On the Martin Luther King holiday, many of us from SKUUC, adults and children, gathered with other people from the Hayward community and from other faith traditions to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy. As we marched, one of the signs our group carried proclaimed “Black Lives Matter.” Since this phrase has become popular, particularly as part of the recent protests of police killings of unarmed black men, some people have raised an objection about using that phrase instead of “All Lives Matter.”
Why not use the more inclusive phrase?
While it is true, and is in fact one of our UU principles, that all lives indeed DO matter, at this moment in history, when African American youth are 4.5 times more likely to be killed by police than any other racial group, and in the aftermath of the recent well-publicized deaths of black men at the hands of police who were then exonerated by grand juries, stating specifically that BLACK lives matter is a way of standing for true equality and against the racism that still infects our culture and de-values the lives of African Americans. When one of our UU churches displayed the words Black Lives Matter on its marquee, my colleague, Rev. Dan Schatz, received a letter objecting to the phrase. You can read Rev. Schatz’ articulate response online at: http://www.uua.org/worship/words/readings/299717.shtml
We marched peacefully, on this Martin Luther King holiday, mindful of the power of love to change the world, and in honor of the great Civil Rights leader, who once proclaimed: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Turning now to this new month, which contains Valentine’s Day, a day devoted to love in its many forms, I offer a quote from African American writer James Baldwin, about love and change.
For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting. The light I always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have.
The sea rises, the light falls, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
So here’s to the joyous, complex and many-faceted human experience we call love. May we celebrate love in all of its forms, and rejoice that, increasingly, people who were once excluded from the sacred bond of matrimony can now legally marry.
May love bloom forth abundantly in your life!
I give the last word to the late, great singer/guitarist/songwriter Jimi Hendrix:
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.