Opportunities to Support Racial Justice
As Unitarians, we are all outraged following the inhumane murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25, 2020. We recognize that his murder stems from centuries of racial violence against innocent, unarmed Black men, women, and children in this country to uphold systems of white supremacy, and also that this violence stretches back to the founding of this country here in Virginia with the genocide of Indigenous Nations inhabiting this land.
Unfortunately, this violence too frequently continues to be perpetuated in policies and practices that inflict undue suffering and harm to communities of color. We know now is the time for people of faith and good will to stand up and speak out. If this describes you, following are some racial justice organizations that will help you get better informed and provide volunteer and witnessing opportunities:
- Support Black-Owned Businesses whenever possible
- Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP)
- Current petition to sign against Racism
- Series of weekly virtual discussions currently focusing on racial justice
- Investigating a possible legislative action to eliminate Money Bail in Virginia
- Campaign Zero
- Excellent information on 10 policy initiatives (8 that can’t wait) that would significantly change police/community interactions.
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) NoVA
- Goal is activating white people to work for racial justice in the Northern Virginia area.
- Seeking investigations of the deaths of Natasha McKenna (2015) and the firing of the Fairfax officers involved.
- Justice Forward Virginia
- Non-partisan political action committee (PAC) bringing attention to the urgent need for criminal justice reform
- Develops legislation and supports candidates who advocate for comprehensive reforms to Virginia’s criminal justice system
- Current series of webinars in the run-up to special session of the General Assembly
- The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL)
- M4BL seeks to reach millions, mobilize hundreds of thousands, and organize tens of thousands, so that Black political power is a force able to influence national and local agendas.
- Six long standing policy platforms with two new ones specific to what is happening in 2020:
- Demand that the rights of protestors be respected and protected and that there be no abuse of powers.
- Demand immediate relief for minority communities from the impacts of the pandemic.
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- The ACLU of Virginia is one of 54 local offices across the U.S. working with attorneys and activists in their communities to shape better policies and spread awareness about their states’ priority civil rights issues.
- People Power is the ACLU’s platform for grassroots action working with volunteers and supporters to defend civil liberties and civil rights…..many opportunities to volunteer.
- ACLU of Minnesota filed a lawsuit on behalf of journalists who were targeted and attacked by police for covering protests over the killing of George Floyd
- Black Lives Matter works to organize and mobilize in response to anti-Black violence and structural inequality.
- Black Visions Collective works to build movements from the ground up with an integrated model to create the conditions for long-term success and transformation.
- Color of Change leads campaigns that build real power for Black communities by helping people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us.
- La ColectiVA is an inclusive collaborative led by gente Latinx who are committed to upholding social justice and equity.
Recommended books: Racial Justice Resources List
Study Issue: Racial Justice
Study Issue News!
An open letter to victims, families,
and the community
of the Buffalo hate crimes
In response to the tragic racist attack that took the lives of 10 people and injured 3 others, Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church expresses our deep condolences, righteous rage, and commitment to anti-racist activism. No one should be hunted just for the color of their skin. We want you to know that you are not alone; we recognize the renewed fears and traumatic wounds that are creating suffering throughout the Black community during this time. We stand with you in denouncing hate including “The Great Replacement Theory,” “White Nationalism,” anti-semitism, xenophobia, white supremacy, and racism in all its myriad forms.
As a community of faith, we believe in cultivating welcoming, inclusive, diverse, multicultural communities. We believe in building a Beloved Community: where each person is valued, where racial equity is ensured, and peace reigns. To do this, we have been learning about our country’s racist history, current struggles of BIPOC with inequitable laws in our society, how to stand up to racism, and to use white privilege to speak out against white supremacy. We are joining with other local advocates for racial justice and writing to our representatives to demand racial justice for all. We have taken a Pledge to End Racism and will continue to work for a more inclusive and anti-oppressive community. Our church welcomes all who want to work with us to dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and in our institutions. May we make it so.
Resources on Ways to Support the Buffalo Shooting Victims
Written by the Racial Justice Co-Leads and supported by the Social Justice Committee at Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church in Burke, VA.
Celebrate Women of Color
As we celebrate the historic nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, let’s also honor the many women of color who braved the odds to become a “first”. Those who determinedly believed they could and who serve as role models for countless others to come. This is only a small list, compiled from a variety of online news articles. Who else belongs here?
Kamala Harris: first woman elected U.S. Vice President (2021)
Amanda Gorman: first National Youth Poet Laureate (2017)
Ava DuVernay: first Black woman nominated for a Best Director Golden Globe (2014)
Maria Elena Salinas: first Latina to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award (2012)
Sonia Sotomayor: first Latina Supreme Court Justice (2009)
Oprah Winfrey: first Black woman billionaire (2003)
Mae C. Jemison: first Black woman in space (1999)
Kalpana Chawla: first Indian-American woman in space (1996)
Ellen Ochoa: first Latina woman in space (1993)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: first Latina elected to U.S. Congress (1989)
Wilma Mankiller: first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1985)
Alice Walker: first woman of color to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1983)
Shirley Anita Chisholm: first Black woman elected to U.S. Congress (1968)
Patsy Mink: first Asian-American woman elected to U.S. Congress (1965)
Mary Jackson: first Black woman to work at NASA (1951)
Alice Coachman: first Black woman to win Olympic Gold (1948)
Hattie McDaniel: first Black woman to win an Academy Award (1940)
Bessie Coleman: first Black woman pilot (1921)
Madam C.J. Walker: first woman Millionaire in America (~1910)