For the Unitarian Univeraslist Association’s first-ever virtual General Assembly, June 24-28 this year, Mistakes and Miracles co-author Karin Lin and I offered a pre-recorded workshop titled “We Can Do This! Faith, Conflict, and Antiracism.” I’ll let you know if I can make this hourlong conversation with amazing guests available to everyone beyond those who registered for GA. But meanwhile, I would love it if we here at FUCSJ could take as our slogan for these times “We Can Do This!”
To help us along, please try out a few of these simple suggestions for our work for Black Lives Matter and intersectional anti-oppression and antiracism. I list here just the ones that I offered in our worship service on June 21, 2020; there are countless others for us to explore. And don’t worry if you had to miss that service; the main offerings from that Sunday can be found at the links below.
These resources may primarily be intended for folx who are white, though all of us may benefit from them. All families will find some of the Actions for All Ages helpful. And I bet everyone can discover something interesting from the homework I’ve suggested.
I look forward to hearing how you want to learn, grow, and act in the days, weeks, months, and years to come!
We Can Do This!
With love and unswerving commitment,
- Trey Songz, “2020 Riots: How Many Times”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neWTNaklleU
- India.Arie, “Breathe”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v-bsi5dyOE&feature=youtu.be
- Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” sung by the Neville Brothers; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeqvsOnTPDM&feature=youtu.be
- L. Lynn, C. Smith, J. Stephens, “Glory,” sung by the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choir; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooHKM3Uyb-A&feature=youtu.be
- Another version of “Glory” (which I witnessed live in NYC, April 2015), performed by the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir and soloist Alex Bertrand-Price; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VFv8WeQDKQ
Actions for All Ages:
- Make some signs and put them in your windows: “Black Lives Matter”; “Black Trans Lives Matter”; “No Justice, No Peace” … What would you write to support this movement?
- Write “Black Lives Matter” and “Black Trans Lives Matter” in chalk on your sidewalk.
- On a long stretch of sidewalk or paved walkway, write a list of at least some of the many Black and Brown people (cisgender and trans) who have been killed by the police in the last few years. Then make a video showing how long this list stretches. Post your video to social media, saying “Enough Is Enough” and “Not One More.”
- Write to the mayor of your town—to Mayor Sam Liccardo in San José, for instance. Write to the police chief in your town—to Chief Eddie Garcia in San José. Write to the governor of California, Governor Gavin Newsom. Tell them in your own words that “Black Lives Matter.” Ask them to pass the laws and make the changes that will help keep everyone safe.
- Write to the president of the Silicon Valley NAACP, Rev. Jethroe Moore, and say thank you for all the hard work he is doing. Thank him for creating the Silicon Valley NAACP Youth Division out of which amazing leaders in the local Black Lives Matter movement.
- Keep learning: watch movies, read books, listen to podcasts, talk with each other and with your families, keep asking questions and listening.
Books, Podcasts, and More:
- For children (written for white children): Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham
- For adults: How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo
- For a much longer list, see the Resources section at the back of Karin Lin’s and my Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism.
- Watch Trevor Noah’s awesome compilation of interviews, “10 Black Authors to Read,” https://www.facebook.com/thedailyshow/videos/562770134384849/UzpfSTEwMDc0ODcxNDI6MTAyMTk1MTEwNjY4MTk3ODU/ Choose some of these books for your summer reading!
- Read the UUA Commission on Institutional Change’s Final Report, “Widening the Circle of Concern,” available at https://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/cic/widening
Watch and listen to these two songs and read the article that accompanies the second one.
- Janelle Monáe, “Hell You Talmbout” (2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fumaCsQ9wKw
- Vita Elizabeth Cleveland, “Hell Y’all Ain’t Talmbout” (2015) https://www.colorlines.com/articles/listen-hell-yall-aint-talmbout-stands-black-trans-lives
- Content Warning: Language
- Take home: The deaths of Black trans people (and of other trans people of color) are too often ignored or erased.
Consider these questions:
- What do you notice, what do you feel as you listen to these two songs?
- If you feel discomfort, try to sit with it. Notice and name your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
- What does the discomfort teach you?
- What does the discomfort inspire you to do?
Watch and listen again to Rev. Karen Hutt’s sermon, featured in our service on June 21:
May 31, 2020 Sermon by Rev. Karen Hutt
- What do you notice the second time you hear the sermon?
- What do you need to learn in order to contribute to positive change here in our cities, our county, and our congregation?
Connect with Others
Please share your actions and reflections with the leaders, members, and friends of FUCSJ as we move forward together!