Unanimous Votes on Reckoning and Repair; Indigenous Justice

Both the Reckoning and Repair group and the Indigenous Justice Working Group have been hard at work these past years. After a lot of congregational education, presentations, and listening sessions, they have integrated the community’s feedback. On Tuesday, April 16th, each group presented to the Parish Committee. The Parish Committee unanimously endorsed both resolutions and voted to add both statements to the May Annual Meeting warrant. The congregation will vote on whether or not to adopt these resolutions on May 19th.
Congratulations to all the members of Indigenous Justice and Reckoning and Repair!

Please check out their statements below.

Resolved, that First Parish adopt the following Land Acknowledgement statement:
The First Parish meetinghouse is located on the ancestral lands of the Massachusett people, whose name was appropriated by this Commonwealth. The European colonists who took land from its inhabitants through coercion and violence also subjected Indigenous people to forced labor, relocation, and genocide. Our faith calls us to acknowledge the truth of our history, to name the ongoing harms of settler colonialism, and to work toward repair. We resolve to be in right relationship with the Massachusett and other Indigenous peoples, particularly the federally recognized Wampanoag nations of Mashpee and Aquinnah. We commit to finding meaningful ways to offer our support as we work in solidarity to build a more sustainable future for us all.

Reckoning and Repair

Acknowledgement: To create beloved community, rooted in justice and inspired by love, we break past silences  and name our congregation’s entanglement with the institution of slavery, which began  with the founding of the congregation in 1739. At least eight of First Parish’s sixteen  original pew owners enslaved Black people, and our initial congregation was founded in  part on the uncompensated labor, resources, skills, and talents of enslaved people.

Commitment: First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington is committed to building relationships with  local, Black-led organizations to shape a framework for meaningful reparations. We commit  to a process of reparations guided by people of African heritage and the broader  reparations movement, and we will work within and beyond our congregation’s walls to  bring about holistic repair. In tandem with seeking out and forming relationships with  Black-led organizations, the Reckoning & Repair working group will continue gathering  congregational feedback about a plan for reparations. All annual fiscal decisions will be made by the appropriate committees within the congregation, while all longer-term fiscal commitments will be made by congregational vote.

Reparations are central to the struggle to build a world based on justice, care, and uplift,  and we commit ourselves to this work. Hand in hand we will find a way.