For the past three years, our Inclusion team has been working on educating our congregation on white supremacy, implicit bias, and other cultural prejudices which have created inequitable circumstances within our society.
During this year’s Courageous Conversations, we hosted the Justice League of Greater Lansing and were inspired to present a Resolution on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as part of our increasing understanding of racial issues in our community and our country.
Unity Worldwide Ministries (of which we are a member) adopted A Resolution on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2021. We are using the official statement of Unity Worldwide Ministries and added resolutions specific to Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing. USCL’s Board of Trustees and Minister adopted the resolutions at the May 26th, 2023, meeting.
On Sunday, June 18th Unity congregants will have the opportunity to sign Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing's resolution as they are so moved.
Unity Worldwide Ministries official statement Juneteenth, 2021
An official statement from Unity Worldwide Ministries Juneteenth, 2021
Unity Worldwide Ministries stands for anti-racism, i.e., we are opposed to racial hatred, racial violence, bias, systemic racism and the oppression of people of color. We stand for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for people who are marginalized because of color. No individual or group should be made to live in fear or excluded from society.
Recent events in the United States and the world remind us that violent repression, prejudices, injustices and inequalities towards people of color are embedded in societies, from social structure to institutions to cultures. Unity chooses to be more aware and take positive action in dismantling systemic racism and the social structures that support injustice and prejudice, and we raise awareness through our membership, churches, and centers.
WHEREAS: Unity stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for people of color. Our second principle states: “Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.” This principle applies to all people regardless of color; and
WHEREAS: We are fully committed to Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing being an ambassador for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our world and an example through our actions in the Unity Movement; and
WHEREAS: Unity Worldwide Ministries’ Board of Trustees acknowledges that there has been and is systemic racism in Unity. We acknowledge and accept responsibility for the impact that our history with racism has made upon our Black and Brown friends, colleagues, congregants, students, employees, and patrons – both past and present. We commit to eradicating any and all systems, policies, and practices that would in any way replicate our past mistakes or reproduce an environment that discriminates against or is inhospitable toward people on the basis of race, color, or ethnicity; now therefore be it, Resolved (original document list resolutions made by Unity Worldwide Ministries)
You can read the original document and UWM's resolutions by CLICKING HERE
RESOLVED: that based on Unity’s fifth principle of taking action, which states: “Knowing and understanding the laws of life – also called Truth – is not enough. A person must live the truth that they know”.
Based on this Resolve, Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing commits to the following actions:
- To continually reevaluate the diversity, equity, and inclusion in our USCL Board of Trustees, Ministry Teams, staff and contracted employees.
- To commit to reinforce our core value of Inclusion by adopting and instituting best practices for insuring that all qualified applicants and candidates, for paid and for volunteer positions, are given full consideration for any and all positions, without respect to race, ethnicity, culture, or color.
- To accept responsibility for being complicit in discriminatory practices in the past and being benefitted by such practices.
- To educate our congregation on our individual and collective roles in systemic racism and the benefits we and our ancestors have received.
- To apologize to our black and brown neighbors whom we have harmed directly and indirectly through discriminatory practices, including legislation, business practices, and silence.
- To allocate resources at the direction of the membership to support the reparations work of the Justice League of Greater Lansing .
- To live our “Inclusion/Diversity Statement” adopted into USCL’s bylaws as a requirement of membership, March 2023
- Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing, its members and affiliates, welcome with love all people in every form as God’s creation. We embrace and honor the Divine within as the one common denominator that we share on our human journey.
- We recognize the perfection represented in the mosaic of all humans by race; culture; gender, sexual identity & orientation; body type; disability; economic status; neurodiversity; life experience; belief; ideas; and perspective.
- We strive to expand beyond our individual unconscious biases, blinders, ignorance, and inexperience to create a space where gaps are uncovered, opportunities to be Love in action are identified, and wholeness is realized.
- We affirm and support Unity principles and programs that are non-discriminatory and inclusive in our teachings, policies, buildings, and within our communities.
- We champion the course of human rights and social justice for all. However varied, we are one.
- Plan of ACTION
How we apologize and support:
- 1. Post Resolution on website,
- 2. Invite congregation to sign resolution,
- 3. Financial Contributions to Justice League:
- Congregants’ Choice for 3rd quarter,
- 4. Accepting individuals’ donations to be directed to Justice League,
- 5. Electronic signs June 18th – 19th possibly yard signs:
Message: “To our African American neighbors, We apologize” + Black Lives Matter,
6. *Be physically present at the capitol, at noon, on June 19th for an official apology from the city.
INFORMATION ON UNITY’S COMPLICIT BEHAVIOR
Overview: The Unity movement’s history includes discriminatory practices in individual churches as well as its “corporate” activities. These acts include, but are not limited to, exclusion of black ministerial students from living on grounds; refusal to allow black youth to swim in the Unity Village pool, and discriminatory hiring practices at individual Unity churches as well as Unity Village.
The local Unity movement was established in 1934 in East Lansing. At that time, and up through the 1960’s, Lansing and East Lansing functioned with “redlining”, a discriminatory 1930s-era housing policy which has had long-lasting effects on American society and the economic health of minority households, in particular. (See 1930's map) Many people trace the origins of redlining back to the National Housing Act of 1934.
On top of the practice of redlining, exclusionary zoning laws and racially restrictive covenants prohibited the sale of certain properties to minorities. And by 1949, mixed-use development loans were not available for developers in “less desirable” or redlined zones, which essentially sealed the fate of urban areas.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 explicitly prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex. This essentially put an end to legally sanctioned redlining policies. However, these practices left a permanent mark on many communities in the Lansing area, as well as the rest of the country. And there is evidence that the practice continued “unofficially” by realtors, bankers and businesses.
“The National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that 74 percent of the original redlined districts are still heavily segregated and at a severe economic disadvantage today,” said Forsberg. “Lansing is no exception. In our former redlined areas, there is still a large concentration of minority families with a high poverty rate.
As a predominately white congregation, the Unity movement in Lansing benefited from the redlining.
A Case for Reparations
A Case for Reparations
There are numerous reasons for this country’s racial wealth gap; the stain of slavery, emancipation without compensation, the southern history of sharecropping, Jim Crow laws, redlining, and laws like the G.I. Bill of 1944 that were intended to help returning solders, but only helped white American soldiers.
Google it! Other notable transgressions of the past impacting today’s generation:
Post Civil War :”40 acres and a mule” for emancipated slaves was pulled back.
Jim Crow laws legalized segregation
Lynching up until 1981
Failure to pass H.R.4 - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021
How did white people benefit
One example is the “wealth gap”: White Americans hold 84 percent of total U.S. wealth but make up only 60 percent of the population—while Black Americans hold 4 percent of the wealth and make up 13 percent of the population.Oct 3, 2022, Black Americans' net worth is 70% below that of non-Black households.Feb 23, 2023
The Justice League of Greater Lansing https://www.justiceleagueglm.org/
– Plans for Faith-based Reparations
The Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan has cemented our commitment to healing and becoming the Beloved Community by making the connection between faith and racial justice in the form of reparations. In the Greater Lansing Area, reparations will be committed mainly from predominately white Houses of Worship as part of their efforts to repair the breach caused by centuries of slavery, inequality of wealth accumulation, and the failure to live into God’s Plan of equality for all of humanity.
- We will create an Endowment Fund through contributions from faith-based and individual donors as well as corporate and community-based organizations.
- We will build an Advisory Council made up of African Americans from different sectors in the community, to manage the Fund.
- We will ensure the Fund supports education scholarships, home ownership, and business startups.