Category Archives: Uncategorized

Toward Greater Humanity: Seven Insights into Anti-Racism Work with Kokayi Nosakhere on April 12 @6pm

Since 1675 this American experiment with race and racism is so off-balanced, it makes people think they have to  attain a PhD to learn how to be human.” – Kokayi Nosakhere, community organizer and Black man living in Southern Oregon, 2021

Most Americans in 2021 acknowledge racism remains a prevalent societal ill. The question becomes how to address it. Nosakhere proposes seven insights and suggests several personal practices to effectively interrupt basic American socialization, which makes racists of us all.

  • Learn what a soul wound is and why everyone in America has one.
  • Learn the history of the idea of race in American history and society.
  • Learn functional definitions of culture and the new boundaries emerging around said idea as humanity moves towards self-actualization.
  • Learn how to manage your actions on social media to foster the healing needed in America around the ideas of race/racism.
  • Learn the 11 tactics Dr. DiAngelo has outlined which reinforced a whiteness-centered worldview. Explore the counters to said tactics designed to decenter whiteness and expand our collective capacity to enter greater and greater humanity.

This $225 class has been discounted to $75 for Southern Oregon UUs. To register for this class, make your $75 payment here: https://www.paypal.me/KokayiNosakhere
Make sure to provide your contact information so Kokayi can send you the Zoom link to Monday’s workshop.

Objective: Develop white-bodied allies in Oregon who understand their personal responsibility to heal the American soul wounds and interrupt supremacy socialization practices.

  1. Show LOVE to yourself.

After living in the Rogue Valley for the past two years, I know who it takes to inspire the growth and development most of us can agree on social media many of us want. However, the bridge we all need is a human process which creates the allies strong enough to communicate the benefits of cultural diversity. A collection of open minds can take the next step and envision the practical steps necessary to get there.

As you read in my book, “When and Where We Feel Safe,” first responders inside the organizing planning sessions for the 12th Annual Beloved Music Festival, provided me with the experience of a BIPOC Sanctuary. The space was the brainchild of four young inter-racial geniuses. Their experiment paved a way to showing we pioneers how to fortify BIPOC persons in a sea of white bodies; how to regulate the fear/freeze/flight response and implement the healing modalities shaped at the festival into our community life. 

  1. Protect the vulnerable.

Before you is opportunity to do what has never been done before – in Oregon: heal the white racial trauma which lives here. Ashland is home to the pilot program of this healing experiment: a BIPOC Sanctuary. Ashland is the first community to write the next chapter in this story of providing “medicine for the people.” Eugene, Oregon can be the second. Salem can be the third. Bend can be the fourth.

Here is what I am suggesting you do next. 

  1. Include the marginalized. 

Enroll into the Seven Insights into Anti-Racism Work ZOOM-based class coming up Monday, April 12, 2021 at 6 pm. Cost is $225 per student. (Because you are a UU member, this class is discounted to $75 with a limit of 10 persons total.)

The following endorsement comes from a student of Solsara, who attended a three day event, Interrupting Whiteness, held in the third weekend of February 2020. I attended that event and made a few contributions towards this transformative experience.

“It is my absolute honor to be writing about a very inspirational man and his work. Not only a heart-centered and deeply caring person, his writing and teachings are articulate, passionate, and researched. His investment in his Oregon communities is a humanitarian gift. I imagine he left a large footprint in Alaska, as well; his soulful presence is singular. Indeed, the work he is doing is desperately needed by a society that has been drafted upon marginalized backs. And: he is woefully alone. What measurement of courage, what immensity of spirit is needed, to heal and teach in this environment? In my mind, this makes him a Warrior Leader.

Kokayi Nosakhere is leading by example, through his sharing of life experience as a POC, and by professorship. He is breaking holes in the institutions and spaces that perpetuate a white racialized America, while providing sanctuary for his Brothers and Sisters. Kokayi’s writing is raw and honest, and commands a white audience to listen. He commands us to be still and go within. He writes from a very examined and direct place, which requires – to even begin to enter dialogue with him – to question what it is to be white, or experiencing white privilege. He is teaching us about centuries of oppression from a boundaried place. He is teaching us about who we are, in collective relationship to one another, from a boundaried place. He is doing and sharing his healing, from a boundaried place. And because he is so carefully boundaried, Kokayi is potentially one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. Thank you for who you are, and for all of your work. In our brief knowing of each other, you have changed my life. I expect I am just a humbled one among many. Much love.”

