Affirmative action is a policy or a program promoting the representation in social institutions of groups of people who have been traditionally and systematically discriminated against.
As people of faith who strive to cultivate the Beloved Community, our General Synod supports affirmative action, because our nation cannot be completely free without all people’s sharing the same rights and equal access to opportunities for advancement and equitable treatment. It is about more than diversity, for it is in fact a moral obligation to racial equity.
Why is it an issue of faith?
All people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The history and legacy of discrimination in our social institutions denies honor to God. We are called to do justice, love kindness and work humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). We are called to repentance and reconciliation by remedying the destructive impacts of systematic and compounded discriminations accumulated across generations.
Aren’t we “post-racial” yet?
The term "post-racial" may be used by individuals to express their sincere intention and desire that there is no more racism in our society. However, it does not describe the reality of racial disparities found in education, employment, housing, health and so on. It does not speak to the destructive impact of institutional rules, policies and structures that appear on the surface to be race-neutral in discrete entities (e.g. schools, districts). Structural racism is the cumulative effect of racial inequity in multiple institutions over time, and that is what Affirmative Action seeks to remedy.
UCC Social Policy Statements
The UCC historic policy based for Affirmative Action can be found in the General Synod resolutions regarding racial justice in 1971; racial and economic justice, women in church and society in 1975, implementation in the UCC, the church and persons with handicaps in 1979. The commitment to Affirmative Action in Church and Society was reaffirmed in 1981, and in 1995 in light of Supreme Court decisions.
1. Doesn’t affirmative action reward unmotivated people to get ahead in life?
Affirmative action only provides equal access and the fair chance to achieve success for underrepresented groups. It cannot guarantee that they will succeed, only that they are given the same opportunities that the White majority has. In reality, many underrepresented people can testify that they have to work twice as hard to prove themselves.
2. Doesn’t affirmative action justify the hiring or admission of under-qualified candidates?
Among qualified candidates, school should be allowed to choose based on their institutional goal of increasing diversity. At a deeper level, the history and legacy of systematic discrimination means that our society is not purely based on individual merit. People of color, women and the disabled have been put in positions by institutions that have not allowed them to maximize their full potential, and it would be unfair to judge people solely by their individual qualifications.
3. Doesn’t affirmative action punish Whites today for what happened hundreds of years ago?
While Whites today and virtually all of their ancestors never owned slaves, they benefit directly and indirectly from systematic racial discrimination. They have less competition for school admission, jobs and government programs, which helped propelled many Whites and their descendants into the middle and upper classes.
Many non-Whites and their descendants were and still are systematically left behind and denied the same basic educational, economic, and other opportunities. The wide gap created by a racialized system which promoted the dominant culture, mostly White male, for several hundred years unfortunately would take time to be closed adequately, so that eventually all candidates can be judged soley on their individual merit.
Racial profiling is the targeting of particular individuals based on the erroneous assumption that persons of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion are more likely to engage in certain types of unlawful conduct.
It is the impermissible use of personal characteristics when there is no reliable information that links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to a specific incident, scheme, or organization.
Why is it an issue of faith?
In honor to our Creator God, we honor all human beings as being created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). As people of faith, we are called to be in solidarity with all people, because God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34-35).
What does that really mean in real life?[i]
Nationally, Black drivers are twice more than White drivers to be arrested. Hispanic drivers are more likely than White drivers to receive a ticket. White drivers are more likely to receive a written warning than Hispanic drivers. White drivers are more likely than Black drivers to be verbally warned by police. Statewide data also confirm this pervasive phenomenon of “Driving While Black or Brown.”
In addition, minority pedestrians are often subjected to suspicion-less stops-and-frisks, as shown in data collected through the NYPD and LAPD. Street-level law enforcement authorities are provided with wide discretion in community policing, which is often exercised to racially profile minorities who are perceived to be a threat to public safety even if they have done nothing wrong.
Religious profiling is sometimes used as a proxy for race, ethnicity or national origin.
Muslims and Arabs in the U.S. are being singled out for question and detention, on the basis of religion and national origin, by federal programs such as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which requires certain individuals from predominantly Muslim countries to register with the federal government, be fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated.
79% of targets investigated by the federal covert program OFL, Operation Front Line to “deter terror operations” were immigrants from Muslim majority countries. In our nation’s airports, individuals wearing Sikh turbans or Muslim head coverings are often profiled for higher security at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints.
- Immigration law enforcement
Vast numbers of Hispanics – most of whom U.S. citizens or legal residents, are racially profiled. State and local agencies target Hispanic individuals and entire Hispanic communities in a broad way to enforce federal immigration law, when several problematic collaborative programs with ICE are supposedly to be narrowly focused.
