Earlier this year, I decided to make sure that at least one song in every Sunday's service is composed or performed by a Person of Color (POC). I am the Editor of the AUUMM, and I have created a filter to identify songs created by POC. As part of that work, I have added songs deliberately to that database that are by black people. I have gone out of my way to find lists of black composers and their pieces that would work for UU worship. I am making this intentional effort because it's one small thing that I can do, and that we can do as a church, to be an anti-racist.
It's a tangible effort to feature the voices of POC, which is especially important when the service is about the 8th Principle, Indigenous rights, or other topics that are directly about racism. Besides doing our part to center the voices of the marginalized people in our society, our church is also distributing money to POC creators by using their music, whether it's by purchasing sheet music, paying license fees, or sending a donation for the use of their video in our service. I am also choosing guest musicians intentionally, making it a priority to hire POC musicians whenever possible. If you know any POC musicians or composers you'd like me to feature, please share! The amazing video by Taylor Fagins, we need more. from the 8th Principle service was shared with me by Katherine Martin. We can always draw the circle wider, and we are all better for it every time we do.
Beth Syverson is Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church's Director of Music Ministries. She plans and arranges the music for worship on Sunday mornings, provides piano music during services, and directs the Orange Coast Choir. She is also the artistic director of OCUUC’s concert series—Orange Coast Concerts—which features several eclectic concerts throughout the year.