check out miniature trains. I went to visit a Bahai worship place many years ago.

It has been a long time since i was stable enough to see outside of work long enough to think about what was out there. My ex-wife visits as many places as she can. She was more stable than me. But this is my time. I am even talking to my consumers about this. Go see your families, even if they live in Milwaukee. Go to Gary, Indiana, and bring your gas masks. Milwaukee may be a nice place to live¬† but anybody needs to spend some time away from home. I’m certain a lot of my readers need to take a hike. Maybe I will see you out on the trails.


This year: vacation

I am working harder than ever, keeping my appointments and trying to keep track of the consumers I work with. One reason why I joined my current agency was to enjoy the fruits of my labor: a vacation. Next month at this time I will have passed one year on the job. At that point I will earn two weeks of time off So I need to prepare for the idea of having nothing to do. Positively. Lounging around. Reconnecting with family. Going hiking. Visiting nationally known oddballs. since I have never had this long a time for a vacation, I figured I should ask my dedicated reader to make suggestions for what to do this year. What should I do for my vacation?