August 14, 2017

Now We Know

Dear Ones—

If you didn’t know, now you know.

This past weekend, Charlottesville Virginia was the epicenter of a massive resurgence of racism and hatred.  White nationalists showed up in an attempt to “reclaim” their country from the rest of us.  Three people died—one of them, Heather Heyer, killed in a shameless act of domestic terrorism. Dozens of people were hurt; the president made a tepid non-statement; the world watched in stunned disbelief.

If you didn’t know that the recurrent, relentless scourge facing this nation is white supremacy, now you know.

If you didn’t know that our most recent UU General Assembly rightly focused on the structures and habits that support white supremacy, even in our own beloved faith tradition, now you know.

If you didn’t know that for every visible Nazi and white supremacist, there have always been others waiting to emerge, now you know.

And if you didn’t know that this is just the beginning of their attempts to spark a renewed reign of terror in the United States, now you know.

The white supremacist movement in the United States believes it is on the verge of a comeback, 100 years after one of its constituent groups, the Ku Klux Klan, first enjoyed the favor of the White House—just as it does now.

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This week, classes begin at Starr King School for the Ministry; as we gather here in Berkeley, we will be holding in loving prayer the people of Charlottesville, Virginia particularly the families of those killed as well as those within our UU congregation there. But as we have long understood here, it is not enough to pray.

I believe there is no higher calling for this seminary, no greater way to honor the Holy, than the one we have embraced for the past 25 years—educating ministers to counter oppressions, and to create just and sustainable communities.  Our country and our world cries out for this ministry, for religious leaders who are willing to grapple with white supremacy in all of its complexity and danger.

If you didn’t know this work was dangerous before Saturday, now you know.  If you didn’t know that, as Unitarian Universalists and progressive people of faith, we have no choice but to do the work, now you know.

As we begin to take up our work again this week, I urge each of you to take up the vital work of challenging white supremacy wherever you find yourself, however imperfectly you may pursue it.  I invite you to come to Starr King—to our degree programs, week-long intensives, online classes, or certificate programs—and join a community of practitioners intent on making this crucial difference in our churches and communities.  I ask you to contribute to Starr King, so that we will have the resources to strengthen and broaden this sacred work.

If you didn’t know our country’s future depends on what each of us does now, now you know.








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