It is the season of endings and beginnings, a time of commencement. We congratulate the graduates in our midst who did not get to have ceremonies: Polly Pierone graduated from college, and Mary Wood graduated from high school. Both were influenced by growing up in our church, growing up Unitarian Universalist. Milestones completed, they are beginning a new phase of their development as UU adults.
In the past ten days, we have also commenced the experience of a particularly painful ending, and we pray also the beginning of a new era of social change and justice. George Floyd’s life ended, and that has sparked a civil uprising so powerful and widespread that we haven’t seen anything like it in decades. Here is a message from our Social Justice Committee about our current times:
The horrific murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin has echoed around the world, shown by uprisings in all 50 US states, as well as in Canada, France, Germany, England, Brazil, and Africa. This is not a comprehensive list, but merely represents a snapshot of a world that is demanding justice. Here at home, individuals by the thousands have voiced their concerns and marched, demanding their message be heard:
Defund the Police and Prosecute Murderous Cops.
The passing of each day makes it harder to pretend that things were ever okay, because they weren’t. This past week we saw violent images mixed with peaceful protesters, and we heard police sirens throughout our neighborhoods. These moments cut to the heart of what we, at UUCSC, have been working toward.
We have spent the last two years diligently working to educate our congregation on the realities of over-policing, discrimination, bias, and the oppression of Black people. With anti-oppression language, we gave our congregation the tools to speak with kindness. Through book clubs and teach-ins, we’ve set the stage for learning and deep understanding.
The Social Justice Ministries of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City support and uplift the voices of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, as well as all the uprisings happening around the world. We follow the UUA’s guidance in understanding that calling cops may cause more harm than good.
Now is not the time to stand back and see what others will do. Rather, now is the time to take a deep look inside, and re-examine our values, our language, and our acts. Now is the time to take action, whether it be in the form of protests, or support of protests, or by challenging old beliefs about what real equality means. We stand firm in our commitment to Black lives, because silence is complicit with oppression. We affirm all who walk through our doors, and join us in our digital zoom worship services.
If you are looking for what you can do to support BLM and our congregation’s commitment to Black lives, here are some organizations to engage:
The People’s Budget
Antoinette Scully, Chair, UUCSC Social Justice Committee
Rev. Hannah Petrie, Minister