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Living Our Faith Report: Black Lives Matter

Depositphotos_1262076_s-2015The Board of Trustees of First Parish has enthusiastically expressed support for Rev. Marjorie’s leadership in engaging the congregation, Sudbury, metro west, and beyond in Black Lives Matter.

What does it really mean to engage in racial justice work in the year 2015? Many pundits tell us we’re living in a colorblind society. The dream that Martin Luther King, Jr had of black children being judged by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin, has been realized – hasn’t it? The first African American President of the United States is about to enter the final year of his second term in office, an unimaginable dream when Dr. King delivered his famous and stirring speech in 1963.

Much has changed since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s brought voting rights to hundreds of thousands of black Americans and put an end to Jim Crow laws that provided the legal basis for segregation and racism. Gone are the “Whites Only” signs and seats in the back of the bus. In fact, gone are all legal means of segregation and racism.

However, what hasn’t gone away is structural racism. Black Americans live in segregated communities; attend separate but enormously unequal schools; face unemployment rates more than double that of whites; and have seen a “War on Drugs” waged in their communities, resulting in mass incarceration rates unimaginable in 1963. Structural racism doesn’t depend on open bigotry or fire hoses for its existence. It simply requires that we don’t notice. Which is why the seemingly simple statement Black Lives Matter is so powerful. It says that, in fact, we do notice. And when we notice, we realize that a system built on inequity isn’t a system that our Unitarian Universalist values support.

We invite you to join in engaging in this racial justice work and exploring what it means to say to ourselves and to the larger world Black Lives Matter. On Sunday, January 3rd, Rev. Marjorie and Living Our Faith will hold a conversation on Black Lives Matter.

~ Sheila Murphy of the Living Our Faith Team and Board of Trustees