The city of Baltimore recently saw violent clashes between communities of color and local police forces. Unitarian Universalists (UU) joined the community seeking stability and justice following the death of Freddie Gray by taking part in peaceful protests and vigils in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Unitarian Universalists in Baltimore and around the country recognize that the work around racial justice is just beginning. UUA President Rev. Peter Morales asked some pressing questions in response to the violence in Baltimore. He wrote in a public statement, “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?”
First Unitarian Church of Baltimore is doing its part by hiring an African American college student to connect the church more closely with the Black Lives Matter movement and building an infrastructure for ongoing racial justice work. The funds for this position come from a $3,000 grant from the James Reeb Fund for Multicultural Ministries and Leadership. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Program and Strategy Officer Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley hand-delivered the grant funds in a check to the congregation during a recent visit to the city. (Read the full story from UU World.) “It was heartening when I visited Baltimore to meet the strong women and children…and the volunteers from First Unitarian in Baltimore who were helping plant a garden of strength, beauty and nourishment,” said Cooley of the visit on the Standing on the Side of Love blog.
The UUA’s commitment to racial justice today continues the work of Unitarian Universalists during the Civil Rights Movement. In March, UUs gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic march in Selma, AL. UUs honored the sacrifices activists made for justice, including Jimmie Lee Jackson and Unitarian Universalists Rev. James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo and recommitted to being faithful partners in today's racial justice work. (Read coverage of these events in UU World).
- Learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement in a powerful address from one of its founders, Opal Tometi.
- Find a Black Lives Matter chapter near you.
- Donate to the James Reeb Fund to make this work sustainable.
- Columbia Churches Reflect on Freddie Gray, Baltimore Unrest, The Baltimore Sun
- Unitarian Church of Evanston: Black Lives Matter, Windy City Times
- ‘This is Home For Me,’ UU World
- In Baltimore, Unitarian Universalists Look For Ways to Help, UU World
- In Baltimore, My Liberation is Bound Up With Yours, UU World