Black lives matter here.
The Reason for Our Banner
Our banner is a statement of belief and a gesture of welcome in keeping with our Unitarian Universalist principles. Absolutely all people’s lives matter! People of every gender, orientation, religion, spiritual belief and race must be treated fairly and equally. As a Unitarian Universalist congregation, we affirm and promote the worth and dignity of every person.
Our tradition is built upon justice, equity, and compassion. In the United States of America, we have a cruel history of treating persons of color as less valuable than others. The suspicion and violence perpetrated against African-Americans are horrifying realities. Persistent inequities in access to quality health care, equal education, or fairness in the criminal justice system have shattered too many black lives. As recent events show, racism is a pathological system of oppression which continues to devalue and marginalize persons of color.
In recent months our congregation held meetings to explore views and fears about the painful experiences of African-Americans. We focused, in particular, on an immediate cultural issue covered in the media: the killing of African-Americans. From our belief system we have been appalled, and frightened, by the violence and death being suffered by African-Americans in communities around the country. But we have also been inspired. We wanted to do something to bring the transforming power of love to the situation. We Stand on the Side of Love.
Friends and members of all ages in the congregation spoke from the heart, and stayed open to hear one another. Some of us are people of color, and many have people of color in their families, including spouses, children, and grandchildren. We heard their stories and their hopes for more love and justice in our community and in our nation.
We discussed fears of vandalism of our church if we display our banner. After several thoughtful meetings, our members voted to erect a banner in recognition of the struggle African-Americans often experience and the toll racism takes on all of us. This vote was a step toward courage and the commitment to be better stewards of each other not only in our congregation but in the community beyond our church grounds.
The banner was designed and erected by volunteers from the congregation. Its purchase was funded by voluntary contributions. We are committed to staying in engaged in conversations about racial inequities and working to pursue racial justice.
Opportunities to Act for Justice and Healing
We invite you to learn about our many ministries of community service and social justice, including racial justice. A new focus of social justice interest at UUSS comes under the theme of Confronting Economic Inequality. Our ambitious agenda includes book discussions, documentary film discussions, special Sunday services, fund raising events, guest speakers and arts events. We also put our values into deeds of service.
We partner with local resettlement agencies to welcome and assist refugee families who are resettled in this area. We visit undocumented detainees in local jails to reduce isolation.
We participate in Build for Unity, an interfaith project of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter whose goal is to build homes for two immigrant families. We provide hospitality to homeless families at our church and serve meals at local shelters. We host meetings of the local United Nations Association and Showing Up for Racial Justice, and we have members in both groups. At UUSS we share half of every Sunday’s monetary offering with local organizations doing good work in the community, which helps us to extend our mission: We come together to deepen our lives and to be a force for healing in the world.
We invite you to explore these opportunities for involvement on our website. You can start by looking through the Social Justice menu at the top of the website.
From the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations:
The racial profiling, police brutality, voting restrictions, and mass imprisonment of African Americans and other people of color in the United States (dubbed the “New Jim Crow” by civil rights advocate and scholar Dr. Michelle Alexander) is a moral outrage.
As Unitarian Universalists (UUs), our dedication to global justice, equity, and dignity leads us to join hands across lines of race, class, age, and geography and work for an end to the injustices faced by black people in our communities, so that every person is treated equally under the law and has a fair chance at life.