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Black Lives Matter

 

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Black Lives Matter banner on FPS meetinghouse

“Black Lives Matter” by Rev. Dr. Marjorie J. Matty

What does it feel like when you do the right thing, and how does one know when what you are doing is the right thing? There are the classics such as helping someone cross at a crosswalk or carrying groceries for another who isn’t quite able. A bit riskier is standing up for someone who is being bullied, harassed, or oppressed because there is a sense of danger when you call out an injustice. Unitarian Universalists refer to this action as “speaking our truth” as an act of “Standing on the side of Love.” Several years ago, we had a banner hanging on the front of the First Parish meetinghouse saying just that- “Standing on the Side of Love.”

As Unitarian Universalists we are called to act when we witness acts that are unfair or lacking in compassion and/or loving kindness. This is not a new phenomenon; throughout history Unitarians and Universalists were there to heed the call to serve on the Underground Railroad as we fought to abolish slavery, we worked towards a woman’s right to vote, we went to Selma when we received the call from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and we have continued to work for human rights at every opportunity because we believe that every person has a right to be treated fairly, and that each of us has inherent worth and dignity. “If one member suffers, then we all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice with it.” (I Corinthians 12:26)

So it should come as no surprise that this week we raised a banner on the side of our meetinghouse explaining that, “Yes, all lives matter. Every person deserves fairness and compassion. However, because of the ongoing injustice and violence disproportionately faced by people of color, We Affirm That Black Lives Matter.”

With this action we also want it to be known that we support Chief Scott Nix and the wonderful- and at times extremely difficult- work that the Sudbury police do. This banner is in no way a criticism of law enforcement. Both of my parents served as police along with my uncle who served as a Deputy Chief of Police. I have a huge appreciation for the work they do. The members of First Parish support our local police without reservation, and we hope that police across the nation will engage in training about multiculturalism. It should come as no surprise then, that when we see what is happening in this country around race, religion, and the hateful rhetoric that is being spewed by political candidates, we feel compelled to stand on the side of love. We are at a time in history when it is no longer enough to say that “All Lives Matter.” This truth is obvious; the time has come for us to actively honor black lives.

The members of First Parish will be offering a community forum at the meetinghouse for a panel discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement and to address questions about the importance of racial equality and justice. Please join us on Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30pm for a presentation and small group conversation. We invite and welcome people to attend to speak their truth in love.

Rev. Dr. Matty is the settled minister at the First Parish of Sudbury Unitarian Universalist, 327 Concord Rd, Sudbury, MA. www.fpsudbury.org.