-Ellie Grove, Eugene, OR

April Chronicles By Barbara

NOTES FROM THE ARCHIVES, PLUS UPDATES ON SOME PAST MEMBERS

Spring has officially arrived. Let’s start with THUMBS UP for two former board members.  First, SALUD to Wendy & Bob Millard.

On March 13th Wendy emailed: “On the 15th we have a crew coming to rake the soil on our 3 city lots below our house, between us & city park. Next they’ll sow $600 worth of wildflower seed I bought, & tamp it into soil. The hope is a beautiful field of wildflowers between us and the park, and a field kids from the park can pick wildflowers for their moms. (Seed is specially formulated for arid climates, drought).  The city’s working with us, and have agreed to help with sprinklers.”  

The March 13th H&N published an education piece, printed over three pages.   On page 7,  “U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley recently acknowledged Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School Principal, Scott Preston, Chiloquin Elementary Principal Rita Hepper, and VP Janelle Emard, for helping more than 70 Chiloquin families last summer during the fire”. They were presented a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.

Early in his career Scott was a UUFKC board member, & outside his classroom,  cameras in hand, he shot county schools’  athletic highlights; also assisted schools with year books.  Scott, et al, SALUD!

In the March 13th H&N, a big photo & caption recognizing 5th anniversary of Blue Zones’ Launch in Klamath Falls, & our certification: Blue Zones Community.  Klamath County celebrated having been awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health.  YAHOO!  

Way back, pre-SOUUP,  any given summer Sunday,  UUFKC,  “closed shop”, & car-pooled to Ashland for a RVUUF service. One trip, our ride included a loud, clunk, clunk under the hood. (That day, passengers’ & our guardian angels did extra duty. We safely arrived & returned to the Basin.) First thing Monday we were at auto shop. Can’t recall which, but an engine-mount bolt was either loose OR lost!  

Had a call today, (03/29), from Angela Foxhawk.  She went to her Oregon work position in Beaverton in 2020, a month prior to COVID. Now she’s had 14 months there in unemployment benefits.

Best news:  They found a house, in Albany.  Their offer was accepted this past weekend.  Months of search found them looking farther and farther from Beaverton area.

Briefly, she’ll commute to work in the department’s  Wilsonville office.  Once settled in new home, she’ll work from home.

Her hope: To eventually transfer to the investigations’ aspect  of abuse of unemployment benefits.  With a name like Foxhawk, she has a good start. Plus, previous extended work years in Colorado’s unemployment benefits.  (She shared the two states’ laws vary greatly. Definitely not as one would assume.)   

–Barbara Turk, UUFKC Archivist

March 2021 Chronicles by Barbara Turk

To keep up with Peace Readers I continued reading Toni Morrison’s, BELOVED;  also read, TO BE A SLAVE, by Julius Lester; and viewed all OPB’s  BHM programs.

Lester’s book gave me a reality check:  “The ancestry of any black American can be traced to a bill of sale. In many instances that cannot be done.”

He wrote that in the early 19th century the American Slavery Society, and other northern abolition groups, took down stories of thousands of blacks, who escaped the south.  Those narrations swayed northerners’ attitudes about slavery, and the eventual Civil War.  Interest in the ex-slaves stories diminished until 1930’s, when a Federal Writers’ Project interviewed former slaves, still alive & willing to speak.  

In 1963 Lester learned the 1930’s narratives were kept in the Archive of Folksong, at the Library of Congress. The Writers’ Project had verbatim  narratives, preserving speech patterns, language,  giving posterity the “earthy directness communication”. (Lester pg. 14-15)  

In the 19th century the white abolitionists, in many instances, rewrote, “…to conform to literary standards of the time”. (Lester pg. 14)  And they faced  this possibility: If former slaves were quoted verbatim, that provided, “…ammunition for arguments of black inferiority”.  (Lester pg. 14)   

The goal of slave owners’ was to break the spirit of another human. But, such produced a  rampant misfortune,  FEAR—that slaves would rise up.  In a word, owners created their own hell, then had to live in it.

