“To display the sign, Black Lives Matter, is an act of cultural resistance, of public witness. This action is a symbol of something larger, and a spiritual practice as well—focus, attention, and steadiness. The aim and desire is to keep the spotlight on the complex set of issues affecting Black people in this country, dating from slavery through to 2015. Not since the Civil Rights Era has there been such a sustained commitment to make broad change. Black Lives Matter is a statement about that renewed commitment, a vow to keep looking, watching, and struggling.” -- Rev. Louise Green, Minister for Congregational Life, River Road UU Church, Bethesda MD
Several UU congregations have reported vandalism of their Black Lives Matter banners, often by the removal of the word “Black” from the banner.
What to do if your Black Lives Matter Banner is vandalized
- Alert your congregational leaders, UUA regional staff, and the UUA at email@example.com.
- Notify your local police.
- Communicate to the whole congregation.
- Identify a spokesperson and contact your local media.
- Order a new banner and plan a rededication ceremony that will include all of the congregation, youth, children, and friends.
- Invite community partners, other faith leaders, local elected officials, and the media.
- Hold a worship service about Black Lives Matter.
- Host a congregational in-gathering to process feelings about the vandalism and the racism it reflects, with mindfulness of the differing impacts on People of Color and white UUs [see resources for caucusing below].
- Share your story with Standing on the Side of Love at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Continue your faithful work in support of and within the Black Lives Matter movement.
- If your congregation wants to create a banner, check out a number of designs here for inspiration. You can find graphics here or email email@example.com for additional options.
- Over the years, many UU congregations have had their rainbow flags vandalized. Read about what First Parish Cambridge MA UU did. We can learn from this experience as we develop our responses to the vandalization of our Black Lives Matter banners.
- Additional Examples of How Congregations Have Responded to Hate Crimes
- UU congregations and individuals have facilitated conversations, built relationships and taken action in support of the Movement for Black Lives. Want to learn more about the Movement for Black Lives? Check out this short herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter movement from Alicia Garza.
- 2015 General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness--Support the Black Lives Matter Movement
- Monthly Gathering of the Virtual Community of UUs of Color. To join or for information, contact Jessica York, Faith Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Five ways to support Black Lives Matter by Kenny Wiley in UU World
- Deconstructing the ‘All Lives Matter’ response by Rev. Cynthia Landrum
- Standing on the Side of Love Worship resources re Black Lives Matter
- Apostles of Peace, Sermon by Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Moore, Associate Minister of Congregational Life and Pastoral Care at All Souls Unitarian, Washington, DC
- UUA Black Lives Matter Worship Web
- UUA Racial Justice Resources
- UUA Multicultural Ministries and New Jim Crow pages
- A Unitarian Universalist ‘Black Lives Matter’ Theology by Kenny Wiley
- Members of your congregation may feel particularly thirsty to make space for racial identity caucusing for people to talk about their experiences and opportunities to support the Black Lives Matter movement based on race. If your congregation is familiar with and has experience conducting racial identity caucuses, check out this facilitator guide.
- SURJ Resources--Showing up for Racial Justice focused on organizing white people.
- Tools for Self-Care for Black People-- Subversive Self-Care: Centering Black Women’s Wellness and How Not to Die: Some Survival Tips for Black Women Who Are Asked to Do Too Much
- Teaching Tolerance tools to promote healing
- Vandals Cut "Black" From Church's 'Black Lives Matter' Sign--Twice
- Black Lives Matter sign vandalized at Bethesda UU church
- Black Lives Matter banner slashed outside Hartland church
- Fourth local Church Reports Theft of "Black Lives Matter" Sign
- Black Lives Matter banner ‘brings out conversation’
- Signs Indicate Black Lives Matter Campaign Gaining Support Among White People