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.
Study Issue: Racial Justice
Study Issue News!
Then, join the Racial Justice Committee for these events:
- Jan. 17 – Coffee-hour discussion on the PBS documentary Driving While Black. Watch the 2-hour documentary (before our discussion) to: “Discover how the advent of the automobile brought new mobility and freedom for African Americans but also exposed them to discrimination and deadly violence, and how that history resonates today.” Then join us on the 17th to discuss. (Join us even if you don’t get to watch the film prior!). Commonsense media recommends the documentary for ages 13 and up.
- Feb. 6, 13, 20 and March 6, 13, and 20 (9:30 – 11:30am) Zoom Workshop on Living the Pledge to End Racism. This 12-hour workshop was created to help each of us develop confidence in our ability to confront racism and bias in everyday encounters, recognize and challenge systemic racism, and take personal leadership in ending racism in our community. In order to make the Pledge a part of our daily lives, participants are asked to commit to participation in ALL sessions and complete various reading/viewing assignments both in preparation for the first session as well as between sessions. After you register, you’ll receive an email with information about pre-workshop resources. Participation is free. Donations are invited from those who are able so that we may continue to offer this program in our church and wider community. Please sign up ASAP so that we may adequately plan: AUUC Living the Pledge Workshop – Winter 2021
- Help rebuild Middle Church. One of the oldest churches in New York City, Middle Church has been at the forefront of justice work. Their beautiful historic building was destroyed in a six-alarm fire in December 2020. Help them rebuild so they can continue spreading their message of revolutionary love – https://www.middlechurch.org/rising.
Additional Resources for Further Study (From Authors of Color):
RACISM & HISTORY OF RACISM (KIDS):
- Let’s Talk about Race by Julius Lester (Ages K-2)
- The Boy Who Asked Why by Bhimrao Ambedkar, about the struggle for equality in India (Grades 2-4)
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (Middle School Age and up), a “not-history” book about the constructs of race and racism. Note: A younger version is coming out in 2021.
- Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Harris (Grades 4-7)
- We Rise, We Resist, We Raise our Voices a collection of fifty diverse authors, edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson (Grades 3-7).
RACISM & HISTORY OF RACISM (ADULTS):
- Enslaved.org a searchable database about slavery
- In Between by Mark Morrison-Reed, a personal account of growing up Black during the Civil Rights era
- The New York Times 1619 Podcast hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, examines the long shadow of American slavery.
- Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- Talking About Race a website by the National Museum of African American History and Culture