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Justice requires our imagination

Grateful to bring you our next installment in our bi-weekly messages with a prayer, a contemporary spiritual and justice leader and a song speaking to our spirits. This is our second of several offerings featuring UUs in Chicago doing radical work for justice. One contemporary spiritual and justice leader to lean on, one prayer for our messy lives, and one song to strengthen and soothe.

RADICAL CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUAL AND JUSTICE LEADER

Ronnie Boyd on imagining and honoring her ancestors: “I love books and I love reading and sometimes I forget that Black slaves were forbidden from learning how to read so centuries later to be a Black woman who can read, is educated, and works on political ed is fucking rad if I do say so myself.”

"I often feel I am trapped inside someone else's imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free." - adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategies

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Ronnie Boyd is a young, queer, Black, fabulously-femme organizer and activist in Chicago, IL. Her work has centered on ending police violence that targets Black and Brown communities, and Black women in particular. She helped introduce Chicago-area UUs to the #SayHerName movement through education and action in a local struggle to honor Rekia Boyd and demand that the Chicago police department fire Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who shot and killed Rekia, and who eventually resigned (win!). Bringing our UU faith community into this fight required Ronnie to deeply engage her imagination. She shared in the collective imagination that Chicago could hold a police officer accountable for the murder of a Black woman. She also had to engage her personal imagination, to believe that her majority white faith community would show up for a Black woman. For some UUs who attended a Remember Rekia teach-in and vigil that Ronnie coordinated, it was the first public action for racial justice and Black lives they had ever participated in - a great expanding of their imagination of what practicing their faith can look like. For others it was affirming to be with people who share their visions and dreams. And strategy.

Ronnie flexed some of her visionary muscles when participating in the successful #ByeAnita campaign. Not only did campaign organizers and supporters have to believe that it was possible to oust Anita Alvarez, the incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney with a record of institutionalizing anti-Blackness, they also had to believe they could work through the tensions that inevitably arise when fighting for another world. Ronnie learned how community can navigate cultural norms of competitiveness and hierarchy and rely on cooperation and collaboration.

In recent months, Ronnie has been focusing on faith-based organizing as a member of the DRUUMM Steering Committee, a POC ministry of our faith. She also organizes to build Black-affirming educational institutions and sustainable community schools. You can catch Ronnie at General Assembly where she’ll be serving as the Thrive Young Adult@GA Coordinator and hosting a workshop on the DRUUMM GA Track called “BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Solidarity - Showing up Across Communities.”

Like Ronnie may we stretch our imagination so that we may fight for the world we need.

PRAYER

“This may only be a dream of mine, but I think it can be made real.”

- Ella Baker

SONG

There is more love somewhere” is one of Ronnie’s favorite songs to fortify the spirit and our struggles for justice.

There is more love somewhere.
There is more love somewhere.
I’m gonna keep on ‘til I find it.
There is more love somewhere.

There is more hope somewhere…

There is more peace somewhere..

There is more joy somewhere…