Unitarian Universalists draw inspiration from many sources. Among these are the words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.
About this time last year, I participated in a Living Legacy Civil Rights Pilgrimage through Alabama and Mississippi. One of the highlights of my experience was going to Selma and standing in the place where Unitarian Universalist ministers James Reeb, Clark Olsen and Orloff Miller were attacked on March 9, 1965; an attack that resulted in Reeb’s death two days later. Clark Olsen was with us on our bus ride through the south, and he shared his first hand account of that fateful week, and that tragic moment, in Selma, Alabama.
That event looms large in history, but was just one among many hundreds of actions over a period of two decades that took place in the name of justice. The prophetic words and deeds … and songs … of thousands of women and men effected real change for millions of people. And the journey continues. Justice is not complete. Racism, sexism, heterosexism and other “isms” continue to fuel our illusion of separation and superiority.
The words and deeds of prophetic individuals inspire me to renew my resolve to understand and dismantle the systems of racism and oppression that perpetuate injustice. I don’t have to look only to history for inspiration … I am regularly inspired by courageous colleagues, congregants, and allies who act courageously to effect real change in the world today.
A colleague of mine recently offered several questions that have moved him to deeper reflection and profound social action. Perhaps reflecting on these may renew your resolve:
How do I use my privilege?
What am I willing to be arrested for?
What am I willing to die for?