"Let's Talk" about race at District Assembly

Samuel Prince
Our blog posts this month continue to provide updates on social justice in Ohio Meadville and St. Lawrence Districts. This blog post is an invitation to a scheduled conversation at District Assembly on how we will and are responding to the post-Ferguson movements for racial justice. My Black Body and Justice by Samuel Prince

Most of us, if not all, have heard of the grand jury decisions not to indict or have any criminal charges brought to the white police officers who had shot two black African American males and the ongoing investigation of the killing of a young twelve year-old boy in Cleveland by a white police officer.

As with the jury decision not to indict Trayvon Martin’s killer, these lack of indictments and killings has fueled and spawned a national protest that #blacklivesmatter with the need to take a closer look at policing around the country.

It’s been noted that “African-American brothers and sisters, especially brothers, in this country are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be executed, more likely to be killed.” This statement is a truism, and a narrative pointed out by activists, black clergy and others to the enormous problem and issue plaguing the Black community with it comes to arrest, equality and black livelihood in America.

These killings have been compared to the many African Americans who have been lynched and or killed at the hands of those who had a racial prejudice towards them, their families and other racial injustices directed towards the black community. The trail is a bloody and deadly one!

What is it about the black body our bodies, my black body that cause so much consternation, so much angst, so much disgust and so much anger! Even when the most mundane infractions are committed, the measure of punishment and outright brutality criminalized a black body!

Even though white Americans outnumber black Americans fivefold, black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed when they encounter the police in the US, and black teenagers are far likelier to be killed by police than white teenagers.

Our Unitarian Universalist first and second principles affirms the worth and dignity of every person and the equity, justice, and compassion and LOVE in all human relations. The countless past examples have shown that justice matters to Unitarian Universalists and our need to see that justice matters and to speak out against unjust acts. The question then becomes, what of our internalized upbringing and reaction when confronted with our own biases and prejudices, racism? Would Justice speak out to you in our predominantly white organization?

If we do not have the conversations forthrightly about race, we will arrive at the same apex that has been inherently embedded in us, the outcome of killings that we see so prevalent today. You cannot train out racist mentalities; you can change a person behavior but not their mindsets.

So let us continue to learn how to affirm a person’s dignity and worth and at the same time, their individual right for justice, equity, compassion and love in all human relations. Let us get to know “the other”, so when we are confronted, we respond in kindness and love. #alllivesmatter

Join us in the conversation, “Let’s Talk”, at District Assembly, March 27-28th, 2015 in B3.