by Angela Kelly
Ready or not, here we are, on the eve of an Inauguration so many of us are dreading. We are painfully aware of the threats posed by the incoming President to the rights, safety, and dignity of so many, to the future of our planet, and to values we cherish deep in our hearts. We know that many of these threats are not new for immigrants and refugees, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and so many others.
And yet we know that there is also much that is unprecedented about this moment. It demands something new of all of us: increased clarity and resilience; a renewed commitment to anti-oppressive learning and practice; and greater courage amidst uncertainty. We are also called in a new way to build beloved community, and to dedicate ourselves to centering practices that will sustain us through the tough times to come.
Whether in our home communities or in the nation’s Capitol, many of us will take to the streets this weekend. We will raise our voices with millions more, to counter and disrupt bigotry in all its forms. We will stand up to defend critical social programs and the laws that protect our environment. UUCSJ staff and our colleagues will be among the ranks marching in DC and Boston, joining with the powerful network of UU activists across the country, embodying faith-based resistance in the days ahead. There are UU Convergences being organized at several of the actions, including the Women’s March on Washington.
If you are looking for an action near you, please check out the latest listing at the UUA’s Show the Love page for several links that will help you get plugged in. Before you set out to march and rally, take some time to watch or listen to this excellent webinar with our colleagues Rev. Ashley Horan (MUUSJA), Lena K. Gardner (BLUU), Caitlin Breedlove and Nora Rasman (SSL): “Get More Out of the March: Mobilizing for Resistance”. Take some time to center yourself before hitting the streets, perhaps with this beautiful Blessing for the Women’s March by Rev. Erika Hewitt. Be sure to fortify your mind, body, heart and spirit, and consider how the signs you will carry, slogans you will chant, and voices you will hear and amplify will effectively lift up intersectional messages that reflect your values and commitments and the leadership and wisdom of those likely to be dos adversely affected by the incoming Administration. A recent webinar from the Icarus Project on Street Therapy: Emotional Resistance also offers a powerful framework and some timely tips for attending to our own self care and the wellness of those around us while taking mass action.
On Sunday, Jan. 22, sustain the momentum of this weekend’s actions by joining us for a public webinar on Sanctuary & Solidarity, with leaders of UUSC and the UUA, and grassroots movement organizers from across the country. Register here to get the link to join live on Sunday and/or the recording and follow-up resources. (And if you are particularly interested in exploring becoming a Sanctuary congregation as one pathway toward solidarity, mark your calendars for two more upcoming webinars on January 30th and February 27th, hosted by UUCSJ and UURISE; details and registration at this link.)
One action you can take right now is signing onto a Declaration of Conscience, jointly issued by UUA and UUSC earlier this week. The Declaration can be signed as an individual and/or as a congregation, as a way to register your dissent as well as your commitment to an emerging campaign that uplifts the values of justice and compassion, all humans’ worth and dignity, and our vital web of interdependence.
However you march, resist, and/or reaffirm your values at this time, please know you are not alone! We are buoyed not only by the collective strength of one another but by the power of our ancestors, the many who tirelessly fought oppression before us, as well as the enduring spirit of those who will come after us. We at UUCSJ are grateful for and inspired by your continued activism and engagement and will continue to share resources and action opportunities for the long haul ahead. Stay tuned!
Declaration of Conscience
At this extraordinary time in our nation’s history, we are called to affirm our profound commitment to the fundamental principles of justice, equity and compassion, to truth and core values of American society.
In the face of looming threats to immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and the LGBTQ community and the rise of hate speech, harassment and hate crimes, we affirm our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
In opposition to any steps to undermine the right of every citizen to vote or to turn back advances in access to health care and reproductive rights, we affirm our commitment to justice and compassion in human relations.
And against actions to weaken or eliminate initiatives to address the threat of climate change – actions that would threaten not only our country but the entire planet – we affirm our unyielding commitment to protect the interdependent web of all existence.
We will oppose any and all unjust government actions to deport, register, discriminate, or despoil.
As people of conscience, we declare our commitment to translate our values into action as we stand on the side of love with the most vulnerable among us.
We welcome and invite all to join in this commitment for justice.
The time is now.