All Lives Do Not Matter

All Lives Do Not Matter September 17, 2015

Vandalized sign at UU Church in Galloway NJ
Vandalized sign at UU Congregation of the South Jersey Shore in Galloway NJ

A Letter to My CUUPS Sisters and Brothers,

 

The title of this letter is bound to cause some discomfort. Such a statement, if held as true within our culture, shatters many of the beliefs in fairness and justice that we were all reared embracing.

Let me invite you to sit with that discomfort for a moment. Imagine that your experience of life is fully reflective of the above statement.  In this moment of reflection attempt to accept that there are people who are trapped in the reality that our culture behaves in ways that prove daily that All Lives Do Not Matter.

A young mother sends her pre-teen off to school each day in fear that he will b

e assaulted, killed or arrested based on the attributes that he was born with. Imagine with me this fear, apply it to your children or grandchildren, and sit with the discomfort, the sadness and the terror.

In our nation people of color are being killed and jailed in alarming numbers. Most persons of color in the criminal justice system face penalties more than three times as harsh as whites for the same offense.

Please stay with me here because I am about to use a phrase that has many in our country developing a defensive posture.  It is exactly because “All Lives Do Not Matter” that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is so important. For generations cultural norms have been passed along to Americans that perpetuate a system that devalues people of color.

As a white American I am very uncomfortable with this situation, my inner being so wants to accept the myth that with hard work, a great attitude and a little luck everyone can succeed in our nation. Of course I want to deny a system that gives me an unfair advantage, after all I worked for everything I have.

After several high profile killings of young men of color the #BlackLivesMatter movement was born. The realities of how inner city police departments treat people of color were broadcast to the world. Desperately, Police Public Information Officers began to spin the news in ways that discredit the messenger in order to not face the reality of policing in America.

For White Americans it seemed that a full on assault on our most cherished public servants was occurring. Talking heads attempted to convince us that to be pro #BlackLivesMatter was to be anti police. Nothing could be further from the truth, the movement simply calls for police departments to live their creed “To Serve and Protect” without regard for race.

Recently, a couple of assaults on police officers have been used to whip up fear that our nation is turning on its’ police officers.  In fact, assaults on police have been trending down nationally for five years, a pattern which is continuing in 2015.

Still uncomfortable?  So am I, just as my grand parents had to face their discomfort with inter racial marriage in order to manifest a more just world, so must we sit with our discomfort and continue to work for a day when Black Lives Do Matter as reflected by our collective culture.

The Covenant of Universalist Pagans will soon be considering a national statement concerning social justice and support for the #Black Lives Matter movement. The statement is listed below this letter, I urge you to support this statement. Please join me in accepting that our collective discomfort is a clear indicator of why this statement is so important.  Empathy is a reflection of understanding, may we collectively understand how important this statement is to the very values we hold as CUUPS members.

 

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Peter Dybing

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