UUA President Issues Statement on African American Church Burnings
The Rev. Peter Morales issued this statement following the news of several African American churches burned last week:
“Where we choose to worship is sacred space. To violate that space is unconscionable. In less than two weeks, we have witnessed that violation again and again. First, with the horrific massacre during Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, SC, and now, with suspected arson at a number of African American churches in southern states.
As President Obama stated in his powerful eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a pastor of the Emanuel AME Church and a state representative, ‘The church is and always has been the center of African American life: a place to call our own in a too often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.’
These acts of hatred, oppression, intimidation, and violence, are meant to shake that center of African American life. And we must harness the healing power of love to counter these acts in support and solidarity with these communities.
At the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Portland, OR, delegates overwhelmingly passed an Action of Immediate Witness entitled ‘Support the Black Lives Matter Movement.’ It calls our Unitarian Universalist community to ‘take initiative in collaboration with local and national organizations fighting for racial justice against the harsh racist practices many black people are exposed to.’
We must not just proclaim black lives matter. We must also engage and act with love and compassion. It is the only way to stop the hatred from spreading. We can make a difference, and we must. It is a matter of life and death. Black lives matter.”