Message from the Minister

— by Rev. William Levwood, UUCT Minister

 

Deepening Our Commitment

The deep vein of racism still present in the United States was shockingly evident a week ago Wednesday when a mob of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. A noose was hung outside the Capitol and a confederate flag paraded through its halls. This was a clear attempt to thwart our democratic processes fueled by baseless claims of voter fraud directed at parts of the nation with higher voter turnout from people of color.

I know I am feeling disorientation, anger, anxiety, and fear this week. I can’t fully comprehend what has happened and I’m very scared about what may happen in the future. We find ourselves in this moment because avowedly white supremacist groups have been allowed to build strength with little or no counter-terrorism efforts directed towards them. We find ourselves in this moment because politicians continue to spread lies about this election and use racism as a political tool in clear opposition to our most deeply held values of human dignity and democracy. We find ourselves in this moment because many of our fellow citizens have allowed themselves to be duped into believing racism is no longer an issue even as racism is used to manipulate their thoughts and feelings.

As Unitarian Universalists and as American citizens, we are right to be deeply concerned. As Unitarian Universalists and as American citizens, we are called to rise to this moment. This is part of what makes it so challenging to inhabit this moment. We know we are called to action but what can we do? We need to remain committed to bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice, a moral arc that is long and slow to bend. We need to harness the energy we are feeling right now – the anger, the anxiety, the fear – and use it to deepen our resolve to continue to work for a just, equitable, and compassionate world.

Many things are beyond our control in this moment. We may not be able to stop violence from happening in the immediate future. We can, however, demand that law enforcement agencies counter domestic terrorist groups with as much vigilance as they would foreign terrorists. We may not be able to change the actions of politicians currently in office but we can let them know the standards we expect of them and we can work to ensure that they are voted out of office when they don’t meet those standards. We may not be able to transform the hearts and minds of many of our fellow citizens but we can move the most radicalized one degree away from their unacknowledged hate and we can also focus on engaging in deep dialogue with those who share our values to encourage them to live those values more fully and more faithfully.

And while we do this necessary work, we must also care for ourselves and each other. I encourage you to call a friend or a mentor. My door is open. Please don’t hesitate to call me. I encourage you also to do those things that you know support you in challenging times. This is the time to use music, movement, art, nature, —anything that brings you calm and renewal — to care for ourselves and each other.

Remember the words of our opening song for this month.

This joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me.

The world didn’t give it. The world can’t take it away.”

“This strength that I have, the world didn’t give it to me.

The world didn’t give it. The world can’t take it away.”

“This love that I have, the world didn’t give it to me.

The world didn’t give it. The world can’t take it away.”

“This pride that I have, the world didn’t give it to me.

The world didn’t give it. The world can’t take it away.”

“This peace that I have, the world didn’t give it to me.

The world didn’t give it. The world can’t take it away.”