To Be Continued: Taxes, Caste, and Antiracism

Dear Ones,

It’s Tax Day! Traditionally April 15th is the day the filing of income taxes is due, though this year there’s an extension due to the global pandemic.
Thinking about taxes makes me think of all the ways the taxes we pay – income tax, property tax, sales tax – supports services we depend upon. Services like public schools and universities, national forests and parks, national museums and monuments, public health departments, fire departments, and police departments.
Minneapolis/St. Paul is currently seeing another wave of uprising in the wake of the shooting of Daunte Wright, an unarmed African-American man, by a police officer during a traffic stop. Concurrently, Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on the neck of George Floyd until Floyd was dead, is on trial for murder.
Some of us are working our way through reading the book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson. It is sobering, illuminating, and often painful to read how the system of our society was structured to keep all of us in our places, via a caste system. Unlike some other caste systems, the one in the United States is based on the color of our skin.
Protesters in Minneapolis/St. Paul are seeking answers and accountability. Answers about training and profiling, accountability to the communities the police officers are hired to serve. The details behind the movement to defund the police and dismantle the system as it currently exists are far too complex for this column. We know, though, that there must be a better way. The system was built over a long period of time, and it will take more time to dismantle.
As some of you know, our Unitarian Universalist Association is engaged in some deep soul work of its own regarding the caste system, white supremacy culture, and becoming actively antiracist. I invite you to get a copy of Widening the Circle of Concern, the report from the UUA Commission on Institutional Change, published last June, and learn more. I’m eager to gather a group together to study the report and its recommendations! Let me know if you’re interested!
Be well, and stay safe everyone!

Rev. Lori Hlaban