In 1965, UUs answered Rev. Martin Luther King’s appeal to clergy to “come to Selma.” In the 1990’s UUs embarked on an intentional path to become antiracist and multicultural as a denomination. In 2012-13, we chose as our common read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Since then UUs have come together in solidarity teams, marched in Raleigh and Selma, officially supported Black Lives Matter nationally and congregationally, and partnered with Rev. Dr. William Barber for a strong interfaith movement.
We have come to know and understand that racism is systemic. It’s an active part of our institutions, our culture and our law. Our history is steeped in racial conflict, slavery and genocide. Once, we applauded ourselves and our societal evolution thinking we’d eliminated or were well on our way to eliminating racism. However, we’ve discovered that it was never eliminated or even remotely so–but buried deep within the underground. Today’s current political climate has opened floodgates for racist attitudes to be expressed openly and violently. Racial intolerance has been given permission to take a prominent place in our relationships to each other.
It’s here, in these pages and in the our hearts and of those we work with, that we will endeavor to return to the Journey of self and community awareness that works to build a dream of equity, dignity, harmony and respect.
In the long and continuous struggle to bend the arc of history toward justice and compassion and turn away from white supremacy, and racism more generally, JUUstice Washington reaffirms our commitment to work to:
- Dismantle systemic racism against people of color in education, employment, housing, voting rights, access to health care, safety and other areas of inequity;
- Prevent and overturn the disproportionate effects of environmental degradation on communities of color; and
- Implement equitable and ethical treatment in the criminal justice and judicial systems that disproportionately render inequitable treatment of people of color.
We are called to this work by Unitarian Universalist Principles and the Unitarian Universalist living tradition of supporting and leading social and environmental justice movements locally and in broader communities.
We are committed to engage in faithful discernment that we may know when to speak and when to listen, when to lead and when to follow, when to be an active presence and when to bear witness. We are committed to the short- and long-term natures of achieving the goals of equity, justice and compassion.
We encourage all JUUstice Washington members and Unitarian Universalist congregations to move boldly forward to make this time in history a tipping point toward racial justice.