The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) recently installed a neon art installation that reads #BlackLivesMatter on the second floor of its national headquarters in Boston, MA, joining congregations across the country that have displayed banners and signs supporting the movement.
The new installation will sit across the room from the UUA’s Selma Memorial plaque, which honors the lives of Jimmy Lee Jackson, Rev. James Reeb, and Viola Liuzzo, who were killed during the time of the 1965 Voting Rights marches in Selma, AL. The UUA rededicated the memorial in March 2015 as part of the 50th anniversary of the Selma voting rights campaign, while at the same time recommitting to continuing to work towards racial equality.
The story told through the journey across the space from the Selma plaque to the #BlackLivesMatter installation shows just how much work there is still to be done on issues of racial justice in the U.S. While many people have helped change racist policies and systems in the past, including UUs in Selma and elsewhere, it is true that institutional racism, inequality and a culture of violence against People of Color continues to this day. Our UU faith and principles call us to take action in support of Black people, whose lives have been and continue to be impacted by the violence of racism, making the message of the Black Lives Matter Movement crucial to ensuring focus on continued progress towards justice.
Delegates at the 2015 General Assembly in Portland, OR, voted to support the Black Lives Matter movement, a movement focused on changing a society and culture where Black lives are disproportionately, systematically, and intentionally targets of violence in the United States. Many Black Unitarian Universalists (UUs) are leaders and participants in the Black Lives Matter movement, and many non-Black UUs have taken action in solidarity and collaboration with local Black leaders. Nearly 50 UU congregations have displayed banners supporting the movement and continue to remain dedicated despite many banners being vandalized, and have also engaged in dialogues within congregations and with police departments in their communities.
UU principles affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people. The UUA stands with this movement as an urgent call to action and sees it within our broader call for racial justice.
For more information about the UUA’s racial justice work, visit the Racial Justice section of UUA.org.