Not Everything That Is Faced Can Be Changed, But Nothing Can Be Changed Until It Is Faced…A Short Open Letter to Rev. Peter Morales

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.” –Bro. Jimmy (aka James Baldwin)

Dear Rev. Morales,
I am stupefied at your response, in both the letter sent out to UUA staff and in quotes reported in UU World, to the discussion that has arisen in light of recent hiring decisions.

You are quoted in UU World as saying, “What bothers me is the characterization of the UUA as a ‘white supremacist’ organization,…If you call us that, what do you call Aryan Nation?”

You and I have both studied UUA history, as well as history of its parent organizations–the AUA and the UCA. In that history is the case of E. Ethelred Brown. Shall we talk about how he was treated? So, with that history out there, I wonder why you are confused as to the UUA being labeled a white supremacist organization. Surely you are not that naive. You do know that white supremacy is not just the Klan and Aryan Nation, right?

In your letter to UUA staff you write, “Since the UUA has made the hiring decisions there have been 14 hires in Congregational Life. Of those 14, six have been people of color.”

I think it is important to point out there are two regions that are completely white when it comes to Congregational Life staff. I will further point out one of those regions has the city of Boston in it. The other region has the cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. That’s right, the region with 4 of the cities that have had major racial justice incidents in the past 2.5 years are all in a region served by a totally white Congregational Life staff. I digress….

You further say, “At the UUA staff overall, we have gone from 14 percent of color in 2008 to 20 percent today. At the level of managers, we have gone from 12 people of color (5 percent) to 19 (9 percent).”

The administration’s own Ends Monitoring Report from April, 2016 shows that the growth of people of color is in the areas labeled “Service”, “Sales”, or “Administrative Support”. This is the why of white supremacy; using people of color for their labor in areas where the decisions/policy aren’t made.

As a Christian, one of the most important things I believe in is the power of repentance. From what I can tell, the UUA has never repented for its treatment of E. Ethelred Brown. Over the course of the past days, your letter and comments have shown me that the UUA is still not ready to repent for its actions related to racial/ethnic justice. That is a shame.

I could go on. However, there is no reason for me to do so as I am not sure you will take heart to anything I have said.

I’ll end as I began, quoting Bro. Jimmy. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Respectfully yours,
Kimberly R. Hampton, M.Div.

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2 thoughts on “Not Everything That Is Faced Can Be Changed, But Nothing Can Be Changed Until It Is Faced…A Short Open Letter to Rev. Peter Morales

  1. Pingback: Reflection on White Supremacy in Our UUA : Blue Boat of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

  2. Kim, thanks for the insight. We’re still learning the the sting of words like “white supremacist” must be endured to move through to the other side. We have to see and own the past to better define the future toward which we strive.

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