Diversity. Equity. Inclusion.
Unity, and the West Central Region of Unity Worldwide Ministries by extension, embrace the diversity of the world as a gift. We celebrate our human family’s diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, faith history, economic status, marital status, physical and mental ability, and education. We affirm that all people are created in the image of God and as expressions of God, all are worthy of God’s love and grace. We welcome the full inclusion of all people in the life and ministries of our West Central Region Unity centers and churches – and invite all to join in our faith journey towards greater love, understanding and mutual respect.
Unity’s History and DEI
By Reverend Dinah Chapman, M.Div.
Unity has a challenging history regarding racial equity and inclusion, one that has been often dismissed and downplayed by the white Unity community – and sadly, this is not just in the long ago past. While studying to be a Licensed Unity Teacher (LUT), during my time in seminary living at the Village, and now serving in ministry, racist behavior is something I have personally experienced within Unity.
Historically, there is the documented minstrel show with faces blackened and the denial of lodging to African American ministerial students. More recently, there is the tepid responses to the violence regularly committed against the black community – Trayvon Martin, the killing of nine black members of Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, SC, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many more. These all reveal a disconnect between the spiritual principles of Oneness, living the Truth we know, and what many African Americans’ lived experience is in terms of racial inclusion within Unity. There is still real resistance to acknowledging the racism that is part of our community, but, we are being called higher.
At this important time in history, the Unity movement can no longer be silent on these issues and allow the vestiges of racism, white privilege, and prejudice to continue to hold structures and systems of inequity in place. It’s time for ministries within the Western Central region to be a force for good and collectively take giant steps forward to bring about real societal and spiritual transformation.
We cannot go back to the status quo. I encourage and invite all ministers and ministries in West Central region to follow the Master Teacher, and the initiatives of UWH and UWM in their resolve to “commit to eradicating any and all systems, policies, and practices that would in any way replicate our past mistakes or reproduce an environment that discriminates against or is inhospitable toward people on the basis of race, color, or ethnicity.”
We are all invited to wholeheartedly commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as the activation of our Unity Principles – it is how we can live the truth we know. Collaborate, share experiences, have conversations, be willing to be uncomfortable, and most importantly take concrete action steps to keep moving this forward. This is how Unity can truly shine light in the world, by celebrating the divinity and sacred worth of all. “This work is not a one-and-done exercise,” but a road upon which we will travel for future generations to come. Our future must begin today.