A message from Marsha Thrall, Religious Education Coordinator

February is Black History Month.

Traditionally, in social spaces throughout the community, celebrating Black History takes the shape of recognizing who we view as “extraordinary” African Americans. Those who have made their mark upon the landscape of the United States through contributions to Civil Rights, science, education, sports, the arts. We are educated to know the names; Frederick Douglass, Dr. George Washington Carver, W.E.B. DuBois, Muhammed Ali, Zora Neal Hurston. We recognize the greatness of these people – especially since we also recognize the adversity that these history-makers were forced to endure – which ultimately makes their accomplishments so much more praiseworthy.

However, in the haze of celebration, the darkness caused by white supremacy that bears its constant covering over our brown and black neighbors still exists. This darkness works to stifle and suffocate our neighbors of color. And this darkness all too often manifests itself in the intentional and forceful extinguishing of black lives; Trayvon Martin was born on February 5, 1995 and was murdered by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012. As a religious educator, it would be irresponsible and unethical if I allowed the month that is set aside for “Black History” to pass without addressing the immorality that snuffed-out, without consequence, the spark of promise held by Tamir Rice (12), Mike Brown (18), Cameron Tillman (14), and Karen Cifuentes (19) – just to name a few black and brown children taken from us, too soon, at the hands and guns of police officers.

In commemoration of these young lives, unjustly lost, UUCW’s Religious Education Council and YRUU have partnered with the Social Action Committee to present February’s movie night offering – “The Hate U Give”. Based upon the young adult novel authored by Angie Thomas, “The Hate U Give” was chosen to earnestly examine the stifling social conditions still imposed upon brown and black bodies within our communities. Following the showing, members of YRUU will hold small group “talkbacks” with those who attend to help process the content of the film.

All of this is, indeed, intense. However, the 2nd Principle of being UU tells us that we are to work to find justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. In considering this principle, honoring the historically great achievements of extraordinary African Americans comes with the burden of considering how white supremacy has consistently worked to actively, and violently extinguish the brilliance ever-present within our black and brown neighbors.

I’m looking forward to February’s movie night, and I hope you will be able to make it.

Contact Marsha Thrall, Religious Education Coordinator.