Black Lives Matter
Because we live in a society that sometimes suggests otherwise.
The council of deacons decided at its November meeting to post a “Black Lives Matter” banner on the church for a few months.
The council wants to stand with other churches in town united against the destruction last month of the “Black Lives Matter” sign in front of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, and against the expression of racism we see in the manner of the sign’s desecration. The council believes that the meaning of the “Black Lives Matter” movement is in tune with our own Open and Affirming covenant that says, “We welcome all people into our community of faith, embracing differences of sexual orientation, […] race, ethnicity, […] and socio-economic background. […] We affirm the dignity and worth of every person.” The council sees an opportunity for members of the congregation to learn to talk about race in a heart-felt and meaningful manner. The council will draw on the leaders and teachers in the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ to help us frame and facilitate this conversation.
The Reverend Jill Small started our conversation on this topic with a letter to the congregation in the November newsletter.
The phrase “Black Lives Matter” stirs many emotions. If you hear rage in those words, you may feel your own rage swelling in response. But the leaders of the movement have been very clear that the phrase means not that only black lives matter, but that black lives matter, too. We learned in the years of discussion leading up to our Open and Affirming covenant that it is important to reach out explicitly to segments of our population who may feel persecuted, and to say explicitly to them that they are welcome here. We call out to a segment of the population not to single them out or to lift them up, but to welcome them in.
So when your friends in town point to the banner on the church and ask, “What’s that all about?” you can turn to your friends with a smile and tell them what that’s all about to us. And maybe even invite them to worship with us, and join a fellowship that welcomes honest questions with compassionate answers.
Some interesting letters and articles in the local press:
- ‘Let’s talk’ after vandalism, Letter to the Editor, Arlington Advocate by Reverend Marta Morris Flanagan of First Parish Unitarian Univeralists (archived copy)
- Arlington church’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner vandalized, Arlington Advocate, October 19, 2015
- Arlington churches respond to “Black Lives” banner vandalism, Arlington Advocate, October 28, 2015
- Arlington church will replace defaced ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner, Boston Globe, October 26, 2015
- Black Lives Matter Sign Vandalized, NECN Cable News, October 26,2015
- Why Say “Black Lives Matter?” Lori Kenschaft, Arlington, MA Diversity Task Group,
Black Lives Matter
Of course all lives matter … we believe that every individual is important
and every person deserves to be treated with justice and compassion.
We live, however, in a society that often suggests otherwise.
Because of the continuing injustice and violence disproportionately faced by people of color,
we affirm that Black Lives Matter.