Peter Morales, speaking.
Events in Baltimore
Events in Baltimore

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued this statement following recent events and new developments in Baltimore, MD, following the death of Freddie Carlos Gray, Jr.:

“Today the Baltimore Police Department handed over to prosecutors the results of its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Inexcusably, prosecutors say they will not make public these findings. People in Baltimore and around the country want answers about this case: Why was Freddie Gray targeted and arrested by police? How could he sustain a spinal cord injury while in police custody? Why did he not get the medical treatment he desperately needed? What systems broke down that allowed this to happen and how can we make sure this never happens again?

We also want answers to much larger questions: Why are so many black individuals dying at the hands of police? How many more must die before people start paying attention? How do we dismantle institutional racism and create lasting peace?

And we want change—not tomorrow, not next month, not next year. Now.

I join with other groups, including the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious professionals of color, in offering support and solidarity with ‘those who have been marginalized, brutalized and systematically oppressed by the government agencies of Baltimore, MD.’ Together we ‘firmly denounce the institutionalized systems of racial and economic violence–including police torture and mass incarceration–that have targeted black and poor communities in Baltimore for decades.’

The UUA’s first concern is always to support our congregations and their communities. I spoke directly with the Rev. David Carl Olson, our minister in Baltimore, early on Tuesday following the violence of Monday night. Other members of the UUA staff have been in frequent communication with Rev. Olson and are supporting the on the ground organizing. Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, UUA’s Program and Strategy Officer will be traveling to Baltimore this weekend to participate in UU events there.

We all must do the work necessary to change institutions that systematically harm and degrade people of color. And we must do that work together in faith. Now is the time for action. #BlackLivesMatter”

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