For the most recent Social Justice news, see UUCB’s monthly newsletter, Beacon on the Hill.

Letter of support for Brown Girls Climbing

In mid-June at Indian Rock Park in Berkeley, two young African American girls–members of Brown Girls Climbing, a rock climbing group–were approached by a white woman who made hostile and racist comments to them. The ten year old told her coach, Emily Taylor, an expert climber and owner of the club (and first Black woman to climb El Capitan), who posted a poignant video describing the incident.
The UUCB Board, Social Justice Council, People of Color Caucus and Whites Opposing White Supremacy sent the following email of support to Ms. Taylor:
 

Dear Ms. Taylor and members and families of Brown Girls Climbing,

We, the members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB) in Kensington, were outraged and saddened to hear of the racist verbal attack on your students at Indian Rock in mid-June and to hear of other incidents that created an unwelcome and hostile atmosphere in that area.

One of our members lives a few hundred yards from Indian Rock and alerted the congregation to the incident. Through this member, the church continues to be updated on ongoing community actions by the neighbors at Indian Rock. We were also informed that a Black Lives Matter banner had been stolen from Marin Circle, and we immediately replaced it with one that the church had.

We recognize the huge impact this incident has had on you, the children, and their families. Some of us understand this impact from our own personal experiences. For others of us, your candor is a huge gift. Thank you, Emily, for your courage in putting this information out into the world. We appreciate how much you give to the girls in your care.

In love and solidarity,

UUCB Board of Trustees
UUCB Social Justice Council
UUCB People of Color Caucus
UUCB Whites Opposing White Supremacy

NO MORE! Our Statement Against Racist Murders

Dear Beloved UUCB Community,

Today, we—the UUCB People of Color Caucus, Whites Opposing White Supremacy and the Social Justice Council—unite in our condemnation of the recent tortured killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia.

Ms. Taylor, asleep in her apartment, was shot and killed by Louisville police conducting a “No Knock” search of the wrong apartment looking for a suspect who was already in jail. Mr. Arbery, while out jogging, was hunted down by two white men and murdered, as a third white man videotaped the incident. Mr. Floyd, handcuffed and in police custody, had the life squeezed out of him as a white police officer kneeled on his neck for over eight minutes.

As we watch the videos, we witness modern lynchings, right before our eyes. No compassion, no humanity. We are angry, outraged, and profoundly saddened.

As we mourn the deaths of these individuals, we recognize that over centuries, the violence stemming from this country’s entrenched institutionalized racism has murdered and executed many other African American men and women. Their families, communities, and all of us have been robbed of valued members of color. We recognize that all humanity suffers, that we all are less because of their deaths.

Across the U.S., as well as in other countries, people of many races and ethnicities have banded together in protest of police violence. Fires have been set, and damage to property has occurred. While we do not condone such actions, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has reminded us,

America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

Activist and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has written,

…African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.

As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in

The inherent worth and dignity of every person; Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Today, we join our voices of outrage and grief with our wider beloved community.

We’ve attached below some resources of interest that give a broader historical context to the recent murders. These include activist Tim Wise’s article on police violence, a link to recommendations for taking action from UUA’s Love Resists, a link to anti-racist resources, and an article reflecting the voices of many African Americans.

Uniting in love and justice,

UUCB People of Color Caucus

UUCB Whites Opposing White Supremacy

UUCB Social Justice Council

A Message from the UUCB Board of Trustees

Trayvon Martin  –   Ahmaud Arbery  – George Floyd

David McAtee  – Brandy Martell  –  Breonna Taylor  –  Tony McDad

SAY THEIR NAME

We will not stand silent in the face of such violence.  We hold up and endorse the recent statement of the UUCB People of Color Caucus, Whites Opposing White Supremacy and Social Justice Council.

We stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters across the United States.  Our “Black Lives Matter” banner means that we must work to dismantle white supremacy. We are called upon in this, our beloved community to show up radically and compassionately at this moment.

In the words of Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, “We as UUs need to be ready to respond with our faith out front and ready to care and lead in ways that are needed and asked for.”

We don’t know what our next steps as a congregation will be but we pledge to move forward in love for the sake of justice.

Look into your heart.  What are you called to do?

UUCB Board of Trustees


Protest, Uprisings, and Race War – CounterPunch.org

We bear witness, and as our faith and conscience demand, we act!

Listening to Black Voices Amid Murder, Violence, Protest, and Pandemic

Anti-racism resources for white people