Aisha Hauser, MSW,  of the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship’s Lead Ministry Team (a trio), wrote in a February 26 email she’s reading James Baldwin’s, THE FIRE NEXT TIME.  (Peace Readers, take note for a possible selection.)  She shared, “Baldwin’s stark truth-telling resonated deeply with me.  I have been on a mission as a truth-teller to create a vision of this faith’s potential.”

She closed with:  “I believe that if UUism can be the place where whites live authentically and learn to sit in discomfort and face the realities of targeted communities and take substantive (not white savior) action toward dismantling systems of oppression. For folks living with targeted identities, my wish is UUism offers a place of solace  and care for their spirits.”

–Barbara Turk, Archivist

Kids’ SOUUP Zoom Group Adopts Covenant Using Democratic Process

In our monthly meetings, Southern Oregon UU Partnership kids from Klamath Falls, Grants Pass & Ashland congregations get to practice Unitarian Universalism in community lighting a chalice, sharing joys & sorrows (“roses & thorns”), and practicing living our faith. In creating and voting on our covenant, our kids are learning about what this free faith means.

As we voted over Zoom — thumbs up for yes, down for no, sideways for unsure — the folks with down and sideways thumbs often shared that they were worried that these promises might be hard to live up to. This is the beauty of the practice of covenant: when we fail to live up to our promises, we can use our covenant to call us back into right relationship. The video below is the covenant reminder we’ll use at the beginning of each Zoom session on the first Sunday of the month at 10am. To register your child for Kids’ SOUUP, click here.

February Chronicles by Barbara Turk

Had a recent, brief discussion with a fellow UU. We are confused by
Christians turning to the Old Testament, when Jesus is the New Testament. In Basic Principles of Christianity my frosh year in a Catholic liberal arts college for women, Sister Catherine Clare shared Jesus was the, “NEW LAW”. Does that suffice for the New Testament as well?

Moving along, Jesus’ teaching—LOVE—-seems most appropriate for the
Valentine month.

In our past some in our fair county wanted the Ten Commandments on a
wall of the commissioners’ chamber in the Government Center. (Still there.)

So, I share a story of a UU and Jew. Both lovers of teaching, respectful of
one another, leaders of their spirit communities. Ben Kerns brought
Unitarianism to Klamath Falls; Paul Warshauer was the rabbi-figure for the Jewish community.

In 1997 Ben wrote a Letter to Editor. From our Archives:
“Recently a letter appeared in these columns stating that Thomas
Jefferson’s addition of freedom of religion to our Constitution did not mean that he would not allow prayer in the schools or the Ten Commandments on the walls. Jefferson was a Unitarian, as were four other of our presidents, and believed firmly in separation of church and state. He would not condone one religion’s prayers or the Christian Ten Commandments on the wall of a government building.”

Ben concluded quoting some Jefferson writings on the issue.

Paul responded, and was published September 4th:
“With great respect to Ben Kerns in his letter of Aug. 28, the Ten
Commandments are not Christian. They were given to the Hebrews (Jews) at Sinai by God and brought down the mountain by the great Jewish sage and leader, Moses. In point of fact, Moses delivered the commandments and the rest of the Hebrew Bible called the “Old Testament” by some for all humanity to learn from and utilize. So, Moses was one of us. For the record, Ben did call many of us in the Jewish community to apologize. Now that’s being a mensch (a good person who does good deeds). The rest of the letter was OK.

(signed) Paul Warshauer”

“NO VOICE WITHOUT ALL VOICES”
(That from the late William Stafford, Poet Laureate of Oregon and the USA.)