In addition, some state lawmakers undertake initiatives of their own that further encouraged racial profiling. For example, Arizona’s S.B. 1070 turns mere civil infractions of federal immigration law, such as not carrying registration papers, into state crimes, and gives private citizen the right to sue Arizona law enforcement authority if they believe that the law is not being fully enforced.
What kind of legislation is proposed in regard to racial profiling?
The End Racial Profiling Act (S. 1670) has been introduced to the 112th Congress in 2011-2012, and heard by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. ERPA will create a federal prohibition against racial profiling, provide funding to train officials on how to end this practice, and hold law enforcement officials and agencies that continue to use racial profiling accountable.
[i] Restoring a National Consensus: The Need to End Racial Profiling in America by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (Washington, DC), March 2012.
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST CALLED TO BE AN ANTI-RACIST CHURCH
ADOPTED 2003 GENERAL SYNOD MULTIRACIAL/MULTICULTURAL ADDENDUM TO 1993 PRONOUNCEMENT AND PROPOSAL FOR ACTION
WHEREAS, racism is rooted in a belief of the
superiority of whiteness and bestows benefits,
unearned rights, rewards, opportunities,
advantages, access, and privilege on Europeans
and European descendants; and
WHEREAS, the reactions of people of color to
racism are internalized through destructive
patterns of feelings and behaviors impacting
their physical, emotional, and mental health and
their spiritual and familial relationships; and
WHEREAS, through institutionalized racism,
laws, customs, traditions, and practices
systemically foster inequalities; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations World
Conference against Racism, Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related
Intolerance affirmed that racism has historically
through imperialism and colonization created an
unequal world order and power balance with
present global implications impacting
governments, systems, and institutions; and
WHEREAS, the denomination has shown
leadership among many UnitedChurch of Christ
conferences, associations, and local
congregations by initiating innovative antiracism
programs, by developing anti-racism
facilitators, and in general have made
dismantling racism a priority, there is still much
to be done. As we continue in this effort, the
work we do must reflect the historical and
present experiences and stories of all peoples
impacted by racism. We must work from a
paradigm reflective of the historical
relationships of racial and ethnic groups and
racial oppression within the UnitedChurch of
Christ and society; and
WHEREAS, the United States finds itself in
increased racial unrest during this period after
the tragedy of September 11, 2001. New studies
show that hate crimes and blatant acts of racial
violence doubled in number during the last half
of 2002 and are continuing to rise. These
outward acts, combined with continued
institutional racism, emphasize the need for antiracism
mobilization within church and society as
we seek to do justice; and
WHEREAS, there are growing movements of
peace that have people of all races, backgrounds,
and ages involved, urging us to expand our
knowledge of what racism is and study its
ramifications on all people; and
WHEREAS, General Synods of the United
Church of Christ have, since 1963, voted eleven
resolutions, statements, and pronouncements
denouncing racism, and it is time to honor
mandates and expectations of this body and of
THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the
United Church of Christ is called to be an antiracist
church and that we encourage all
Conferences and Associations and local
churches of the UnitedChurch of Christ to adopt
anti-racism mandates, including policy that
encourages anti-racism programs for all United
Church of Christ staff and volunteers; and
LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that
Conferences and Associations and local
churches facilitate programs within their
churches that would examine both historic and
contemporary forms of racism and its effects and
that the programs be made available to the
LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that
Justice and Witness Ministries provides
leadership in the development and
implementation of programs to dismantle
racism, working in partnership with the
Collegium, Covenanted Ministries, Affiliated
Ministries, Associated Ministries, Conferences,
Associations and local churches in developing
appropriately trained anti-racism facilitators; and
LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the
Covenanted Ministries of the United Church of
Christ work in concert to dismantle racism in
church and in society and partner with
Conferences and Associations in sharing
resources and costs associated with doing antiracism
LET IT BE FINALLY RESOLVED, that the
Justice and Witness Ministries will report the
progress of the development and implementation
of these programs at the Twenty-fifth General
Funding for the implementation of this
resolution will be made in accordance with the
overall mandates of the affected agencies and
the funds available.
The United Church of Christ Historical Council was created in 1975 by the Tenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ. The Historical Council expresses concern for all archival collections related to the denomination and reminds the United Church of Christ of its traditions.
Each year, the UCC Historical Council makes an appeal to support the Congregational Christian Historical Society, the Evangelical & Reformed Historical Society, and the United Church of Christ Archives. Respond to the appeal and make a donation here.
The UCC Historical Council advocates on behalf of the following institutions that care for various aspects of United Church of Christ history and heritage:
The Archives of the United Church of Christ
Located at Church House in Cleveland, the UCC Archives preserves the records of the church's national setting since 1957. All questions concerning parish and family records, the work of General Synod, and the history of the national setting of the UCC should be directed to the UCC Archives.
Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society
Located at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, the Society cultivates interest in the heritage of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS), the Evangelical Synod of North America, and the denomination founded in 1934 as a result of the merger of these two bodies: the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Lancaster Seminary also maintains the Reformed Church archives, plus a collection of records from the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The archives for the Evangelical and Reformed Church Historical Society (Southern Chapter), formerly housed at the Catawba College Archives, is now housed at the Evangelical & Reformed Historical Society. Most of the information in the archives is about the churches in North Carolina that were former Reformed Church in the United States/Evangelical and Reformed Churches. Please click on the link above for more information.
The Society is located at the Congregational Library and Archives in Boston. The library and archives are administered by the American Congregational Association and was founded in 1853 "for the purpose of establishing and perpetuating a library of religious history and literature of New England." The records of the General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches are maintained here. Formed in 1853 with the gift of 56 books from its owners' personal collections, the Congregational Library now holds 225,000 items documenting the history of one of the nation's oldest and most influential religious traditions. Please click on one of the links above for more information.
The Archives at Eden Theological Seminary collects, preserves and makes available the historical records and manuscripts related to Eden Theological Seminary and the Evangelical Synod of North America, a predecessor denomination of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the United Church of Christ. Also held at the Archives at Eden Theological Seminary are the Deaconess Archives, which cover the period from the Society's founding in 1889 to the sale of Deaconess Hospital in 1997.The Archives has the records of many congregations with roots in the Evangelical Synod of North America, with emphasis on those in the St. Louis metropolitan area and other communities in Missouri and southern Illinois. Please click on the link above for more information.
The Church History Collection at Elon Archives contains the archives of the Christian Church until 1965 when the denomination became part of the United Church of Christ. Please click on the link above for more information.
Amistad Research Center
The Amistad Research Center holds the records for the American Missionary Association as well as for the United Church Board for Home Missions offices that continued the work of the A.M.A. Please click on the link above for more information.
Vacation Bible Study Learning Design
God is still speaking, Listen and Serve
This learning design is for children pre-school through 5th grade, and it sure looks like they had fun!
It is a plan for a 3-evening VacationBibleSchool exploring themes from God is still speaking,
We’re not too young to listen and serve
We welcome everybody
The design is a gift to the church from First Congregational UCC and Mayflower UCC of Sioux City, Iowa and UCC of North Sioux City of North Sioux City, South Dakota.
Here are links to easy-to-reproduce materials and practical guidance to running the program with your group.
- Objectives and schedule
- Come listen – arts
- Come listen – drama
- go tell – arts
- Go serve – story and service
- Story – arts
- Jar lights – arts
- Music and movement
(See a VBS design from the same trio exploring identity in light of God is still speaking,
Vacation Bible School)
We don't have all the answers! Check out the work of the following organizations. This list gives some of the organizations and websites that staff of the UCC refer to when we receive election-related information requests from our members.
Voter Registration and Get-Out-the-Vote information
- National Campaign for Fair Elections
- Federal Election Commission
- League of Women Voters [resouces in Spanish]
- Project Vote
- Vote 411
- APIA Vote [Information targeted at Asian and Pacific Islander Voters]
Youth and Young Adults
- Rock the Vote
- United States Student Association
- Vote Latino
- Future Majority [Progressive Youth Blogs on Politics]
- The League of Young Voters
Faith-Based Voter Projects
Voting Policy and Reform
High impact newspaper advertising
Think out of the box
Newspaper ads #1
Who? Laurie Hafner, pastor, Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH
What? High impact newspaper advertising
Where? Place your newspaper ad where and when it’s not expected.
More...Place ads everywhere -- local newsletters, flyers, concert programs, etc.
Radio and print ads reinforce one another, so try to combine media. People hear a quirky radio ad and see a cool print ad – they remember. And if there’s an invitation from a friend ... (See Ideas that Work)
Newspapaper ads #2
Who? Hal Cutler, moderator, Memorial Congregational Church UCC, Sudbury, MA
When? Any time
Where? In a daily or weekly newspaper
Why? Ad purchasing power grows exponentially with more participants
How? Research the options with your local paper. Use the free headlines (see Advent tool #5) or the Stillspeaking Graphics Toolkit (customizable headlines). Recruit partners and arrange the placement details.
