Is your congregation considering expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, by placing a banner or sign on congregational property or your web presence? Here are a few things to consider in order to be prepared to join this conversation within your community:
- Accept that the banner or sign will likely be vandalized, and what you will do if it is.
- Be prepared to stay committed to the message, even in the face of significant negative public response, because backing away from the message would be damaging to the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Help your congregation to anticipate and prepare for negative responses to the congregation’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement, knowing that such push-back shows that the message is bringing the conversation about racial justice into public view.
- Provide opportunities for the congregation and the community to both learn about racial justice, and to process the emotions that might come with the congregation taking such a controversial stand.
- Choose who will speak to the media on behalf of the congregation, and be intentional about the message the congregation wishes to share.
- Be ready to receive and welcome those who wish to show solidarity with the congregation’s stand in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and to listen to their stories and wisdom as much as we share with them about Unitarian Universalism.
If you wish to learn more about how your congregation can be prepared for taking a prophetic public stand in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, see this open letter to congregations from the Central East Regional Staff of the UUA. Many Unitarian Universalists feel called to show our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and with preparation and discernment your congregation can as well.
Rev. David Pyle
CER Program Manager for Justice Ministries