Christopher D. Sims is a poet, spoken word artist, human rights activist, and has been a Unitarian Universalist for almost eighteen years. He is a on the advisory board for the UUA’s Green Sanctuary Program.
As an activist, Christopher has been involved with the movement for Black Lives, and has traveled to Ferguson, MO and Charlottesville, VA to witness and experience what is taking place in some of the most racially segregated or charged cities in the United States. Currently Christopher is speaking at UU places of worship about his experiences, and his knowledge of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s work.
Christopher is a full-time poet, organizer, and activist. He’s always finding ways to inform, educate, and build community across the country. You can read more of his work at christopherdsims.wordpress.com and listen to his poetry at soundcloud.com/UniverSouLove.
As a Unitarian Universalist for almost seventeen years now, and a Black Unitarian Universalist who has seen and experienced a lot since I became a UU, having a spiritual and political home has transformed me in ways that have helped me grow, become more focused, and seek justice even more. As we embark on fifty years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am ever more aware of what it means to have a spiritual and political home.
In order for one to continue to fight for the movement of Black Lives, to speak truth to power, one must be grounded spiritually, and have an understanding of the politics of our republic. King had a firm understanding as he fought for our civil and human rights. He had a deep grounding in his Christian faith. He worked with politicians tirelessly to help his people achieve the rights so deserved. Embedding his work in spirituality, in Christianity, and teaching himself about who the political system works, and does not work, helped him transform an entire nation.
I was in Charlottesville, VA when the young, white neo Nazi killed Heather Heyer. Encouraged by Black Lives Matter Charlottesville to come and bear witness to what was going on there last summer, I was transformed by my experience – let alone witnessing what took place with other Unitarian Universalists there. We were all transformed in some way or another. Our first principle guided my time, my being there. I thought about this as I made new connections and experienced an event that will forever be on the minds of the people of Charlottesville, and the rest of the country.
A deep sense of justice, something I’ve been empowered by our shared faith movement, encourages me as I embark on more in my activist work. I am always engaged here politically, hoping through my local antiracism work I can help bring more attention to the struggles of black and brown people in Rockford, IL. This work is transforming, it is spiritual, it calls for a deeper understanding of the people, and of myself.
What is growing for me right now is how important this work is, how important our collective social justice efforts are as we deal with terrorism in black communities and white supremacy. As I seek new ways to fight for black lives, I am transforming myself into the spiritual being I was born and blessed to be. My community needs this from me. May we all be transformed together as we reflect on Dr. King’s life, where this country is headed politically, and what we can do to make this country a more just and peaceful place for all of us to live, especially the African diaspora.
May it be so, amen, ase’.
© Christopher D. Sims
March 23, 2018