This is an excerpt from Chris Crass’s open letter published on thegoodmenproject.com, September 11, 2015. Chris is an author, educator, and movement builder for Collective Liberation and a contributor for The Good Men Project.
[icon size=”15″ icon=”icon-play” display=”true” ][/icon] Our commitment to living the values of our faith is being tested. We are standing in the storm of reaction against the Black Lives Matter movement. Now is the time when we must ask ourselves, “do we become even more out and proud for racial justice or do we shrink down in retreat?”
Courage For Black Lives Matter: Love Letter to White Unitarian Universalists (and other white folks too)
With FOX News leading a media frenzy denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement as a hate group, as terrorists, as anti-white, some of us are retreating from wearing Black Lives Matter buttons and some of us are questioning whether or not to take down the Black Lives Matter banners from our churches.
It would be easy for me to say all of the white UUs who are faltering are just falling back into their white privilege, are sinking back into their liberal white racism. It would be easy for me to distance myself and feel superior. It is much harder for me to say, that I too, as a white Unitarian Universalist, have been scared. After months of wearing my Black Lives Matter button, I found myself second-guessing whether to wear it.
What if I am challenged at the grocery store or walking in the park with my son. It was much easier to wear my button after the latest police murder of an unarmed Black person. Filled with anger and a desire to “do something”, I wore my button with defiance to racism and a commitment to racial justice.
I held my button in my hand, and I knew that all of this is much bigger than buttons and banners. This is about breaking a centuries old code of white silence and white consent for anti-Black racist violence and institutional white supremacy and its legal and cultural dispersal of white privilege and white entitlement. Entitlement to safety and comfort, at the expense of people of color having the same. Entitlement to our children not needing to think about the color of their skin or wondering if the color of their skin puts them at risk of socially- and state-sanctioned violence.
This is about choosing what side of justice we put our bodies on. And like other white UUs, I don’t want to be part of this racist society. I want to stand in the tradition of Unitarian Universalist abolitionists and Civil Rights workers, knowing that even within our faith tradition it has not always been easy. I want to stand on the side of love, like we did on Marriage Equality, even when it was illegal in every state and scary for many of us to be publicly out for LGBT rights.
Click here to continue reading on thegoodmenproject.com and to see Chris’s five suggestions for those of us who are working through fear and uncertainty to make a commitment to Black Lives Matter and ten suggestions for those who have been committed and want to step up their involvement in the movement.