Update from our IBPOC caucus

From the UCV IBPOC caucus

Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas! Hanukkah sameach! Happy Solstice! 冬至節愉快 ! (Dongzhi Jie Yu Kuai, a Joyous Winter Solstice!),   メリークリスマス(merii kurisumasu ) よいお年を (yoi otoshi o , to wish for a new year while still in the old year in Japanese)!

During the cold winter months of short daylight and long nights, we crave gathering together and sharing warmth, light and joy. Our first in-person (7 members) and Zoom (3 members) hybrid meeting happened on Nov. 9th at the Fireside Room. All members attending in person were fully vaccinated and we followed  UCV COVID protocols. This meeting was significant as it was the first time we met face to face since the founding of the UCV IBPOC 8 months ago. 

The passing of the 8th Principle at the CUC Special Meeting on Nov. 27th, 2021 was a very significant event, a milestone that sent the message to all that a new flame has been kindled;  that at last IBPOC are being seen and recognized, and that a light is being shone on a new path forward. As Meena Wong said, “The adoption process at times has been taxing but I feel finally, you SEE me!” 

Passing the 8th Principle is only the first step in addressing systemic racism but the IBPOC caucus wishes to thank the CUC, Dismantling Racism Study Group, UCV delegates, the board and minister, and IBPOC allies for getting us to this point.  We look forward to this new action-oriented Principle being a launch pad to new exciting programs and activities at UCV.

In case you don’t know what the IBPOC caucus is all about, here is a brief summary:

The IBPOC Caucus is one of the newest groups at UCV and was formed in March 2021, right in the middle of the Covid19 pandemic. What started as a question by Tamiko Suzuki, who asked how many IBPOC members were at UCV, resulted in an affinity group of about 20 members and includes people from the North Shore and Calgary churches.  The gatherings are joyously supportive and bubbling with the creative energy of a group of congregants who up to now have been silent.

While the main focus of the gatherings is to be a safe space for non-White UUs to gather, there is also a strong interest in educating ourselves and others. IBPOC members have learned about anti-racism issues across the continent by attending CUC IBPOC  and UUA BIPOC forums and workshops. Shared experiences with the UCV congregation has included Asian Heritage and Latin American Heritage months, Indigenous Peoples Day, Friday Film nights, speaking at anti-racism forums, and taking part in different Sunday services and coffee time breakout rooms.  

The IBPOC+Allies group, which is open to all UCV members, was started by Mary Bennett for anyone who wants to work together to put on IBPOC events. They were invaluable, providing tech support and being enthusiastic guests in the Asian film nights, and organizing the Latin American Heritage month on very short notice. 

The Butterfly Language project uses the imagery of the Monarch butterfly which is multi-coloured and travels from far away. Its premise is that roots in other cultures should be viewed as a BENEFIT and not a handicap to the UCV congregation. So far, several UU passages have been translated and filmed in Mandarin, Cantonese,  French, Spanish, Japanese and German. We plan to initiate simple language learning among interested congregants. People with technical skills such as filming and editing would be welcome to help speed up the video-making process.

Next year our plans include working with other UCV groups such as the Youth group,  and teams such as the Environment, and Social Justice etc., supporting anti-racism initiatives, and celebrating our multicultural heritage with a vision to have it become part of programs across UCV.  All the while, we want to continue to provide a safe, friendly and supportive place for IBPOC members to gather.