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Youth Caucus Executive Staff: we cannot recoil from the road to justice in the face of fear
Youth Caucus Executive Staff: we cannot recoil from the road to justice in the face of fear
The executive staff of Youth Caucus, Eric Broner (Sr. Dean), Colleen Lee (Sr. Worship Coordinator) and Hannah Rigdon (Sr. Business Manager) issued this statement following the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. In times of loss, frustration abounds. As we mourn the recent loss of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, it is important for us to remember that in the wake of devastating hurt, we as Unitarian Universalists have two responsibilities. The first is to come together and mourn. Together, we can provide each other the support we need to emotionally navigate these difficult times. We must remember that our values in community, in the interconnected web of existence, in the inherent worth and dignity of each and every person are what help us as a faith to continue to move forward even in the darkest of days. We also have a responsibility as UUs to take these times as a call for action, a time to seek justice. Undoubtedly, we will be faced with opposition. Undoubtedly, the path to justice will be fraught with more difficult times. But we cannot recoil from the road to justice in the face of fear. To white youth Your mourning is not inappropriate. That being said, white supremacy can take the form of putting white feelings over black lives. Remember that it is our black siblings who are facing more fear and loss right now than white youth may be able to comprehend. In this time of grief, white discomfort will more than likely occur. Please use these feelings to stimulate conversation about race and to allow yourself to mourn with your white friends. Don't allow your grief and sadness to step on the feelings of a person of color. To youth of color This is your church; ask from it what you need and the youth community will stand behind you. Your lives matter, you are loved, we need you to survive. Take Action Now At General Assembly 2016, youth called upon the UUA to reaffirm its commitment to racial justice. An immediate action we can take is to call on our congregations to provide places for healing and meeting. The Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective has written up a number of guidelines on how to create these important, supportive spaces. Show this article to your ministers, religious educators, youth advisors, and/or board members and tell them you are willing to partner with them to create explicitly black space for black community members to organize and support one another.  Update: Jaidyn Bryant, our new Junior Dean, had this to add after the deaths of Kieth Scott, Terence Crutcher, Tyree King and Alfred Olango.   "The state of today's society, especially in the context of recent events, can evoke many emotions. People of color continue to struggle with the reality that the color of their skin makes them a target for varying levels of underestimation, devaluation, and aggression that cannot be erased by hard-work, riches, or fame. This struggle for human rights and equal treatment under the law is centuries old and though much progress has been achieved, this struggle is still very real. As youth of color, you must remember that your feelings are legitimate and that you are not alone. Your church is a safe space to communicate your thoughts, but do not feel pressured to do so. When you are ready, your church will still be here for you. As Unitarian Universalists, we have a responsibility to the community that is a part of the values we teach even to first grader in RE classes. In a world where not everyone is interested in the progression of a less discriminating society, it is expected that many may become discouraged. However, it is imperative that we strengthen ourselves as a community and aid each other in such troubling times." ~Jaidyn Bryant, Junior Youth Caucus Dean

About the Author

  • Jennica first joined the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in 2014. She began her ministry with youth as a youth advisor at First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, her hometown, in 2008. Since then she has served as Youth Program Coordinator and Religious Education...

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