Joining the Black Lives Matter Movement


Peaceful Rally Expresses Anger Over McDole Shooting, Calls for Federal Civil Rights Investigation

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Mahkieb Booker, founder of the Delaware chapter of Black Lives Matter, with Linda Sanders of First Unitarian Church. (All photos by Elizabeth Siftar.)

If you read the article in today’s News-Journal, you might think that yesterday’s rally in support of the family of Jeremy McDole—demanding further investigation by federal authorities—was merely an angry confrontation between protestors and police. In fact, although anger over the failure of the Delaware Department of Justice to charge any of the officers involved in killing McDole last September was certainly expressed, the rally and march were nonviolent and there were no arrests.

The following First Unitarian members were there:  Linda Sanders and Tiffany, Rev. Richard Speck, Ed and Darlene Scott, and Elizabeth Siftar.  Jack Guerin of Mill Creek UU—a member of our winter workshop, “Being White in the Black Lives Matter Movement”—also attended.

#BlackLivesMatter has a reputation for being “against the police,” yet the movement’s position is clear:

“Police officers are people. Their lives have inherent value. This movement is not an anti-people movement; therefore it is not an anti-police-officer movement. Most police officers are just everyday people who want to do their jobs, make a living for their families, and come home safely at the end of their shift. This does not mean, however, that police are not implicated in a system that criminalizes black people, that demands that they view black people as unsafe and dangerous, that trains them to be more aggressive and less accommodating with black citizens, and that does not stress that we are taxpayers who deserve to be protected and served just like everyone else. Thus the Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to make the world more unsafe for police officers; it hopes to make police officers less of a threat to communities of color. Thus, we reject the idea that asking officers questions about why one is being stopped or arrested, about what one is being charged with, constitutes either disrespect or resistance.

The Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to make the world more unsafe for police officers; it hopes to make police officers less of a threat to communities of color.

“We reject the use of military-grade weapons as appropriate policing mechanisms for any American community. We reject the faulty idea that disrespect is a crime, that black people should be nice or civil when they are being hassled or arrested on trumped-up charges. And we question the idea that police officers should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to policing black communities. Increasingly, the presence of police makes black people feel less rather than more safe. And that has everything to do with the antagonistic and power-laden ways in which police interact with citizens more generally and black citizens in particular. Therefore, police officers must rebuild trust with the communities they police. Not the other way around.” (from “11 Major Misconceptions about Black Lives Matter”:

Tomorrow (May 22) we will hold a Q+A session in the sanctuary after church. Bring your questions about why Unitarian Universalism and First Unitarian Church are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. And on Sunday, May 29, attend the Memorial Day service, which will include placing banners in support of Black Lives Matter on church property along Concord Pike. 

Click to enlarge images.



2 thoughts on “Joining the Black Lives Matter Movement

  1. There’s a basic issue here that I’m missing. From my point-of-view, ALL lives matter! Black, white, green, and blue. Each is equally important and none more or less than any other. It’s words, actions, behavior, capability, personality and other issues/characteristics that differentiate individuals. I’m fully aware that black people still fight an uphill battle in society. I support actions that can make that fight less difficult. But, for me, the words, “Black lives matter” is discriminatory.

    • Thank you, Ed. I hope that you will be able to attend our conversation after church tomorrow. If not, let me know and we’ll find another chance to discuss this in person. One simple way of answering the common critique about “all lives matter” is this: “Yes, all lives matter. This is a fundamental belief in Unitarian Universalism—our first principle, the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. But unless and until the lives of our black and brown citizens matter as much as those of white citizens, it’s impossible to assert that all lives matter. They simply don’t, and by saying that black lives matter is “discriminatory,” we allow ourselves to ignore the “uphill battle” that has faced black and brown folks for 400 years in America. I hope you will participate tomorrow. We need to hear each other on these matters of deep spiritual importance.

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