On Sunday, February 3, I attended the First Parish in Cambridge, in Cambridge, MA, to hear Intern Minister Kenny Wiley preach a sermon titled "Two Black Kids: A Unitarian Universalist Story." I went primarily because I know both of the "Black Kids" in the sermon. I knew Raziq Brown from my time in Dallas, Texas, and he was a prominent UU young adult in nearby Ft. Worth. I was a recent convert to Unitarian Universalism, while Raziq had been a longtime UU, and was full of perspective and wisdom at any event we attended together. I know Kenny from attending The Sanctuary-Boston, a young adult oriented worship service which Kenny helps to organize.
I was completely blown away by the sermon (Link goes to audio of the sermon). Kenny is funny, profound, intelligent, spiritual, and displays an impressive oratorical rhythm. The only assumption he makes of his audience is that they are holy people, and that they want to listen to his story. His story is one of navigating multiple identities- as both Black and Unitarian Universalist, and the pain, joy, and self-loathing that came from them. He hopes that the telling of his story-- our Unitarian Universalist stories which are so unique to us.Whether we have different gender identities, recovering from grief, or that things are just going ok but we want something deeper, our stories are important, and we should be proud to tell them.
His story, however, has another wrinkle in it. You may have also heard of Kenny because of this editorial that was run in the Boston Globe last summer. He talked about the part of the story that didn't make the news- the support that he received from his Unitarian Universalist friends that inspired him to write the article. With emotion in his voice, he talked about how his religious community helped saved him in a dark moment. He then ends with a call to action- that we have a "little energy" to support each other in our quests and stories of justice. I hope that you take twenty five minutes of your day to listen to this sermon- I promise that you'll enjoy it.