The vision statement of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans states that one of its purposes is to foster “healing relationships with our mother the Earth and all her children.” This alone would be enough to bring us as Pagans and as Unitarian Universalists to stand with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
But there is a concerted effort going on to discredit #BlackLivesMatter, and to frame it as an attack on our law enforcement officers and on white people. This could not be further from the truth.
#BlackLivesMatter wants to tear down white supremacy, not white people. The movement wants to root out corruption in the police force, and for law enforcement to treat black lives the same as white lives. Alicia Garza, one of the co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter, describes their work as creating “space for the celebration and humanization of Black lives.” < http://www.thefeministwire.com/2014/10/blacklivesmatter-2/>
And when she says that, she doesn’t mean that black lives aren’t already human, aren’t already worth celebrating. It’s the opposite — that the history of slavery and white supremacy in this country has actively prevented Black lives from celebrating their inherent worth and dignity, has denied their inherent humanity. Their lives have been, and continue to be, stolen from them. #BlackLivesMatter is continuing the work of Martin Luther King Jr., James Cone, bell hooks, and numerous others by creating space in which Black lives can live without not just being killed, but also silenced, and erased.
And erasure is exactly what happens every time someone responds to #BlackLivesMatter with “all lives matter.” The whole point of this movement is that no one can claim that all lives matter until it is clearly demonstrated in our media, in our politics, in our judicial system, that #BlackLivesMatter. Until that happens, this system in which we all live, that was built upon abducting Black lives and using them as slaves, will continue to trickle out into further oppression of other communities and identities.
CUUPS President, The Reverend Amy Beltaine, wrote a beautiful piece asking us to consider our own locations of privilege, and to reflect on how our own oppressions might intersect with those of Black lives. She asks us to examine the ways in which we are complicit in a deeply embedded system of oppression that targets Black lives for destruction.
As Pagan-oriented Unitarian Universalists, we seek not only to restore humanity’s relationships with the beloved Earth and the ecosystems in which we live, but also our relationships with each other. When one string of the web is pulled, it is felt throughout. We are connected, interdependent, inextricable from each other. No one can be free until Black lives are free.
By standing with #BlackLivesMatter, we are acknowledging that Black lives are part of the sacred web, and that we care about all of the Earth’s children. We must vote YES on the CUUPS statement of solidarity, or else we are failing to live up to our thea/ological calls to celebrate the diversity and beauty of all creation.
So please, vote yes. All our lives depend on it.