Racial Equity Action Leadership Team 2017-07-05T16:28:22+00:00

Racial Equity Action Leadership Team

We are the REAL Team, Racial Equity Action Leadership.  We are all in this together, as many of us UCE members and friends who want to work together to fight racism in our hearts, our church and in our communities.   There is a small planning committee bringing educational and action programming to UCE and the community, with the help and support and ideas of many!  To share your ideas or offer to help, contact one of the following planning team members:

Betty Walker                                          [email protected]

Lynn Kendall                                         [email protected]

Sarah Vanderwicken                           [email protected]

Martha Holman                                    [email protected]

Karen Courtright                                 [email protected]

Click here for some things you can do to help fight racism.

“Diversity is sometimes about counting people. Inclusion is always about making people count.”

– Steve L. Robbins

Q and As With REAL

At the White Supremacy Teach-in II a couple of weeks ago, we asked congregants to slip any questions they have about race issues into the Q and A box (that is on the table at the back of the sanctuary).  Here are the questions we received that day, and the REAL team’s initial answers.  [more]

Q: How can you be an ally without seeming like you’re on “a high horse” – without  coming from a position of moral superiority?

A:  We don’t know for sure from your question what the context of the situation is. We are assuming you mean: how do you respond to a micro-aggression or straight up racist comment without claiming moral superiority.  Jay Smooth suggests treating a racist comment like noticing spinach in your friend’s teeth.  A good friend would tell them about the spinach – quietly and with no fanfare. Even for ourselves, becoming anti-racist isn’t a one-time achievement and you’re done.  It’s more like dental hygiene.  We all need to keep at it.   To learn more about this, check out Jay’s Ted Talk, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFcQKHh72_w 

And there’s this interesting story about speaking up: https://medium.com/embrace-            race/when-the-racist-is-someone-you-know-and-love-2933c7049182

Q:   My sister-in-law, who I love, said to me “Black people have everything.”  She was referring to affirmative action and welfare.  I responded with some facts I learned at UCE, but I think differently of her now.  How do I move forward and not judge her?

A:   We all have people in our lives who “don’t get it” and we still love them in whatever way we can.  If we truly honor our first principle, we affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, even those who don’t see the world exactly as we do.  And remember, since we were born into a world of white supremacy we are all racists, so it may be helpful to look inside and work on one’s own stuff to be able to more easily see that others can make mistakes too.  It’s just something to work on for oneself.  Hopefully, the seeds you planted with your sister-in-law will bear fruit one day!

Bonus:  From Doug Muder in the current UU World:

“Racism isn’t like a bacterial infection that falls to an intense course of antibiotics and is never seen again. Racism is a chronic condition like hypertension or diabetes. Given proper attention, it need not be debilitating. But once you find it in yourself, don’t expect that you will ever be rid of it.”



What are some other answers?

What are some other questions?




What’s Going On with Affordable Housing in Evanston?

There is a lot of interest and movement towards ensuring more affordable housing in Evanston (and elsewhere). Census data and observation show that Evanston is losing the diversity it prides itself in and many people can no longer afford to live here.  In fact, between 2000 and 2015, Evanston lost almost 25% of its African-American population (from 16,704 to 12,577). During the same time, housing costs have escalated enormously and now about half the Evanston population is paying more than 30% of their income on housing.  Joining Forces for Affordable Housing, a coalition of social service agencies and faith-based institutions, has recently formed to provide leadership and pressure to get the City moving on this. It is being staffed by Sue Loellbach of Connections for the Homeless.  More to come.


What can you do this week to further race equity?

Join us Sunday after church to stand on Ridge with Black Lives Matter signs and songs.  It’s fun, and it’s noticed and appreciated in the community.

Watch this video: Bryan Stevenson: Can We Talk About an Injustice?

Attend the City Council meeting Monday October 30 to hear what City Council members are learning about affordable housing.  City staff are going to make a presentation to the Council on facts and range of opportunities, and council members are planning (hoping) to really dig into the dirt and talk among themselves about their questions and thoughts.  If you have Comcast you can also watch the meeting on Channel 16.  Joining Forces for Affordable Housing will be holding a press conference at City Hall at 5 pm to present recommended principles for framing the discussion and considering the possibilities being presented.

