Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, 6320 Main St. Williamsville, NY 14221  716-634-3010

Black Lives Matter

 Understanding Racism Focus Group

1st and 3rd Tuesday, 7 pm

Living Room

We are displaying a Black Lives Matter sign in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement. We began this journey at our June 2015 annual congregational meeting when we first brought up the idea of putting up a sign in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Our resolve was bolstered by the Action for Immediate Witness adopted at the 2015 General Assembly asking Unitarian Universalist congregations across the country to find ways of support the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

After a year of study and discussion, the congregation voted to put up such a sign. Our decision was reinforced once again when at the 2016 General Assembly, those assembled raised $90,000 to support the newly formed Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, and the Unitarian Universalist Association pledged over $5 million dollars in additional funding to that organization.

We believe that racial justice is a moral issue on which people of faith ought to shine a light. We remain dismayed that, fifty years after the Civil Rights movement, racial equality is still largely unachieved in our country. People of color continue to suffer discriminatory treatment under our laws, especially in the criminal justice and prison system. They continue to be victimized by institutionalized racism in policing, schools, housing, and employment.

Progress on these issues must occur so that we can achieve a society in which all lives truly matter, with liberty and justice for all. This sign does not mean that police lives and white lives are not to be respected and valued, but rather to highlight that black lives are not respected and valued enough. And we think there can be and has been progress. Terrence Cunningham, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, recently said that police have historically been a face of oppression, enforcing laws that ensured legalized discrimination and denial of basic rights. Acknowledging that there is a problem is a good first step, we hope to be a catalyst to first steps in our own community, as well as working towards second and third steps.

As Unitarian Universalists, we trace our religious roots in America back to the Puritans. Our forebears have been at the forefront of many critical social justice movements, including the movement to abolish slavery and the fight for women’s suffrage. Unitarian Universalists were among the faiths that answered the call of Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights movement, and we strive to continue to answer this call today by standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement. By displaying a Black Lives Matter sign in front of our church, we are joining a growing number of churches around the country working towards racial justice. 

We have now dedicated this sign in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a sign of our commitment to shine our light, little as it may be, to help bring justice to our community. But it is only a sign, a first step for us. We are also dedicating ourselves to doing the hard, but important, next steps in the work of healing the racial divide, first in ourselves, then in our local community. Over the next year, we will be offering programming to the community on racial justice issues, and we welcome your little lights to join with ours in taking those next steps for racial justice.  

For more information, contact blm@uuamherst.org