Most of us Unitarian Universalists are here because we felt welcome here — at last. Some of us were too agnostic somewhere else. Some of us weren’t vindictive enough somewhere else. We were too working-class somewhere else. We were too lesbian somewhere else. We were too nerdy somewhere else, too introverted somewhere else, too gay-married somewhere else.
Many of us are here because this faith and the people in it affirmed: you may not be perfect, but your life matters just the same.
That’s what’s on the line now. Through racism and posthumous victim-blaming, through silence and bullets and indifference and vilification, black people are being told that our lives do not matter—or that they matter only conditionally. Black lives matter if: If we are educated. If we are respectful. If.
And sometimes, not even then do our lives matter.
Right now we as Unitarian Universalists are being called to act. We are being called by our ancestors—those who demanded that we help end slavery, that we fight for suffrage, that we join the struggle to end Jim Crow, that we listen to and honor Black Power.
Lydia Maria Child and William Lloyd Garrison are calling us.
Lucy Stone is calling us.
Fannie B. Williams and Frances Ellen Harper are calling us.
James Reeb is calling us.
Viola Liuzzo is calling us.
Guided by that enduring, unfulfilled promise of the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, ours is a faith that has said, or worked to say to those who have been marginalized:
You are a woman, and your life matters.
You are gay or lesbian, and your life matters.
You are transgender, and your life matters.
You are bisexual, and your life matters.
You have a disability, and your life matters.
You were not loved as a child, and your life matters.
You struggle with depression, and your life matters.
Right now we are being called—
by our ancestors, by our principles, by young black activists across the country—
to promote and affirm:
You are young and black, and your life matters.
You stole something, and your life matters.
I have been taught to fear you, and your life matters.
The police are releasing your criminal record, and your life matters.
They are calling you a thug, and your life matters.
Our ancestors, principles, and fellow humans are calling on us to promote affirm, with deeds and words: Black lives matter.