by Rev. David A. Miller and Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig.
“All – everything that I understand – I understand only because I love.”
– Leo Tolstoy
Things may start to get a little messy at UUCF in the coming month. Messy as only talk of race and prejudice and privilege can be. But that mess will be lifted up with love. Love for our neighbors and for each other as we walk together toward listening, talking, challenging, understanding and changing to be better.
From Jan. 16-Feb. 14, UUCF will embark on “Thirty Days of Love: A Call to Action for Faith, Race and Justice.” This is part of Standing on the Side of Love’s annual Thirty Days of Love campaign – this year focusing on racial justice.
We have three main goals in bringing this campaign to UUCF:
- Raise awareness of privilege and the social and political systems that have led to it and continue to reinforce it.
- Raise our willingness to walk toward trouble, reach out in love and stand together on the edge.
- Raise our willingness to live in messiness.
During this month, through worship and a variety of congregational activities, we will explore:
- The history of racial justice work at UUCF.
- Microaggressions – commonplace slights or insults that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, communicate aggression, superiority or hostility.
- Intersectionality – how oppressive institutions are interrelated and continuously shaped by one another.
- Today’s racial justice movements, focusing on Black Lives Matter.
- What it means to walk toward trouble, reach out in love and stand together on the edge.
Our children will engage in racial justice themes in Chapel through stories, music and reflections. Our youth will engage in discussions and poetry related to the weekly themes.
We understand that each person in this congregation comes to this discussion with different levels of awareness and understanding. Some are people of color who have been keenly aware all their lives that others see them first as the color of their skin. Others identify as white, with all the privilege that brings. Some have fought for and are committed to racial justice. Others, with good intentions and love in their hearts, may now be called to deepen their understanding of their privilege and how it might inform their words and actions toward people of color, including other UUCF congregants.
Depending on the background and perspective, depending on the level of past suffering and vulnerability, this exploration may be painful for some. For some this may be too much. We understand that not everyone will be able to engage. For most of us, though, it can only do us good to engage and go deep on this subject.
The key throughout this month and beyond is to encourage open conversation, active listening and lack of defensiveness, and to come into these conversations from a place of love. We may say the wrong things. We may make assumptions based on our own experiences. We may even offend others. But we must have these conversations to open ourselves up to change as individuals and as a congregation. This can only help us make a difference in the wider world.
If you’d like to get involved in helping plan events and activities around this exploration of racial justice, please contact Rev. David.
We intend for this Thirty Days of Love to be a starting point. We launch the exploration and dialog here and help grow a culture of willingness to walk toward trouble and live – lovingly – in the messiness.
“… Let us have the courage to go out into the world and change it,
To bring the world into ourselves, and be changed.”
– Angela Herrera