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Standing on the Side of Love in Ferguson

It is now Day Thirteen after the senseless death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. In the words of UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, “Ferguson is not about Ferguson. It is about the systematic dehumanizing of people all over America. As Unitarian Universalists, we have faith that it need not be this way. We can create a world that is accepting, fair, loving, and diverse.”

In the last thirteen days, UUs have joined many thousands of other people, both on the ground in Missouri and throughout the country, in calling for justice, peace, and love. Just yesterday morning Bi-State UU Ministers, the St. Louis area UU ministers’ association, gathered in Ferguson to deliver supplies and offer pastoral care to residents of the community, working with the group Praying With Our Feet.

Clergy and many other UUs have been present at vigils, marches, community forums, worship services, clean-up efforts, and an interfaith march on the County Prosecutor’s office to deliver a list of demands for justice for Mike Brown’s family and long-term positive changes to St. Louis. A brand new Facebook group has been started by area clergy to keep people near and far informed about the UU response to events in Ferguson.

Meanwhile, photos and stories are pouring in from people at solidarity actions in Albany, NY; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Elkhart, IN; Hartford, CT; Jackson, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Richmond, CAOgden, UT; Washington, DC; and many more cities.

Police brutality and the racism it is grounded in is certainly not limited to Ferguson or the state of Missouri.  Ferguson has proven to be the last straw in a summer of law enforcement abuses directed at African Americans, and the moral voice of people of faith is needed now more than ever. All of us are needed–those of us who have personally been impacted by violence and racism, and those of us with the privilege to choose whether or not to engage, as my colleagues Rev. Meg Riley and Alex Kapitan wrote in reflections last week.

How are you engaging in the hard work of love in this current moment–having the tough conversations about race, racism, and bridging divides that are so urgently needed; taking action to stem the tide of criminalization, police brutality, violence, and dehumanization of people of color in your community and our larger world; and taking care of your soul and your self in the midst of the pain and heartbreak that this work engenders?

For resources and suggestions for getting engaged or deepening engagement, check out our Ferguson and Beyond resource page.

And please share your stories, photos, and links with love@uua.org so that we can all be uplifted by the individual pieces of our collective struggle for love and justice.

In faith and solidarity,

Taquiena Boston
Director, Multicultural Growth & Witness
Unitarian Universalist Association