–Barbara Turk

A COVID Carol by Sally

O come all ye sinners

            but only up to six feet

                        and smile

            behind your mask

It’s the festive season

            see the traffic

                        and the mobs out shopping    

            don’t go there

Retreat to Zoom

            and look your best

                        lipstick and earrings

                                    sweatpants and slippers

Send your love

            across the airwaves

spread it into cyberspace

            podcasts and YouTube

                        let it go viral

O listen all you citizens of

            right here on earth

                        can you hear the stirrings

                                    can you smell the ozone

it’s time, it’s time, it’s past time

No chance to go back now

                        =this just in=

                                    it’s a new morn, a new day

Embrace the change, be the change

                                    Glory, hallelujah

This COVID Carol was shared at our December 27th Discussion Worship by fellowship member Sally. We are pleased to share it here with her permission.

Klamath Falls UUs: Putting our values into action at the City Council

Big gratitude to those from UUFKC who continue to side with love by bringing our Unitarian Universalist principles into the public square. We’ve seen many letters to the editor by members and friends over the last few months. Most recently, at the December meeting of the Klamath Falls City Council, our Social Justice Chair Courtney and Board Chair Franny both spoke in support of the resolution, recommended by the Council’s Equity Task Force, “condemning racism, prejudice, and bigotry in any form and recognizing the individual, societal, and economic harm caused by these inequities.”

Drawing from her experience as an educator, Franny spoke about institutional racism, where strict rules are created, but selectively enforced based on the race of the rule-breaker. She also spoke about how our Unitarian Universalist faith, and specifically our first principle affirming and promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person, informs her anti-racism.

Courtney’s testimony drew a clear line from the founding of Oregon as a state for whites only, built on native genocide and removal, to the militia movements that we see today. She shared the everyday racist education that she experienced growing up in Klamath Falls, and highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID on black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in our communities. Her message was hopeful; by learning our history and addressing the inequities, beginning with the passage of this resolution, we have the power to change this community.

We are excited to report that this resolution was passed by the city council! We will continue to hold our elected officials accountable to upholding the resolution that they passed, and look forward to seeing the positive shifts in Klamath Falls that may grow out of this resolution.

Aspirations by Alison: Celebrating Thanksgrieving

WHY THANXGRIEVING?
for years, i had a hard time conceptually giving thanks on a holiday when the major players in the holiday had been massacred and their lands had been invaded and occupied: whoa! how to give thanks for that, dude?! i mean, just sit with that for a moment: if you look at it from that perspective, other than commemorating it so that no one would forget what had happened, would you really want to celebrate that day? […] Part of my main purpose in writing about WHY THANXGRIEVING? is that doing this is part of my assignment in the world to REMEMBER THE “FORGOTTEN”, especially those who lost their lives in the HIV pandemic.”

— Ibrahim Baba Farajaje, of blessed memory, former Provost & spiritual ancestor to Starr King School for the Ministry

Nearly a month out from Thanksgiving, my words have been slow to come, but no less necessary to be written and shared. Baya Akomolafe, Nigerian poet, philosopher, psychologist, and professor, shares an African saying with his audiences: “The times are urgent, let us slow down.” I’m embracing the slow path, and hope you will join me here. 

Ibrahim Baba’s words above are part of a longer piece where ze explores the Thansgrieving ritual ze adopted after a friend who had hosted their community’s epic queer Friendsgiving celebration lost his life to AIDS just before the holiday. The holiday season can be a time of deep grief for many of us, remembering those who are no longer here to celebrate with us, or being unable to go home to our family of origin because of ruptures there. This year, we also grieve the ways we are used to celebrating that are not safe right now because of the global pandemic. 

As Thanksgiving came and passed, I felt deeply the grief that came with the holiday. Just weeks before, the Southern Oregon UU Partnership community learned from Monica YellowOwl about the experience of land seizure and genocide that the Klamath, Yahooskin, and Modoc peoples, on whose lands UUFKC makes its home, have endured. Our training brought home the reality of what we celebrate at Thanksgiving: indigenous genocide at the hands of my ancestors. This Thanksgiving, I also felt the grief of watching as the media portrayed the white murderer of a young black man in Ashland as a loving father fallen on tough times, sharing the murderer’s GoFundMe page before any information on the victim or ways to support his family. (I won’t link to those news articles, but you can learn more about this incident from the perspective of local black activists HERE.) I felt grief this year as I confronted these layers of the meaning of whiteness in Southern Oregon. 

