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Unwavering in our vision

Grateful to bring you our next installment in our bi-weekly messages with a prayer, an ancestor and a song speaking to our spirits. We hope these resources may offer what we need in order to be, courageously, steadily, humbly, on the side of love. One ancestor to lean on, one prayer for our messy lives, and one song to strengthen and soothe.

ANCESTOR

“We create our future, by well improving present opportunities: however few and small they be.” Lewis Howard Latimer

Lewis Howard Latimer (September 4, 1848-December 11, 1928) was an African-American inventor, patent expert, draftsperson and poet and a founding member of the Unitarian Church of Flushing, New York. His parents fled to Massachusetts from Virginia in 1842 and the case to secure their freedom was a notable case within larger abolitionist organizing. Latimer was also a poet, painter and writer and player of music. His legacy includes one of life-improving inventions including lamp fixtures, toilets for railway cars, a cooling and disinfecting system, and a locking rack for hats, coats and umbrellas. Read more about his life here.

The gift of being taught

We have heard again and again about the need for spiritual sustenance in this work. Two weeks ago, we launched bi-weekly messages for the foreseeable future that include a prayer, an ancestor and a song speaking to our spirits. We hope these resources may offer what we need in order to be, courageously, steadily, humbly, on the side of love. One ancestor to lean on, one prayer for our messy lives, and one song to strengthen and soothe.

ANCESTOR

“It was not at all unusual for us to receive phone calls at 3 in the morning warning us that if we did not leave the house within 15 minutes, a bomb would destroy our home,” Rev. Albert D’Orlando

Rev. Albert D’Orlando was a white Unitarian minister who served First Unitarian Universalist Church in New Orleans from 1950-1981. In 1960, as New Orleans prepared to deal with court-ordered school desegregation, the Rev. D'Orlando had his congregation set up a Freedom Fund to provide legal and other assistance to those fighting for desegregation.

The Long View

We have heard again and again about the need for spiritual sustenance in this work. We are grateful to be offering some more resources in the coming weeks and months as part of Love Resists and new episodes of Fortification, in partnership with Auburn Seminary will be out soon!

We are also trying out a new thing! Every other week you’ll be hearing from us with a prayer, an ancestor and a song speaking to our spirits and what we need in order to be, courageously, steadily, humbly, on the side of love. So here it goes!

One ancestor to lean on, one prayer for our messy lives, and one song to strengthen and soothe.

We find ourselves here

At these times of ongoing violence and grief, may we find time to breathe, to ground ourselves, and to honor the whole range of our complicated feelings. Maybe put on a song or two, for connection and strength. Maybe offer a prayer to what you find holy. May we continue to discern our role in this moment and the ways that people of faith can be of use to those at the forefront of the movement to confront and dismantle white supremacy. May we speak, act, and show up in ways grounded in humility and the willingness to keep learning.

One thing we’ve been learning lately is that there can be a tension between our pride in showing up -- the gladness at seeing all those yellow shirts and stoles out there -- and the need to flank and support those who are called to lead in this moment. If we can stay grounded in humility, we will be able to listen with deep attention to those whose liberation and lives are most at risk right now. The violence that erupted in Charlottesville has been shocking for many of us who have not been the direct targets of racism, but it is only the most recent iteration for those who have known it all their lives. There has been much commentary on the need to remain rooted in love, as an antidote to violence. We believe the best manifestation of active love is through relationships that flank, support, and resource the most directly impacted communities organizing to get free. That means showing up as we are called to resist white supremacy - through symbols, behaviors, policies and institutions. It means building with folks organizing at the front - within UUism and beyond - and responding to what they are calling for.

We are called again

I am not sure of most things these days. But I do know that white supremacy lives everywhere – and so does love and resistance.  Everywhere. Absolutely everywhere.

You may have heard that there are white supremacists gathering on the Boston Common on Saturday August 19th. And in so many cities and college campuses. Maybe yours. There is no neutrality. Now is when we show up. To confront hate - in the form of white supremacists gatherings and the white supremacy that is in our laws, our school systems, our families, our congregations, our land. Find your frontlines. Below is a request from one our frontlines - Boston, where our UU congregations and clergy and UUA staff will be showing up as best we know how.