2023 Theme Speaker: CB Beal!

The Call is Coming from Inside the House*

Preemptive Radical Inclusion and Practices for Witness, Self Examination and Change

Digital graphic of a telephone ringing and the words The call is coming from inside the house, 2023 Summer Institute

CB Beal (they/them/theirs) is a storyteller, educator, and speaker who is known for their humor, insight, ability to use their own foibles and unfortunate life experiments as cautionary tale, and to hold space where people can be braver and safer, facilitating learning experiences where people get to make their next move towards justice. Through stories, reflections, and conversation about practices of preemptive radical inclusion, CB will help us explore our capacity for witness, self examination and change.

Preemptive radical inclusion is a collection of ideas and a set of practices; a pathway to increasing justice in the world by taking our own privilege and power seriously and increasing our willingness and capacity to change. Unitarian Universalists sometimes default to the idea that social justice is something that we go somewhere else to practice. The focus for this week will be to explore ideas around understanding ourselves as agents of justice that that require that we allow ourselves to be changed by one another. Equity and justice are not just “out there somewhere,” but also lie in our daily relationships. Justice, or not, is in our own experience of how we wield privilege and bear up under and resist marginalization and/or oppression. We will explore what it means to be radically inclusive in a preemptive way — that is to say to make changes in our own lives, homes, and organizations that will meaningfully create opportunities for justice to thrive, to have boundaries and relationships of community care which let us live as though everyone is always and already in the room. Inclusion is not for later, and it’s not the goal. Inclusion is right now, and it is but part of the preparation for the goal, which is justice.

What keeps us from being the person who’s making the call from inside the house is our willingness and capacity to reflect carefully, deeply bear witness to one another and to people marginalized in a way we are not, bear the discomfort that comes with trying new things as well as the joy of common cause, a ha moments, and meaningful justice.

CB take seriously the idea that we all get free together. They look forward to hanging out with everyone for a week while we practice that.

* A note on the title, which is meant referentially not literally. “The call is coming from inside the house” is a reference to a scene that can be found in the fictional horror genre within which a person is receiving frightening and injurious communication (phone calls). In response, they hide in the house where it’s safe. But the calls are coming from inside to the house. The place the expected safety is housing danger.

About CB Beal

Headshot of CB Beale. a white, non-binary/genderqueer, queer, mostly able-bodied fat person.CB has made mistakes in their life and has sometimes been the person making the metaphorical call from inside the house, hurting people. They now understand that all of us bear the responsibility to create justice and avoid intentional or accidental harm. And we can’t stay the same as we are now or we would have achieved it already.

CB is a lifelong educator and consultant, recipient of the 2019 Angus H McLean award for Excellence in Religious Education from the UUA. CB grew up on a farm, attended college outside Philadelphia and later moved from Philadelphia to attend Union Theological Seminary in New York. From there they moved to the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts were they have worked in different educational settings for the last 30 years. They now make their living as a speaker and consultant.

More information about CB can be found at https://justiceandpeaceconsulting.com/about/about-cb/ and https://www.uua.org/offices/people/cb-beal.