A Message from Our Minister
Enough Talk – Do Something
Maybe, just maybe, the American Dream may have a chance to become more real for Black Americans this time … but at what a terrible cost. The nation continues to resist recognizing 400 years of oppression, say enough and fully address those wrongs. It must see yet another Black man’s body broken before our eyes before considering there might be a problem with unequal treatment. The crime must be caught in agonizing detail, second by second, on a cell phone recording for the witness to be credible. An uncountable number of Black bodies have been violated already. Only when the nation sees the hatred in the white police officer’s eyes and hears the Black man pleading for his life as so many have before him that many white hearts are broken by revulsion.
It doesn’t matter if your local Officer Friendly’s heart is in the right place and tries to treat everyone equally. I’ve worked with officers like this whom I trust are sincere. Yet they are part of a system evolved to catch slaves and enforce white supremacy. Law enforcement locks in the status quo of white domination and Black suppression. Police exist to reinforce white fear of Blacks and keep them in their place.
When innocent Black children first encounter racist aggression in white children they are disoriented. They ask their parents, “Why do these children hate me? What have I done to cause this?” What their parents or caregivers must explain is they are not at fault, that hatred comes from white fear. For white supremacy to exist, America must suppress and repress Black people to justify the fiction.
So when Marietta and Pong decided to use chalk to write Black Lives Matter on their driveway then received a threatening letter from a neighbor, I recognized the system of white supremacy in action. What is worse than Black people’s resistance against racism is the collusion of suburban white people – the ones the whole system is set up to defend.
The article this morning in the Times Union by Chris Churchill about this letter touched me. I’d read a mention of it on Sunday during our Sunday service but it hadn’t sunk in until I read this article. Suddenly it was clear to me what needed to be done. I walked to the Dollar Store near me. I bought chalk. I walked home and set to work writing in my driveway: Black Lives Matter.
I challenge you to do the same. Make a statement. Put up a Black Lives Matter sign. Say his name, “George Floyd.” Say her name, “Breonna Taylor.” Make it clear to your neighbors where you stand on dismantling white supremacy in our society.
Black people have been here before. We’ve all heard politicians make promises of reform then move on when the next crisis hits. We all need to be in this fight for the long haul. This is why a commitment by our congregation to Beloved Community is so important. The vision of Beloved Community that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died for and the Unitarian Universalist Association is committed to is the vision we can follow that will realize what shouldn’t have to be said. Black lives absolutely matter and we need to keep saying it until it becomes real. May George Floyd be the last Black man to die to reinforce the system of white supremacy. May we stand behind that commitment as a congregation.
If you would like a Black Lives Matter yard sign, email Peggy Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org. She has some now and can order more, $11.00 each.
If you are considering ways to help, here is a link to a directory of community bail funds. There is one in Albany NY for black citizens. Consider making a contribution to a community bail fund near you.
Reach out to our Inclusivity Team. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Lee Newberg