But I didn’t honor Thanksgrieving. Instead, I tried to push the grief away and press on. What right do I have to take time to feel the pain of systems of oppression that I benefit from? I asked myself. But that wasn’t helpful, and it wasn’t possible to avoid the grief. My better self knows this, and I’ve even preached it. Our service in October, drawing from Resmaa Menakem’s text My Grandmother’s Hands reminds us to use the tools of settling our body to stay with even the hard feeling, so that our pain can be metabolized instead of living inside of our bodies as trauma. I’ve included a video of that worship service below, in case you need the reminder too. 

It was about a week after Thanksgiving when I realized I had no choice but to pause and feel the grief. And as I wept, I remembered a promise I made to you in September in the covenant I shared at my first worship service as your intern minister: I promise to serve as a conduit through which the Spirit of Life may flow into our midst. To fully live into that promise, I had to stop and feel the grief. Grief flows from the Spirit of Life in the face of life made disposable, life desecrated, love nowhere to be found. Sometimes, the Spirit moves us to grieve. So even if you’re celebrating late like me, I encourage you to celebrate Thanksgrieving this holiday season by allowing yourself time and space to feel the grief so many of us are holding right now for so many reasons. 

In Faith, 

Alison Duren-Sutherland
Intern Minister

CHALICE CRAFTING WITH THE SOUTHERN OREGON UU PARTNERSHIP

The flaming chalice is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. At UUFKC, we light a chalice at the start of every Sunday worship service. By making your own chalice, you can join in on Sunday and light your own chalice at home!

Southern Oregon UU Partnership Intern Minister Alison is offering three different chalice crafting options for your family. Watch the video above to learn how to make a Candy Dish Chalice, visit the Children’s Program page of the Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (rvuuf.org/worship/childrens-program/) and click on the picture to learn how to make a Plastic Egg Chalice, and visit UUs of Grants Pass on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UUGrantsPass) to learn how to make a Wine Glass Chalice.

All the materials for these crafts can be found at the dollar store, but if you would like materials provided to your family via postal mail, please email intern.minister@rvuuf.org with your mailing address. You do not have to be a kid to make a chalice! They also make great gifts. Happy crafting, and happy chalice lighting!

December Chronicles by Barbara Turk

Now only in memories and Archives’ photos are the many December Sunday services and the, “Stone Soup Story”. Also, a roaring fire in the big fireplace, and the excitement of children in late December.

THANKS to Monica YellowOwl and Sally Ann Palcovich for their recent sharing with us.

—Former and late Gov. Tom McCall said our heroes are not only the statues in parks, but the individuals working in their community, for the community.—

THANKS to Faith Leith for stepping up as a candidate for the Oregon legislature.

CONGRATS to Phil Studenberg on his election to a second term on our City Council.

CONDOLENCES…to Dr. Rand Hale and family, on the recent passing of his mother. Pre-retirement Dr. Hale served many of us as PCP.

…to the family of Dr. Sharon Melnick. She, too, had a lot of history with many of us. Physician and psychiatrist, Sharon was also a shaman. With her late husband, Robert Chinook, also a shaman, “They established a community of healers and performed innumerable rituals for community members at times of grief, celebration, and solstice.” (H&N obit)

UUFKC HISTORY TIDBIT: HOW KIN FOUGHT THE OCA

In the 1990’s progressive ministers formed the Klamath Interfaith Network, having left the Klamath ministers’ group, which supported the Oregon Citizens Alliance. The OCA put anti-LGBTQ on our Oregon ballots, over three election cycles. The OCA’s ballot measures passed three times in Klamath County, but failed, state-wide, three times.

KIN activists included Robert Chinook, Ben Kerns, Lou and me, along with liberal, mainstream ministers. We asserted the OCA’s hate messages were not a part of every Klamath County heart. That was quite a gift to our community, our churches, the UUFKC.

Tho KIN no longer exists, an off-shoot is the Peace Readers, vibrant and active. A number of us, along with, “friends” of UUFKC are involved.

Lastly, Julia Jackman broke her ankle; Terri Horn is my, “sister” in breast cancer recovery. HEAL!!!

JOYOUS HOLIDAYS!

–Barbara Turk, turkiyebabs@charater.net