At these times of ongoing violence and grief, may we find time to breathe, to ground ourselves, and to honor the whole range of our complicated feelings. Maybe put on a song or two, for connection and strength. Maybe offer a prayer to what you find holy. May we continue to discern our role in this moment and the ways that people of faith can be of use to those at the forefront of the movement to confront and dismantle white supremacy. May we speak, act, and show up in ways grounded in humility and the willingness to keep learning.
One thing we’ve been learning lately is that there can be a tension between our pride in showing up -- the gladness at seeing all those yellow shirts and stoles out there -- and the need to flank and support those who are called to lead in this moment. If we can stay grounded in humility, we will be able to listen with deep attention to those whose liberation and lives are most at risk right now. The violence that erupted in Charlottesville has been shocking for many of us who have not been the direct targets of white supremacy, but it is only the most recent iteration for those who have known it all their lives. There has been much commentary on the need to remain rooted in love, as an antidote to violence. We believe the best manifestation of active love is through relationships that flank, support, and resource the most directly impacted communities organizing to get free. That means showing up as we are called to resist white supremacy - through symbols, behaviors, policies and institutions. We understand that white supremacy manifests as systems of oppression including anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, transphobia, homophobia, patriarchy, islamophobia, and xenophobia. It means building with folks organizing at the front - within UUism and beyond - and responding to what they are calling for.
There are lessons to be learned even since last week of how clergy and people of faith can show up when called in this moment. To open our doors as sanctuaries in ways that ensure the security of all of our community members, to recognize the broad need for a diversity of tactics to protect and defend our communities while we collectively work towards liberation, to be as prepared as we can be to offer what folks will need - from pastoral, emotional and spiritual support to skill building and resources leading up to, during and following the next action in each of our communities, to build long-term trusting relationships through the work with organizations we seek to be aligned with.
As you likely saw, there is a call for clergy and people of faith in Boston to join Fight Supremacy! Boston Counter-Protest & Resistance Rally. Click here for more details about the weekend’s events and whether or not you can join in person, share your resources and your network with this fundraiser.
Earlier this week, The Majority/Beyond the Moment put out a list of additional ways you can support organizers in Charlottesville and beyond while also continuing to engage locally wherever you may be based. Those requests included:
- Financial support in Charlottesville for ongoing mental health and trauma counseling for local organizers as well as victims of violence on Friday and Saturday, especially people of color. You can donate directly to BLM Charlottesville's Paypal account [here].
Plan an action on Saturday Aug. 19th or anytime this month Identify symbols and institutions of white supremacy in your community. For some, this might be a monument. Also, we challenge you to use your imagination and consider all the symbols and institutions of white supremacy: a corporate headquarter, a local police union, a campus building, or a local politician that has yet to cut ties with the Trump/White Supremacist project, and for those close enough, White House. You may host a mobilization or rally. You can also get creative. For example, host a community education gathering during which attendees are encouraged to show their support through letter writing campaigns, online petitions, & other means. Consider hosting a speak-out or "popular assembly" where people are urged to develop concrete ways to push your community’s institutions to reject white supremacy and resource our liberation. Lastly, we challenge you, based on your local community, to consider not just what we must tear down but also what we must build in its place. Some, like those in Charlottesville are organizing around local equity / reparations legislation, others are working to defund dangerous policing and redirect those resources to local Black communities. We’ll be sharing an action toolkit and website with more resources soon.
Have the backs of our community in Charlottesville:
Put national pressure on Judge Richard Moore of the Charlottesville Circuit Court and urge him to dismiss the lawsuit.
Urge Mayor Mike Signer and Councilwoman Kathy Galvin change their votes and stand united before the court date on Aug. 30th or resign.
Call University of Virginia (UVA) to publicly denounce alumni Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler.”
We also have an opportunity to show up and have the backs of our community in Durham:
- Call the Durham District Attorney's office (919-808-3010): Drop all charges against the brave young people who did what our municipalities should have done a long time ago.
- Give money directly to one of the local organizers, Takiyah, who is facing felony charges for allegedly participating in taking down the confederate monument to hate by giving here: https://venmo.com/solidarity-takiyah
- Message to NC Governor Roy Cooper (919-814-2000): Bring down all monuments across North Carolina that celebrate the white supremacist Confederacy.
And in Boston by donating to them here so that they have the resources they need to raise their voices and protect their community.
We see folks showing up to build communities of care and self-defense across the country in the face of systemic and individual acts of white supremacy and state violence. Wherever you are may you continue to take care of yourself and those around you as we continue to work to show up with collective courage, humility and transformation.