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Thirty Days of Love: Generative Creation

Welcome to Week 2 of Thirty Days of Love 2018. For the following three weeks, we will continue to share a message alongside spiritual resources: an ancestor to ground us, art to inspire, and a podcast recommendation to keep us learning.  We hope you find these resources and reflections of use to the work you do from your congregation to your community and beyond.

This week our theme is Good Soil, Good Seeds: Generative Creation. How do we make sure that we start this work well? What are the ways you prepare the soil to ensure your seeds will grow?

We honor our ancestor Florence Luscomb, share We Need You by Katie Blanchard and recommend you check out our most recent episode of Fortification, featuring adrienne maree brown along with some reflection questions. Check out the Thirty Days of Love 2018 All-Ages Activities by Rev. Marisol Caballero. Next week we’ll be back with our third message on enduring the drought times. Stay tuned!

Setting the table, putting in the work on the front end, preparing the soil for planting: it all matters. When we are deliberate and intentional in how we prepare, our results often reflect it. When we are rushed and default to that which we know best, we can often exclude the work and vision of those we say we value. Pat Hussein, a co-founder of Southerners on New Ground, shared the phrase “there are no second first meetings.” It is so succinct and powerful, describing our attempts - often feeble, late or sloppy - to bring people into processes that we have already begun. Sometimes we ourselves don’t need to be setting the table or the agenda. But we have a role to play to support those who do. And sometimes we’ve already begun a process but our integrity requires that we press pause, shift it, end it, or be honest about who has been a part.

An ancestor: Florence Luscomb was a voting and civil rights activist and architect who entered her own work supporting the suffrage movement as a young child and continuing on through her passing nearly a century later. Towards the end of her life, Luscomb would provide mentorship and support to younger primarily white feminist movements, urging younger organizers of the necessity of building with Women of Color and poor women in their work. “Until all discriminations against women are done away with, I won’t say that I’m satisfied with the condition of women.” Learn more about Florence Luscomb’s organizing as you consider how your justice work seeks to disrupt and redistribute power from those who often set the table.

An invitation: Last week, we shared our most recent episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, featuring a conversation between Caitlin Breedlove and adrienne maree brown. The conversation touches on so many important themes about creation, practice and exploration within our political journeys. Grab something to write with and piece of paper and reflect on some of the questions generated by adrienne below:

  • What are the thresholds you are facing within your justice work today? Who do you need to companion you to cross them?
  • As we each move more deeply into understanding, practicing and applying transformative justice, we have opportunities to choose to be punitive or transformative. As adrienne asks, in this current moment, will we choose to be transformative?
  • Our own energy, capacity and resources are not limitless. adrienne invites listeners to engage in tension without indulging drama. Where could you apply this ethic within your organizing or social justice work?
  • adrienne reminds us again and again that our practices matter. A week ago we invited you to try a new practice for 30 Days of Love. How is it going?
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The opportunity: We see generative creation as the means through which we co-create. We may not have all the relationships, time, resources today to start well.  And we must figure out how to make the space to cultivate and create things in a way that is aligned with our values. Check out some of the ways folks are talking about creation and collaboration including adrienne maree brown, 9 principles of community-centric fundraising from Vu Le and Lessons from Alabama: Trust Black Women by Leah Hunt-Hendrix.

Since their launch, Black Lives of UU have invited Unitarian Universalism into the necessity of processes AND outcomes that center our values. We are excited to join with Black Lives of UU and our UUA to ask that you engage in the Promise and the Practice of Our Faith Campaign. We know congregations often participate in a Share the Love Sunday. This year, we ask that folks prioritize supporting the Promise and the Practice. Worship materials are here and as one of the suggested Sundays for the Promise and the Practice is February 8, 2018 so we invite you, in whatever form make sense to you - whether that is Sunday morning worship, a leisurely brunch, drinks with friends or afternoon tea, on February 8th or another day, to gather, connect with spirit using these materials and financial commitment in support to BLUU that is transformational and inspirational and a long-term commitment to dismantling white supremacy, racism and oppression from within our denomination and beyond, and uplifting the Black Lives, Voices, and Leadership of Unitarian Universalism.

Onward,

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Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, Senior Strategist, Side with Love (right)

Nora Rasman, Campaign Manager, Side with Love (left)