I’m pleased to share that, during the 2019 Inclusive Family Book Drive at Tahoma UU, our congregation donated more than 125 inclusive books for our newly expanded children’s section in our library! We also added more books geared toward parents’ understanding systemic racism, consent, LGBTQIA+ allied behavior, immigration, and indigenous history. With more than $300 raised toward purchasing these books, we were happy to support our local King’s Bookstore with a special order. I want to take this opportunity to thank our congregation for valuing diverse and inclusive literature to help our families have dialogue and story-telling around systemic oppression. I am so grateful that our congregation values literature for children from infancy to adulthood that provides all of us with the understanding of consent, sexuality, racism, indigenous peoples, and immigration. It is so true that stories and story-telling are such a powerful antidote to hate and misunderstanding.
If I had to guess what percentage of Unitarian Universalist parents want to teach their children about justice, equity, and compassion, I’d very comfortably say 100%. Every parent in this faith, I imagine, strives to raise their children to see the inherent worth and dignity of every person and seek peace, liberty, and justice for all human beings. If you’re like me, you imagine your children will stand up to inequality and be the ally you didn’t have the chance to be when you were their age, because you learned about systemic oppression when you were in your thirties after a lifetime of white privilege. In my mind, I see our children as beacons of hope in the future because they learned about systemic oppression and racism decades before I ever said “white privilege.” If you’re also like me, you’ve imagined having triumphant conversations with your son about consent, misogyny/noir, the patriarchy and hetero-normative culture being bunk, and how men and women can be feminists. After I’ve spent a few minutes day-dreaming about my perfect kid growing up to the ally I never was, I come back to reality and remember that he’s only three.
It can be defeating to know that my son spends many hours with me, not seeing me be an anti-racist, not fighting the patriarchy, and not always being an ally to oppressed communities. It’s also sometimes daunting to consider that I don’t have all of the simplified, kid-friendly, and age-appropriate answers to questions about race, consent, immigration, and human sexuality. My son has just recently started asking “Why” about everything. Why the sun rises and sets, why it rains, why a person feels sad or mad, why to everything he can get me or my husband to keep trying to fumble over some kind of an answer to. I know that these questions are going to evolve, get harder, and point out how much I’ve forgotten since grade-school and ultimately tongue-tie me. I know he’s watching me and my husband all the time, every minute and every interaction we have at home and in the outside world. I also know that it takes a village to around our kids to help us model what we strive to model at home for them.
So from one mom in our growing and loving congregation, I give my heartfelt thanks to every single person who thought it was important for our parents and children to have inclusive books under our roof here at TUUC and took action to make that happen!
Jonina Spriggs Wright
Social Justice Committee