Why does our faith call us to affirm that Black lives matter?

Our faith, Unitarian Universalism, has long called us to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Our faith challenges us to speak out for our values and principles, and so we are called to be bold in our support for justice and equity in human relations.

Of course all lives matter, but when millions of Black and Brown people are every day denied respect, opportunity, and justice, we are compelled by our beliefs to protest and work for change.

What does it mean to say “Black lives matter”?

To say that Black lives matter is not a statement against anyone; it is a way of publicly lifting up a truth that has been denied in the US for centuries.

Before putting up the banner, we met with members of the Lexington Police Department, and those officers stated clearly that they know the Black Lives Matter movement is NOT anti-police. They support our anti-racism work and know that we, in turn, support their important work as well.

There is overwhelming evidence that Black lives are treated as if they do not matter, as currently reflected in huge disparities in areas such as health status, rates of incarceration, quality of schools in majority-Black neighborhoods, income levels, and financial assets… for starters. And these huge gaps have deep roots in laws, policies, and untruths. They are systemic and often intentional. For some of us, that has been a shocking discovery.

Also, in making this statement, we intentionally mean to include all Black and Brown lives, e.g., young, old, LGBTQ, disabled, immigrant, undocumented, prosperous, poor, and with police records.

What are we doing as a congregation?

In May 2017, at our annual meeting, we formally committed to putting our faith into action, and voted in favor of a resolution to “being an intentionally and proactively anti-racist congregation and supporting the racial justice goals of the broadly based Black Lives Matter movement, as consistent with our Unitarian Universalist principles.”

As a predominantly white congregation, we know this will take time: time to listen to people of color about their daily experiences and perspectives; time to learn from American history about how we got to where we are now; time to learn the extent to which racism operates in ourselves and our community; time to jettison some of our attitudes and behaviors and learn new ones; time to become anti-racist agents actively working to change institutions that deny equity.

We will devote time and energy, delve into an honest exploration of racism and other forms of discrimination, discern how we need to change, and hold ourselves accountable.

That’s our commitment.

Join the discussion

Joining us in worship is a great way to get an idea of who we are and what we are about. Our congregation is active and engaged, worshipping on most Sundays at 10:30 am, and on select Sundays at services for all ages at 9:30 am and 11:30 am. We offer morning religious education programs for children and youth in nursery through grade 8, and our vibrant evening high school program, Follen Unitarian Universalist Youth, serves youth in grades 9–12. We invite you to check on our website, follen.org, to see what time worship is this Sunday and to find out a little bit about topics coming up.

If you have specific questions about the banner and our commitment to anti- racism, the place to start is with the Follen Responds to Racism team; please email frr@follen.org.

About Follen Church

We are a growing Unitarian Universalist community of about 330 adults and 150 children and youth that wears its heart on its sleeve, knows how to laugh and cry, and cares deeply for one another and the world.

We come from many walks of life. We’re honest with one another about what matters. Spiritually we are diverse. Our backgrounds include many religious traditions, and none at all. Our members include believers, seekers, and doubters of all kinds. Together we strive to practice the Unitarian Universalist values and principles of openness, inclusion, and respect.