Our Interim Minister responds to recent events

chalice-20160117-88Dear USR Community,
Below are two messages we received earlier this week from Rev. Dr. Tony Johnson, our interim minister, about the very disturbing events of the past week.

Links to the latest racial justice news are provided on this page of our website. Please bookmark and visit often.

July 10, 2016
After the Shootings in Dallas – The Rev. Dr. Anthony P. Johnson

Once again a dangerous individual with access to military-type firearms has slaughtered innocents in a peaceful gathering. The attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the attack on police and marchers leaving an anti-police shooting demonstration in Dallas were the actions of individuals acting out the extremes of hatred in the U.S.

The news reports tell us that police officers and demonstrators in Dallas were talking amiably and getting pictures together. The police and demonstrators knew that they both stood on the side of justice, even if they had different roles to play. In Dallas an extremist with a house full of weapons and no connection to the local march leaders or to Black Lives Matter set out to kill police officers. He succeeded.

What we cannot allow to happen is to let this lone-wolf attack be used to discredit either the progressive leadership of the Dallas Police or the movement against excessive police violence around the country.*

Standing on the Side of Love means standing on the side of justice. But it also means loving those individuals who are the victims of injustice. Furthermore, it means loving those who perpetrate injustice even as we try to change their behavior. This was the strategy of Gandhi and King. It is the strategy of anti-racism.

Today we grieve the deaths of Lorne Ahrens, Philando Castile, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Alton Sterling, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa. My heart aches for their families and friends. And their communities.

The entire USR community holds the victims and their families in their hearts and thoughts.

July 8, 2016
“The killing of black men continues, reminding us of how important it is to spread the message that Black LIves Matter. This was a big part of the 2016 General Assembly and it is a big part of what we Unitarian Universalists must do as a justice-seeking anti-racist people. The unjustified killings by police continue. The work of justice does not take a summer vacation.”

Here is the link to the statement about the police shootings from Rev Rob Gregson, the new Executive Director of the UULMNJ. As you read this statement , please click onto the link that brings you to Black Lives UU. It is essential for white congregations to know how we can be allies in this terrible situation and the link is very helpful.

USR President Rob Willis has given permission for USR to reach out to UU organizers to let them know that our facility is available for Black organizers to meet and connect during their time of need. Johanna Seale, our RE Director has volunteered to reach out.

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