Note:  The REAL team plans to periodically have a link to this blog in the weekly newsletter. Keep a watch out for it, and let us know if you have a short video, article or news item you’d like to share, or more Q and As.

By | October 27th, 2017|Categories: Racial-equality|0 Comments

A Great Evening to end Women’s History Month at UCE!

On Saturday, March 25, the REAL team presented a program titled “Women Making Change” to focus on the accomplishments and the stories of the African American women in this community. It was attended by at least one hundred twenty people who enjoyed a hearty meal and engaged in lively discussion.

The program was designed to offer a chance for all citizens in Evanston to join together in sharing a meal, which was the particular goal of Gretchen Brewster, to discuss their ideas about the issues facing women and to hear the ideas and experiences of local African American women of note.

Dino Robinson, of Shorefront Legacy Center, opened the program with a brief history of some of the Black women leaders in Evanston. Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, a prominent activist and educator, then expanded this history to a wider community and time. She was joined by JoAnn Avery of Family Focus, and Karli Butler of Curt’s Café, who shared their experiences and ideas for change in a panel discussion. Following their presentations, Representative Jan Schakowsky joined them and offered a few comments.

Information about various community programs and their needs are available for the asking. Check out the REAL bulletin board above the Lending Library cart for some ideas, or ask a REAL team member.

As always, we are indebted to the staff (who went above and beyond) and volunteers at UCE who helped make the program a success. They are: Liz Eason and Kathy Talmage, Kristi Anderson, Jane Bannor, Dana Deane, Heike Eghardt, Liz Goodwin, Paula Giroux, Lynn Kendall, Jeanne Kerl, Shannon Lang, Gay Menges, Jinny Niemann, Chris Peterson, Kate Poole, Gini Sayad, Michael Skilton, Joan Taylor, Jan Valukas and Betty Walker. Thank you!














































By | April 7th, 2017|Categories: Racial-equality|0 Comments

The REAL team asks you to consider supporting these local, black-owned businesses

The REAL team asks you to consider supporting these local, black-owned businesses:

Claire’s Corner
Hecky’s Barbeque
Jamaican Jerk
Jennifer’s Edibles  (catering)
Just Turkey
Kingston Grill
Yo-fresh Yogurt café

Dental Art Specialists
Carl E. Hill, MD
Generation Copy
Good News Laundry
Smitty’s Auto Repair and Towing
Turf Care Landscaping, 847.475.1677

African-American Black Gifts (online store)
Brown Baby Reads (online store)

Body Science personal fitness training
Fitness Avenues
Hip Circle Studio
The Fitness Matrix

Ashley Lauren
Executive Studio Hair Salon
Ikandi Hair Studio
Wesley’s International Hair Salon

Classy Closet Consignment
Minouchic Boutique resale
Stepping Out on Faith consignment

Honeycomb insurance
Jim Lee- State Farm insurance
Robert Reece Insurance/Financial Services

American Defensive Driving school
Paige and Paxton  (STEM curriculum for young children)
Davis Transportation (vans, busses)
Shorefront Legacy Center


By | January 10th, 2017|Categories: Racial-equality|0 Comments

News from the REAL Team

A core group of leaders created the Racial Equity, Action and Leadership Team in early 2015 to create, sponsor and implement programs, activities and workshops for the UCE community.  REAL is organizationally part of the Social Action Council and is focused on providing education about racism and what it means to be white in our work for racial justice; and to provide channels for direct action by members of the congregation.

After two years of successful programming, the REAL Core Team (Martha Holman, Joan Retzloff and Sarah Vanderwicken) is now defining a broader committee of UCE members and friends to be REAL Activators. Several UCE members have been invaluable in the execution of programs and activities REAL has sponsored, and have in fact initiated projects themselves. These contributors are the first new Activators: Heike Eghardt, Karen Courtright, Betty Walker and Shirley Adams. These newly designated team members will participate in planning, implementing and promoting new initiatives in 2017 and beyond.


By | December 15th, 2016|Categories: Racial-equality|0 Comments