Black Lives Matter: The church banner discussion

There has been much discussion about why Black Lives Matter; one might even say it’s a “sign of the times.” As we become aware that a disproportionate number of African Americans in U.S. society are imprisoned, shot, harassed by police, and disenfranchised in alarming numbers, we are drawn deeper into the conversation by our commitment to stand on the side of love and to fight for the rights of all who are oppressed by injustice and for who they are. People of all races, genders, ethnicities, etc., experience oppression, but at this moment in history (and for much too long), African Americans are being discriminated against more than any other group. This racial bias spreads in conscious, unconscious, systemic, intentional and unintentional ways. It must stop.

All lives matter. This is undeniable. However, as I’ve listened to the stories told by my Black and Latino/a friends, I realize that society does treat my life differently. During traffic stops I’m treated with more respect and dignity. I’m not followed while shopping, even if I’m wearing sweats and a well worn t-shirt. In general, I notice how much freedom of movement and possibility I have in my life because I was born White.

The Black Lives Matter movement presents a statement so obvious that it is jarring. It gets our attention! That is why I support placing a “Black Lives Matter” sign on our lawn, through a congregational vote per our by laws. We have been asked by UU allies-of-color to place a banner outside our church to support this movement. More important, in the discussion taking place across the U.S., I want anyone walking or driving by our church to know which side of Love we stand on.

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