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A Call to Action in the Wake of #FalconHeightsShooting

July 07, 2016 3:36 PM | Anonymous
A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Ones,

Last night, as I was already reeling from the heartbreak of that morning's story of the police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA, I opened my Facebook feed to discover the livestreaming video posted immediately after Falcon Heights police shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop for a broken tail light.  I watched in horror as I heard his girlfriend narrate what had just happened; as obviously panicking police pointed a gun at her and her four year old daughter as Philando drew his last breaths next to her in the passenger seat; as Lavish Diamond Reynolds was placed in handcuffs and her child was ripped from her; as her baby girl said to her in the back of the squad car, "It's okay, Mommy.  It's okay.  I'm right here with you."

But it is NOT okay.  

Nothing is okay.

Nothing will be okay until we dismantle white supremacy, and fundamentally transform all the systems that uphold it, including the criminal punishment system as it exists in this country.  Nothing will be okay until Black and Brown people do not have to navigate the world in constant fear of violence and death.  Nothing will be okay until Black and Brown children are not forced to watch one parent killed in front of them, and then have to turn around and comfort their other traumatized parent.  Nothing will be okay until we never again have to create another hashtag, gather for yet another vigil or march or rally or action, lobby another politician, comfort another grieving community.

There is so much more to be said, and it has been good to be with so many of you today at the Governor's Mansion, where Black Lives Matter leaders and the broader community have been gathered since last night. But I am not yet ready to move toward hope and healing and redemption.  I am in my own grief and rage today, as I know many of you are.  And, as a white person, I am only marginally able to imagine the magnitude of the grief and rage Black people are feeling right now.  

So what can we do?  Much has already been asked of us, and much more will be asked in the coming days and weeks.  But today, I have three concrete asks of you:

1.) Will you consider joining me in making a sustaining donation to Black Lives Matter - Minneapolis today?  BLM and their allies are pushing to get 5,000 white people to commit to making a donation of at least $18/mo to sustainably fund Black-led organizing and reparations.  In this moment in which we so clearly need to be listening to the vision and leadership of Black folks and people of color, sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is to resource their organizations and give money to the movement, with no strings attached.

2.) Join me and other UUs and faith leaders from around the state at J.J. Hill Elementary School, 998 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 55104, tonight at 5pm.  We do not have all the details, but we know that there will likely be two distinct spaces at the gathering--one for the immediate community of Philando Castile, and another for the broader community.  I will be there with my family, and I hope to see many of you there, too.
3.) If you are a white person, read to understand, and have conversations with others.  Some wonderful resources include recent articles such "This is what white people can do to support #BlackLivesMatter," this Call to Action from Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, "Concrete Ways to Be an Actual Ally to Black People," any of the resources about ending Police Violence at Campaign Zero"From White Guilt to White Responsibility," and so many more.  If these articles make you uncomfortable, or angry, try to sit with that discomfort.  Ask why you're feeling the way you do.  Find another white person to process your feelings with.  Keep coming back to learn more, to hear better, to listen more deeply.  Keep working.

As Black civil rights activist Ella Baker said, "We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes."  Take care of yourselves, and each other, so we can keep showing up, beloveds.  

I love you.  Let's keep on together.
In faith and solidarity,


Ashley Horan, M.Div.
MUUSJA Executive Director


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