The national Anti-Racism Action Plan is a 3-year strategy for the whole church.
The Anti-Racism Common Table—one of the United Church’s national committees—has created a national Anti-Racism Action Plan for The United Church of Canada. The Anti-Racism Common Table is made up of a diverse group of people from a variety of regions, and the committee consulted with people across the country to develop this plan. Read more about the Anti-Racism Common Table’s work on the Anti-Racism Action plan in the downloads, below.
The church’s new Anti-Racism Action Plan builds on the commitment of The United Church of Canada to become an anti-racist denomination. That commitment was made in October 2020, and continues decades of anti-racism work that was grounded in the United Church’s anti-racism policy, That All May Be One, from the year 2000.
When the United Church’s General Council committed to becoming an anti-racism denomination, people asked that people across the church begin to develop frameworks and strategic directions, including processes for involvement of the whole church, to continue to live into this commitment. The Anti-Racism Action Plan was one part of this framework and commitment.
The plan is new! People across the church will be invited to reflect on the implications of the goals in the plan for their own contexts.
Action Plan Goals
The Anti-Racism Action Plan has goals that fall into five different theme areas:
- Education and awareness
- Healing and accountability
Each theme area has several goals that accompany it.
The goals are not necessarily designed to be linear! Rather, people might be interested in focusing on one or two goals and delving into them deeply.
Education and Awareness
- Understand the diverse impacts of colonialism, White supremacy, and racism in our church. This includes, but is not limited to, anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-immigrant, and internalized racism.
- Move from simply acquiring knowledge to learning how to transform individual behaviours.
- Resist and reject the power and privilege that come from Whiteness, and work instead to restore right relationship. Start to give back resources, real estate, and artifacts taken from Indigenous and racialized communities. Where returning what was taken is no longer possible, compensate Indigenous and racialized communities.
- Increase understanding across the church that the dominant theology of the church is based in White, male, European theology and practices, and name the need to change this.
- Recognize and encourage existing and new theologies and practices that promote multiple marginalized identities and intercultural practices and values.
- In advocacy efforts, follow the lead of Indigenous and racialized people—who are most affected and have the best understanding—while providing support, labour, and resources. Create safer, more accessible spaces for networking for Indigenous and racialized peoples within the church that encourages anti-oppressive advocacy to develop naturally.
- Develop relationships of mutuality and trust with Indigenous and racialized communities and related movements inside and outside the church. Take into account overlapping oppressions, and do not assume everyone sharing one social group all thinks and feels the same way.
- Focus on collaborative political advocacy supporting social movements here and overseas that prioritize issues affecting Indigenous and racialized leadership.
- Change composition and procedures so that governance committees are places where members are encouraged to speak from their own experiences and offer critical analysis on anti-racism issues. Ensure committee members are not all White.
- Be intentional about making time to focus on relationships and processes that promote equity in church governance.
- Ensure that our church governance policies and structures will reflect our anti-racism commitment.
Healing and Accountability
- Support community-determined and self-defined healing for and by Indigenous and diverse racialized people from intergenerational trauma and internalized White supremacy.
- Challenge White defensiveness, and increase White emotional strength to undertake anti-oppression work at the individual level.
- Confront denial of ongoing colonialism by non-Indigenous people. Repair damages to relationships caused by colonial and spiritual violence perpetuated by the church.
The Anti-Racism Action Plan is developed in the context of the General Council Office Strategic Plan. The goals that are part of the Anti-Racism Action Plan will be reviewed and evaluated regularly. The goals will be the same across the church, but they may be implemented differently depending on the regional and local context.
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