keywords = LUUNA Latina/o Latino/a Latina Latino Unitarian Universalist Networking Association unitario unitaria universalista

Updated:  11 Aug 2008, 21:20  ET
(Created 04 Jul 2006)
[Ref:  This is luuna.html   (URL )]



[It seems appropriate to present this page on the needs and aspirations of the liberal
Latina/o North American community on the Fourth of July;
unfortunately, LUUNA is inactive at the moment (Aug 2008) - SB,III]   rev.gif (09 Aug 08)


{The following statement is taken directly from the UU Faith Works (Promising Practices for Lifespan Learning Communities) page of the Unitarian Universalist Association's REACH (Religious Education Action Clearing House) site.  The Journey Towards Wholeness is a Social Justice service program of the Unitarian Universalist Association "to guide congregations as they grow and change along the path of creating anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural environments both in and outside of the church setting".}

"The LUUNA Executive Committee would like to offer a Latino perspective on the work before us in our Journey Toward Wholeness.  LUUNA is deeply committed to this labor.  We applaud and honor the work that has begun and dedicate ourselves to take an active part in extending that work.  We share a vision of a rich, multicultural, multiracial movement that values each human being.

As part of our effort to extend the work of creating a multicultural and diverse UUA, we in LUUNA are committed to bring the insights from our own experience.  We believe that the experience of Latino peoples has much to teach us.  To be Latino, particularly in North America, is to be multicultural and multiracial.  We are a mixture of European, Indigenous, African, and even Asian cultures.  We are a mixture; we are mestizos and mulattos.  A gathering of Latinos is a gathering of racial and cultural diversity.  Some of us are light skinned, some of us are dark.  We bring a history of oppression, of being both the oppressed and the oppressor.  Yet, regardless of our differences, we share a need to form and sustain communities which in turn support the family members of that community.

We do not pretend to have all the answers.  However, we would like to offer some observations and ideas.

Candidly, we Latinos are troubled by much of the language and categories used in the UUA's attempts to achieve a more multiracial and multicultural religious movement.  We are not comfortable with thinking that narrowly focuses on the experiences and oppressions of only some of our community.  We feel excluded, marginalized when our experiences, oppressions and insights are not counted.  We feel belittled when a recounting of Civil Rights struggles does not include our struggles, setbacks, and accomplishments; nor are our leaders, writers, and activists mentioned.

This is not a matter of mere vocabulary, of changing a few terms to make our language more inclusive of Latinos.  We believe the problem is much deeper and much more serious.  Ultimately, it not only propels us to unwittingly alienate portions of our UU community but it threatens the very fiber of that community by turning one against the other.  Categories tied too closely to the history of the racism experienced by African Americans at the hands of white Americans are too limiting.  Latinos do not fit easily into the present scheme.  Neither do Asians.  Neither do Native Americans.  Perhaps most importantly, neither do the growing number of children in our congregations who are part Latino, part African American, part White, part Asian, part Indigenous.

Furthermore, we believe that what ultimately holds us together is a vision of a common future.  Each of - black, white, brown, gay, straight - longs for a community of faith that values us for who we are.  We bring a deep need to be in a faith community where we are loved and known, where we can bring our gifts and our pain.  We in LUUNA believe that we are better served by organizing around our common vision for the future rather than on our particular and collective injuries in the past.  That does not mean that we deny the past, that we do not take hard instruction from it.  We believe that an overemphasis on past injuries has the unfortunate consequence of making oppression something that gives us legitimacy; it devalues those who do not have 'enough' oppression.  There is nothing that can adequately compensate us for past oppressions and ultimately nothing is to be gained from dwelling on past failings.  The end result of such a process will be an overwhelming and paralyzing sense of guilt in some individuals and resistance and denial in others.  Most significantly, to dwell on oppression can divide us and distract us from our true tasks: to create a common vision and make that vision a reality.  In sum we feel the need to concentrate more on what will unite us despite our differences and despite the injustices we have suffered.  Our process for ending racism must create loving community.

Lastly, we criollos, mestizos, and mulattos in LUUNA believe that our varied pasts are precious gifts that we want to share.  Part of spiritual growth is learning to appreciate the gifts and wisdom of different traditions.  We also grow spiritually when we come to know another deeply and intimately, to understand his or her experience, to take it in and make it part of us.  We would like to see our work in multiculturalism focus more on the gifts we each bring to our communities of faith rather than on our injuries.  Or, better put, we need to reframe our injuries and make them gifts.  Someone who has experienced pain is more sensitive to pain in others; this sensitivity is an enormous gift.  Our varied backgrounds give us so much to offer each other.  Our variety can be a source of wisdom that helps revitalize worship, religious education, and community life in our congregations.

In summary, we in LUUNA feel we need to take time to rethink and reframe our discussion.  We want to be part of a religious movement with a common vision: a vision founded on sharing the wonderful gifts we are.  We in LUUNA are eager to work with joy and love to help make our shared vision a living reality."

    LUUNA Executive Committee         Patricia Jimenez, Chair         Lilia Cuervo, Vice Chair         José Ballester, Treasurer         Peter Morales, Communications         Louis Schwebius, Outreach & Education         Ruth Alatorre, Finance         Ervin Barrios, GA & Events Coordination         Julio Noboa, Publications

    {Names edited only for spelling}

[This sensitive statement says it all; the only thing the Webmaster can add is that at the General Assembly of the UUA in St. Louis (21-25 Jun 2006), an eloquent plea was made by the Revs. Patricia Jiminez, José Ballester, and Peter Morales, for greater acceptance uniquely as Latina/o North Americans, as specifically opposed to the invisibility engendered by being submerged in the dominant "Anglo" culture or under the predominantly-black "people of color" umbrella [with DRUUM (Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries) as the prime exemplar - "A UU People of Color Organization"].

This page is a preliminary (and unofficial) attempt to put the needs and aspirations of the liberal Latina/o North American community in the forefront of the Web.
It is hoped that it will also appear
en español very shortly.

In addition, see S. Berliner, III's UU Latino/Latina page, with:
  Nosotros Somos Unitarios Universalistas.
  Jornadas Espirituales Latinas (Latino/Latina Spiritual Journeys).

Posted as an unsolicited courtesy to LUUNA by:
S. Berliner, III.

To contact LUUNA, please click here {temporary link}.   rev.gif (broken link fixed 09 Aug 08)

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 2006, 2008 - All rights reserved.

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