Some time ago, our congregation voted to display a Black Lives Matter banner on the front of the church. Knowing that there were reasons both for and against doing so, the Social Justice Core Team and the Parish Committee wanted to approach this decision with care. We spent months in preparation. Although it was current events that propelled us into the decision, a representative group of us spent the better part of a year in learning and deep reflection on our country’s history of violent oppression, and our own, inescapable racialization. These have left an indelible imprint on all our lives. In the process, the group expressed gratitude for our local police and for their training and demonstration of de-escalation responses to crises.
FUUSM voted to display the banner. In addition, we clarified that it was not representing any particular organization in doing so, but was meant to make a statement of our values and our principles. So, we added the words “Our UU Faith Calls Us to Affirm That” to the words “Black Lives Matter.”
Some of you have expressed concerns about (a) how we shall regularly review our commitment to continue displaying the banner, (b) that the banner still implies we are supporting the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, and (c) whether and how we might display our concerns about other critical human rights issues facing our country. I think these are valid questions and merit discussion. We cannot become blasé about our declarations. Cornel West said, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” If we are to be a church that puts love at the heart of everything we do, then we need to be a church that puts that love out for all to see.