Middle School Parent Email for April 30, 2017

Middle School Parent Email for April 30, 2017

This is a packed-full-of-information email to all parents. I’m sending the same email to all classes, so please forgive duplications; I have no way to screen out families with children in more than one class. Keep one copy, if you receive multiple copies.

The information below includes important RE events to know about over the next few weeks, and resources for the White Supremacy Teach-In at UUCC this weekend, May 7th.

Upcoming RE Events

MOVIE NIGHT FOR PARENTS AND ADOLESCENTS! –– Join us to watch “The Mask You Live In” Sunday, May 7th from 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm. The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.
Recommended for PARENTS of any age child, and Adolescents in 4th and 5th grade through High School. Discussion facilitated by Robin Slaw, DRE and Jen Raffensperger, Youth Director.


RE Teacher Recruitment has started for next year! Our children and teens are amazing young people! They inspire and delight, they challenge and create, they ask Really. Good. Questions. They are curious and clever! Please see Robin or Kelli during coffee hour or sign up online! See what we are up to next year. Volunteer to help over the summer. Not sure you know enough about Unitarian Universalism? This is the best way to learn!

We also need summer Sunday school volunteers. We’re running a one-room school house, and this summer, using Circle of Trees, a multigenerational program that nurtures deep connection with trees, nature, and all of earth’s living creatures. The program uses trees as an entry point to understand and connect with life on earth. Across many cultures, trees are recognized as a symbol for life on earth. We will also work on a service project at OBIC, and have special guests all summer long! Please email Kelli Danaker to help with the summer program!


End of Year RE Party and Moving Up Day, May 21, at both services! May 21st is our last day of regular Sunday School. Please plan to bring snacks for the party for your child’s class(es)!


We need children to help run the games they’ve been building for the Animal Fair, Saturday, May 20th, 10 am to 1 pm, at UUCC


RE Visit to Vantage House, Sunday May 21st at 1:30 pm. Join RE families in a visit to Vantage House, a senior living facility, to sing with residents, and even play some instruments! If your child is interested, please speak with Robin Slaw or email Mariam Khambaty for more details and/or if you will be attending at mkhambaty@hotmail.com.

Rehearsal for Vantage House visit on Saturday, May 13, 1:30-3:30 pm in the Music Room at OBIC. Please plan to attend the rehearsal if you will be performing or singing.


UUCC Camping Trip at Rocky Gap State Park, Memorial Day weekend Friday-Monday. We have two types of camp sites- a large group field and private sites close by – a one-two minute walk at most. There is a beach and a lake, plenty of hiking trails, a nature center and an aviary. Large campfire every night with s’mores. There are charcoal grills (bring your own charcoal). Great chance to get to know members of the congregation!

The tentative/relaxed schedule looks like this:

Friday- arrival
Saturday- hikes, games, beach time/swimming, fun fair held by the campground. Potluck dinner with bingo, frisbee and soccer.
Sunday – pancake breakfast, worship service, and similar activities to Saturday Monday – pack up and head home.

If people don’t have all the equipment they need, they can usually borrow things from other families. We have a FB page set up for just that sort of thing. Email Regina Verow with additional questions. regkp@verizon.net


Parent Resources for the White Supremacy Teach-In

We are taking part this upcoming weekend, May 7th, in a broad UU-based movement to look at our role in white supremacy. It’s a word that may sit uncomfortably with you. Please allow that discomfort to percolate a little as you read through this email.

The use of the term “white supremacy” to mean something much, much broader than neo-Nazis and the KKK can been divisive. There is understandable discomfort and fear. However, organized Unitarian Universalist people of color have called for this teach in and shared stories about their lives in UU spaces that are hard to hear. Those of us who have signed on are choosing to center the voices and experiences of people of color and indigenous peoples (POCI), and learn about the culture of white supremacy.

The primary goals of the Teach In organizers are:

for UUs to get onto the same page about “the water we swim in”
to name that water as white supremacy and begin to explore its effect (including colonization)
to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
I don’t want to overwhelm anyone, and this is long-term work, so I’m going to try to keep these resources to a minimum. You’ll find much more, including webinars about the teach-in, here and here.
Definitions
From the Teach In leaders:
“White supremacy [is] a set of institutional assumptions and practices, often operating unconsciously, that tend to benefit white people and exclude people of color.” In 2017, actual “white supremacists” are not required in order to uphold white supremacist culture. Building a faith full of people who understand that key distinction is essential as we work toward a more just society…”

From Rev. Sofia Betancourt
“Whatever your reaction was to the words White Supremacy, it’s a fair reaction. It’s real. It’s part of the journey… We are not saying there is an inherent evil in Unitarian Universalism, at all. We are saying there is a desperate need for the the kind of beloved community work that we offer in the world and we want to do that work better.”

More
What’s in a Word: White Supremacy
White Supremacy Culture
What are we doing at UUCC?
White Supremacy Teach-In services at 9 and 11 am on May 7
Children’s Chapel with Robin for Grades K-5 to further explore racism and white supremacy
Youth in grades 6-12 are invited to attend services and we are scheduling some conversations over the summer (stay tuned for announcements)
Listening Circles immediately following both services, to further explore the topic. Please watch for additional information on the circles.
Adult RE video series: RACE – The Power of an Illusion (May 21, June 11, June 18)
Undesign the Redline tour in Columbia, Thursday, June 1, 6-8 pm, http://www.designingthewe.com/undesign-the-redline/
Documentary: 13th – An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. June 3, 6:00 pm
Tools for White People

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism (article)
What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy, book by Robin DiAngelo
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, book by Debby Irving
SafetyPinBox – a monthly subscription (pay) service

Spiritual Practice
Spiritual Practices for White Discomfort

For children
Sometimes You’re the Caterpillar (parents will need to figure out whether this is age appropriate for your children)
Marley Dias and representation in books
Being 12: ‘People Think I’m Supposed to Talk Ghetto, Whatever That Is.’

For families and RE teachers
Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Education
Reading While White
Teaching While White
What if All the Kids are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families, book by Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia G. Ramsey
Your 5-year-old is already racially biased. Here’s what you can do about it.
Beyond the Golden Rule, published by Teaching Tolerance, is a parent’s guide to preventing and responding to prejudice, from preschool through high school. It is a useful resource for families of all racial identities. The book is available in a PDF format that can be downloaded and printed.

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