Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church’s Board of Directors and Reverend Pippin, in solidarity with AUUC’s Racial Justice group, decry the racially charged police murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more Black lives. We must live our faith by affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person through our actions and relationships, and we must acknowledge the systems of oppression that function to harm our Black community members. These systems, like our oppressive police structure, biased health care, paycheck inequity, and so many more, exist in the larger American experience, as well as in our own community experience in Northern Virginia. We reaffirm our commitment to not just acknowledging the systems of white supremacy that exist within our own faith, and in our own beloved AUUC congregation, but we pledge to move through and beyond uncomfortable discussions, and toward action to dismantle these systems. We encourage everyone in our community to seek out the actions and resources posted in the “This Week at Accotink” email and on our website and social media as we move forward.
“If you live in this system of white supremacy, you are either fighting the system or you are complicit. There is no neutrality to be had towards systems of injustice, it is not something you can just opt out of.”
― Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race
Opportunities to Support Racial Justice
New Opportunity: Mutual Aid in South Arlington This Weekend
As our governments continue to press for re-opening, it’s easy to look at increasing traffic, people out at stores and returning to social life and think the COVID crisis is waning. We know the numbers of cases and the death toll tell a different story, yet every day we see our leaders faltering, pushing for increased production at a time of national mourning and uprising.
Those most vulnerable to COVID-19 are still vulnerable. Black, brown, and indigenous community members were among the first to become ill and they are the folks who have been working on the front lines this whole time. As businesses re-opened, so did the courts. Many in our communities are even more at-risk now for eviction and displacement.
We are all tired of this pandemic, but we cannot let up in our willingness to show up in solidarity with those directly impacted in our communities.
Join us and La ColectiVA in supporting our neighbors in South Arlington this Saturday, August 1! There are three ways to help:
- Shopping/Donation drop-off: We have created a Sign-up Genius to help ensure every household receives food and supplies. Please sign-up for what you plan to drop off here: bit.ly/mutualaid8-1 or if you want to finance our shopping donate here or Venmo @SURJ-NoVa
- Rent support: You can also contribute for rent support, to help keep our neighbors safe in their homes. Donate online https://lacolectiva.org/mutual-aid or through Venmo @lacolectiva
- Volunteering: If you can’t contribute financially, we’re always looking for volunteers to support these mutual aid efforts through [reimbursable] shopping, personal fundraising, day-of roles, and more! Sign up to volunteer here: bit.ly/NOVACOVID-19Support
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:
- 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.
Response to the Murder of Ahmaud Arbery
From Rev Pippin with the Racial Justice Committee
As Unitarian Universalists, we are each called to witness to justice, and to firmly denounce the ongoing and outrageous violence of racial hate crimes. We cannot tolerate hate crimes of any form, and we are all too aware that human societies can breed hate and cruelty. Because of our national history of slavery, lynching, and other racial violence that degrades humanity and is woven too tightly in our social fabric, let us recommit ourselves to living into the call articulated in our proposed 8th principle:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
To support the awareness and accountable action of the congregation, the Racial Justice Committee offers the following resources for AUUC regarding the Ahmaud Arbrey Tragedy:
- “On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, GA when both Gregory and Travis McMichael confronted Arbery with two firearms. During the encounter, Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery.” Both men have been charged with murder and aggravated assault. From CBS article.
- NAACP Links