Thanks to all of you who suggested names for this column. Several of you voted for Under Development. It suggests an ongoing openness to change and an evolutionary approach to the work of the church. So, for now, that is the way this column will be known.
Last spring while doing research for a Memorial Day sermon I learned about a May Day celebration in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865. It was organized by newly freed slaves to honor Union soldiers who had died while prisoners of war and were buried in unmarked graves. Historical accounts tell us that close to 10,000 people attended. It is ironic, is it not, that what may have been the first Decoration Day, the precursor to Memorial Day, was a group of newly freed black men, women and children asserting that white lives mattered?
Now it is our turn to assert that black lives matter. We who affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, who advocate for justice, equity and compassion in human relations, who have marched in Selma and unfurled rainbow flags must join the chorus of voices affirming the value of black lives. At General Assembly in June the delegates voted to support Black Lives Matter. You can read the resolution here: http://www.uua.org/statements/support-black-lives-matter-movement.
Some of you will ask, “But don’t all lives matter?” Of course. But right now black lives matter more because in our society they matter less. They matter less due to the entrenched racism inherent in our criminal justice system. They matter less due to the entrenched racism that determines where people live, where they go to school, and where they shop.
This is a huge and complicated issue, but one well worth taking on. We will be providing opportunities for learning and conversation later this fall. In the meantime, check out the UUA resources linked above, read Between the World and Me by Ta Nehesi Coates, talk to me and each other. And when you’re ready, stop by my office and pick up your Black Lives Matter button.
See you at church!