The Unitarian Universalist Association is aware of the shooting of three Palestinian American students this past weekend. We are grateful that the three students are healing, though we are aware that one of the individuals sustained serious injuries. Our hearts and prayers are with the three students, their families, and their communities as they go through the recovery process.
We are also aware of media reports that the suspect in custody identified himself as a Unitarian Universalist on one social media platform. To the best of our knowledge, he is not a member of any UU congregation in the Vermont area but our understanding is that he was formerly a member of a congregation in New York state. We have been apprised that he volunteered as part of a community-based ministry at one of our congregations in Vermont but stopped participating in October. While law enforcement authorities have not yet identified a motive, we condemn his action, which is in direct opposition to the principles and values of Unitarian Universalism.
As an Association, we have been steadfast in our condemnation of the rising tide of violence and hateful acts across the country. We have seen the reports that authorities are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime. And we are all too aware that both Islamophobia and antisemitism are increasing in the United States. We will continue to show up unequivocally in faithful public witness against such hate. We deeply believe that siding with love will bring both justice and peace to so many who have suffered from oppression and injustice – and we will continue to work towards a Beloved Community that welcomes all who share our values. Our principles and values affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every human being.