When I was nine, a white UU adult told me after the service he loved that my black family worshipped at “his” church. “It shows how far your people have come.”
That confused me—I thought the folks at church were my people.
I am a proud, lifelong Unitarian Universalist. Some days I sing Spirit of Life to myself as I make breakfast. Coming of Age and YRUU (youth group) summer camps brought me ever-mingled comfort and stress. I am also black. The struggle for black freedom has long held a grip on my soul.
Growing up, I learned that Unitarians and Universalists traveled from near and far to Selma, Alabama in 1965, answering Dr. King’s call for clergy to join him in a march to end segregation. It was one of our young movement’s finest—and most tragic—hours. The Rev. James Reeb answered Dr. King’s call; just after arriving in Alabama, he and a small group were attacked. His companions survived; the young, white Unitarian minister succumbed to brutal injuries.