More…Memorial spearheaded joint advertising in the Metrowest Daily News: 1) Determining the coverage of the newspaper, the desired days to advertise and the budget available, 2) Creating a sample ad and contacting the nearby UCC churches to participate in a group purchase, allowing for variable contributions, 3) Running the ad(s) with the names, addresses & phone numbers of each church. This spirit of cooperation allows for a much bigger impact than one church could have alone, and sends a positive message about fellowship among local congregations. Also, Townsend Congregational Church, UCC placed an ad in The Coffee News, a free weekly distributed at coffee shops and the like; Mattapoisett Congregational Church, UCC put an ad in the local bargain buster; and First Congregational Church Brimfield joined with First Church of Monson, UCC to run a color ad in the shopping guide that’s mailed to every home in both church areas.
Likewise, First Congregational Church, UCC, Stoughton bought a billboard ad, after deciding on the best location and learning about its views-per-day statistics.
Try this variation from Stillspeaking:
Some churches or groups of churches are buying 4 to 8 page inserts though their local newspaper. When you do this, you can determine the specific zip codes you want to deliver it to. Many areas have highly affordable rates.
From Stillspeaking 102 (Stillspeaking Training Manual revised and reissued Summer 2005. Chapter contains 18 more tried and tested ideas from local churches.
Put the Stillspeaking colors and images on your building, on your desk, on your table, on your body. The better and more often you connect with the brand, the more likely people who recognize the United Church of Christ will connect with you.
We’ve kept United Church of Christ Resources (a.k.a. the warehouse) busy with sales nearly 4 times larger than expected, and last December stuff was flying off the shelves! We have sold more than $431,000 in Stillspeaking products - $187,000 went to fundThe Stillspeaking Initiative.
All our vendors are sweat free
Many vendors tithe to The Stillspeaking Initiative
Visit the Stillspeaking Store for lotsa great stuff -- from Stocking Stuffers to Gift Combos.
Stillspeaking Gift Combos
Stillspeaking Gift Combos
(Black padded portfolio w/solar calculator, embossed cover text reads: God is still speaking, - UCC emblem; Red comma on black mug/text reads: God is still speaking,)
(Black padded portfolio w/solar calculator, embossed cover text reads: God is still speaking, - UCC emblem; 1 lanyard (available in red or black) and 1 blinker pen)
(Short sleeve T-shirt, with text that reads: God is still speaking, includes Gracie quote and red comma – available in sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL in red or black; Baseball caps available in red, black and beige, with text that reads: God is still speaking,- includes Stillspeaking url)
Baseball cap, 5-pack of wristbands, temporary tattoos - $30.00
(Baseball cap available in red, black and beige, with text that reads: God is still speaking/includes Stillspeaking url; a 5-pack of wristbands (available in red or black); a pack of 50 tattoos (black comma on red background)
(Short sleeve golf shirt, available in red or black/text reads: God is still speaking/includes Stillspeaking url. Available in Women’s sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL and Men’s sizes M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL; and 1 sleeve of golf balls (3 balls per sleeve) - Top Flite XL Pure Distance, stamped with red comma and UCC.org url)
(Red canvas tote, text reads: God is still speaking, with Stillspeaking url; Short sleeve T-shirt, with text that reads: God is still speaking, includes Gracie quote and red comma – available in sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL in red or black; Baseball caps available in red, black and beige, with text that reads: God is still speaking,-includes Stillspeaking url)
(Sturdy backpack in black with red comma, measures 17"h x 13"w x 6"d; Short sleeve T-shirt, with text that reads: God is still speaking, includes Gracie quote and red comma – available in sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL in red or black; Baseball caps available in red, black and beige, with text that reads: God is still speaking/includes Stillspeaking url)
(10 white bandanas with red comma and text that reads: God is still speaking, - 5-pack of wristbands (red or black); 10 Stillspeaking commas in red)
(Sturdy backpack in black with red comma, measures 17"h x 13"w x 6"d; Baseball caps available in red, black and beige, with text that reads: God is still speaking/includes Stillspeaking url; Black comma on red mug/text reads: God is still speaking; 2 sleeves of golf balls ( 3 balls per sleeve) - Top Flite XL Pure Distance, stamped with red comma and UCC.org url; 2 blinker pens, with text that reads: God is still speaking,; a 5-pack of wristbands (red or black)
(Sturdy backpack in black with red comma, measures 17"h x 13"w x 6"d; Long sleeve T-shirt available in black only, text reads: If you think getting up Sunday morning is hard, try rising from the dead – available in sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL ; Black comma on red mug/text reads: God is still speaking, -includes Stillspeaking url; Baseball caps available in red, black and beige, with text that reads: God is still speaking, includes Stillspeaking url; a 5-pack of wristbands ( red or black)
Hear a call to extend extravagant hospitality in Jesus' name? Want to build and claim your identity as part of the United Church of Christ? Burn with energy for invitation, welcome, mission? Like to have fun? These tools are for you.