UU Teach-in about White Supremacy

Today, East Shore joins more than 600 UU congregations in learning about the water we swim in and what we can all do to dismantle systemic racism in our congregations, denomination and nation. Learn more at https://youtu.be/mIfNAEFPsy4.

Resources

White Supremacy Culture

Whites Receiving Feedback

Racism is a System

Safety Pin Box

Chalice Reading: 1st Reading: from Letter From A Birmingham Jail by Rev. Dr. M.L. King Jr.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

Reading: To The Death of Jordan Edwards: We Bear Witness

Turn and look at your neighbor.  Today, we bear witness to the death of Jordan Edwards. We will offer a part of his story.. When I extend my hand to you, please respond with, We bear witness.
With reverence and sorrow, we remember the death of Jordan Edwards. We know      black lives matter.
We bear witness.
On Saturday night April 29th, 2017 15 year old  Jordan Edwards left a party he was attending. It was crowded, with unsupervised, drunk teens fighting.  before gunshots were fired., Jordan left house party because he thought it was getting dangerous.
Jordan, unarmed was in the front passenger side of the car. As the car pulled away Officer Roy Oliver of the Balch Springs TX Police Department shot through the car window with a rifle, killing Jordan.
We know black lives matter.
We bear witness.
The Police Chief in Balch Springs, originally claimed there was an altercation with the vehicle. That the car backed up  towards the officers in an aggressive manner. Jordan was with four other unarmed teens, including his brother. We know black lives matter.
We bear witness.
On Monday Chief Habor said that he had “misspoke.” He clarified that the car was in fact driving away from officers, not toward them.
We are not distracted by misinformation.  We know black lives matter
We bear witness.
Misinformation encourages us to put our frustration and sadness somewhere outside of ourselves, outside of these walls. We know black lives matter.
We bear witness.
Here together in our teach in we reflect on the thread that connects the actions of an armed police officer with our own. We examine our snap judgments. We challenge the times we have remained silent while another suffered. We know black lives matter.
We bear witness.
We recognize that in order to challenge a system that is built to maintain racism, we must contemplate the effects of our everyday actions. We know black lives matter.
We bear witness.
We do not look away from the things that are hard to see. We know black lives matter.
We bear witness.
When justice eludes us,
We bear witness.
We take courage.
We bear witness.
We extend love.
We bear witness.

Closing Litany: “I wouldn’t stop there” (from Dr. King’s final speech, delivered April 3, 1968 in Memphis. )

Something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world. And you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, “Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?” I would take my mental flight by Egypt and I would watch God’s children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land.
Congregation: And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there.

I would move on by Greece and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon. And I would watch them around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.
Congregation: But I wouldn’t stop there.
I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders.
Congregation: But I wouldn’t stop there.
I would even go by the way that the man for whom I am named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church of Wittenberg.
Congregation: But I wouldn’t stop there.
I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.
Congregation: But I wouldn’t stop there.
I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that “we have nothing to fear but “fear itself.”
Congregation: But I wouldn’t stop there.
Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, “If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy.” Now that’s a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick.
But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in a way that we, in some strange way, are responding.
All: Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, the cry is always the same: “We want to be free.”