As we begin our series of conversations about Black Lives Matter, you are asked to make your life matter.
As a Unitarian Universalist, you have chosen a different path. Now that path is leading us to back to an old place and into a new world all at once. Back to the unfinished Civil Rights struggle in which Unitarians and Universalists played a vital role. And forward to a nation and world that finally comes to grips with structural racism and oppression.
Perhaps this call to action by Kenny Wiley will inspire you. We begin tomorrow in Room 25 at 9:30. Scroll down for a complete description of our series, including a link to register for the four-session #blacklivesmatter workshop in December and January.
Your Life Matters
Most of us Unitarian Universalists are here because we felt welcome here — at last. Some of us were too agnostic somewhere else. Some of us weren’t vindictive enough somewhere else. We were too working-class somewhere else. We were too lesbian somewhere else. We were too nerdy somewhere else, too introverted somewhere else, too gay-married somewhere else.
Many of us are here because this faith and the people in it affirmed: you may not be perfect, but your life matters just the same.
That’s what’s on the line now. Through racism and posthumous victim-blaming, through silence and bullets and indifference and vilification, black people are being told that our lives do not matter—or that they matter only conditionally. Black lives matter if: If we are educated. If we are respectful. If.
And sometimes, not even then do our lives matter.
Right now we as Unitarian Universalists are being called to act. We are being called by our ancestors—those who demanded that we help end slavery, that we fight for suffrage, that we join the struggle to end Jim Crow, that we listen to and honor Black Power.
Lydia Maria Child and William Lloyd Garrison are calling us.
Lucy Stone is calling us.
Fannie B. Williams and Frances Ellen Harper are calling us.
James Reeb is calling us.
Viola Liuzzo is calling us.
Guided by that enduring, unfulfilled promise of the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, ours is a faith that has said, or worked to say to those who have been marginalized:
You are a woman, and your life matters.
You are gay or lesbian, and your life matters.
You are transgender, and your life matters.
You are bisexual, and your life matters.
You have a disability, and your life matters.
You were not loved as a child, and your life matters.
You struggle with depression, and your life matters.
Right now we are being called—
by our ancestors, by our principles, by young black activists across the country—
to promote and affirm:
You are young and black, and your life matters.
You stole something, and your life matters.
I have been taught to fear you, and your life matters.
The police are releasing your criminal record, and your life matters.
They are calling you a thug, and your life matters.
Our ancestors, principles, and fellow humans are calling on us to promote affirm, with deeds and words: Black lives matter.
Here’s an outline of the series at First Unitarian Church:
Sunday, Nov. 1, 9:30 a.m. Room 25. Faithful Dialogue. Video and discussion of recent remarks by Sen. Elizabeth Warren that “black lives matter, black families matter, and black citizens matter.” Judy Govatos will host the screening and lead the discussion. Sen. Warren’s speech will begin promptly at 9:30, so don’t be late! (If you cannot join this discussion, you will find Sen. Warren’s speech on YouTube. Click here.)
Nov. 8—Sermon: “Fighting Injustice”
Sunday, Nov. 8, 10:30 a.m. Sunday Worship. “Mission #3: Fighting Injustice, or Where Do White People Fit into the Black Lives Matter Movement?” Rev. Roberta Finkelstein. Roberta continues her sermon series on the four phrases of the congregational mission statement. What does it mean to fight injustice? She will use UU involvement in Black Lives Matter as a case study.
Nov. 15—Sermon Talk-back
Sunday, Nov. 15, 9:30 a.m. Faithful Dialogue. Talk-back on Rev. Finkelstein’s Nov. 8 sermon. See description in Adult Education listings. Brunner Chapel.
Sunday, Dec. 6, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., Room 25. First of a four-session workshop led by Rev. Finkelstein and a volunteer team. This workshop was developed by Rev. Kate Lore, social justice minister at the First Unitarian Church of Portland, Oregon. Subsequent sessions will be on Dec. 13, Jan. 17, and Jan. 24.
Free registration for the workshop series “Being White in the Black Lives Matter Movement” is now available online (click here)—or call the church office to reserve your place. Participation is not limited to those who think of themselves or identify as white, but participants should commit to attending at least three of the four sessions: Dec. 6 & 13 and Jan. 17 & 24.
Child care will be available for all four workshops for persons who register and request it at least two weeks in advance. Check the boxes on the online registration form or tell the church office the dates and number of children for whom you will need child care.