We are in a time where we need social justice organizing, and organizers need spiritual and political fortification to continue their work. Thousands of activists and organizers have been in high action mode for the last several years, and this has been matched with steady and visible violence and violent public rhetoric against Black, LGBTQ and immigrant communities (in particular). The Movement for Black Lives has brought thousands of new people into social movement. Most are ‘cutting their teeth’ as organizers in the streets, not through non-profits. Black people, LGBTQ people and immigrants (especially those under 35) are bringing their courage, brilliance and willingness to the front lines of movement work. We are hearing that they are tired, afraid, and worn down from their work in the streets. It is a key social justice priority to retain veteran and new organizers. To give them sanctuary. UU communities can play a vital role.
This Fall we're hopping on the road for the #ReviveLove Tour to offer a space to recharge, replenish, and build. Over a span of five cities the tour intends to foster social engagement and support the movement for Black, LGBTQ, and immigrant lives in a way that recognizes the need for healing space and spiritual accompaniment. In each city, we’ll be connecting with Unitarian Universalists and grassroots movement leaders from across the country including chapter leaders of Black Lives Matter and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). With the organizing and leadership of BLUU, we’ll be able to support and facilitate spaces for connection and healing for Black UUs in a number of the cities where we meet. Given the national acrimony and social discourse, it is an opportunity to create spaces for artists and activists to sustain and be sustained by the movement.
This will be accomplished in four core ways:
Each stop on the tour will include our collective goals for the #ReviveLove Tour:
- Fortify the Movement set of guided reflections with Standing on the Side of Love
- An explicitly Pro-Black and Pro-Trans/GNC show by Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost in every site in relationship with local and national artists.
- Training and 1:1 support ‘clinics’ for lead organizers in local communities
- Strong local partnering in every site to build longer-term networked relationships
We reported live from the road at #ReviveLove Tour and through our dispatches. Check them out here:
- Dispatch #1: Rev. Chris Buice, Minister at Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, TN
- Dispatch #2: Carla Wallace, co-lead with Louisville Showing up for Racial Justice and national SURJ network
- Dispatch #3: Elandria Williams, Education Team at Highlander Research & Education Center and Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective member
- Dispatch #4: Lauren Hulse, Membership and Communications Director at Tennessee Valley UU Congregation
- Dispatch #5: Rev. Jen Bailey, Founder and Executive Director, Faith Matters Network
Our planned tour stops included:
- Knoxville, TN- September 19 in collaboration with Tennessee Valley UU Church
- Nashville, TN- September 23 in collaboration Scarritt Bennett Center, Black Lives Matter Nashville and Showing up for Racial Justice
- Atlanta, GA- September 30 in collaboration with Southerners on New Ground (SONG) & Black Lives Matter Atlanta
- St. Louis, MO- October 14; and
- New Orleans, LA- October 26 in collaboration with The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal
Find more information on the event pages for each of the events above.
We are going to the South first and St. Louis. There is a hunger and desire for us to come there. We have heard the immediate and urgent call. We are responding. We also know that sites like St. Louis have been continuing to struggle on the ground and don’t always get the support they need. We also know that the South historically is under resourced in terms of movement building and faith-based organizing support.
We’re considering this a pilot and know that many folks are interested in such a space being created in their communities as well - and hoping that if all goes well at these initial sites, additional locations may possibly be added in the Spring. We can't do this alone - and need your help. Won't you donate to our Faithify campaign to help #ReviveLove today?
Interested in spreading the word? Feel free to use any of these images in your promotion on social media!
Want to know more about the tour and our collaborators? Read more about the tour leadership below:
The Tent Revival seeks to collaborate broadly with many different organizations. Additionally, the leadership team for this project are planning, resourcing, and staffing this project. The leadership team is made up of Standing on the Side of Love, Black Lives of UU, and Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost. This collaboration has leaders who are newer to organizing and also veteran organizers.
Standing on the Side of Love
SSL is a campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) that ‘seeks to harness love’s power to end oppression.’ It is historically the social justice mobilization arm of the UUA. Under its current leadership, it seeks to expand its mission in order to support spiritually rooted intersectional organizing and organizers across generations, but with an emphasis on outreach to people under 40. In particular, SSL draws inspiration from strategy and collaboration with Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU). Caitlin Breedlove is the Campaign Director of SSL, and the former Co-Director of SONG (Southerners on New Ground) and brings more than fifteen years of organizing and popular education experience. Lena Gardner of BLUU and BLM Minneapolis is also organizing with SSL from 2016-2017. The SSL team overall brings communications expertise, organizing experience, and logistics experience.
Formed in the wake of several conversations among Black UUs at the July 2015 Movement for Black Lives Convening in Cleveland, OH - the BLUU Organizing Collective works to provide support, information & resources for Black Unitarian Universalists. We also work to expand the role & visibility of Black UUs within our faith.
Less than six months after forming in the streets of Cleveland in a haze of pepper spray and tear gas, Rev. Sekou & the Holy Ghost released their debut album, “The Revolution Has Come”--released by St. Louis based record label, FarFetched in collaboration with The Fellowship of Reconciliation and Eloveate Music. "The Revolution Has Come" is the highest grossing and fastest selling album FarFetched has ever released. Recorded in Saint Louis in mid-November, over 30 musicians, engineers, and vocalists from around the country brought this project into being. AFROPUNK celebrates the album’s ”deep bone-marrow-level conviction”. The single, “We Comin'”--featuring the 8-piece Saint Boogie Brass Brand--was named the new anthem for the modern Civil Rights movement by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The band has played over 40 shows around the country in the past 6 months. The Rev. Sekou—a third generation Pentecostal preacher and long time organize— who has trained over 5000 activists in militant nonviolent civil disobedience in the aftermath of the Ferguson Rebellion. Singer-Songwriter and #SayHerName activist Jay-Marie is a genderqueer San Francisco Bay Area born and raised, an active member of the Black Lives Matter Bay Area Chapter.
AgitArte (some stops only)
AgitArte initiates and leads community educational and art programs in marginalized communities since 1997. We work in communities threatened by under-development, displacement and gentrification, using the arts and cultural work to educate and to organize for social and economic justice. AgitArte’s mission is to create projects and practices of cultural solidarity with workers and marginalized communities in grassroots struggles to protest injustice and propose alternatives that, in turn, generate possibilities for fundamental transformations in our world. AgitArte will lead popular education workshops based on needs of local communities.