SURJ compiled these resources for #ReclaimMLK weekend 2015. Please share and use to help bring social justice into your community or congregation.
My challenge is simple:
Listen intently to the cries and challenges of young people of color
Pray for justice in the streets of Ferguson and throughout our nation
Act by getting involved in the local struggle for racial justice in your community
#BlackLivesMatter Call to Clergy from October Week of Action By Dr. Troy Jackson,
White anxiety cannot become the measure of this movement or of the nation. Our movement must not be guided by the need to assuage white discomfort in the face of righteous black rage. Too often, there has been minimal or fleeting efforts by many in the liberal white community to address police brutality and the bone-crushing poverty exacted upon black bodies across this nation. If we rush to accommodate and appease those white liberals whose presence on the streets of Ferguson has been negligible, we betray the blood of the innumerable Mike Browns of America.
Hands Up Sabbath: A Toolkit Remembering Ferguson by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, PICO, Sojourners, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Metropolitan Congregations United, Eden Theological Seminary and other faith partners.
Let me repeat: the unified family of God is the answer to the problem of race in America. For years, black Christians have invited white Christians to participate in the unified family of God by leaning into justice issues that affect black people.
White Christians, are you ready to wake up???
White Christians: It’s Time to Stand in Solidarity With Your Black Brothers and Sisters by Christena Cleveland, Ph.D
To my white brothers and sisters: you can’t continue to say you are not racist when you continue to accept and support systems that are. It’s time for white people to take responsibility for our acceptance of racist systems.
It’s Time for Whites to Accept Responsibility for Racist Systems, by Jim Wallis, Sojourner
On the Shabbat of Martin Luther King Day weekend, we read the first seven of the ten plagues. The root 'kaved,' heavy, appears nine times—fully one fifth of its uses in all of Torah. The plague narrative is about trying to change the heavy, oppressive practices of an entrenched government that sees itself as all-powerful.
Sermon Sparks on Police Accountability by T’ruah
I live in two worlds. I am Jewish and I am black, and I am calling out to the Jewish community to please take notice of these past events, not just the events in Ferguson but the number of black men and people of color in our society who are stopped by police, arrested by police and even killed by police…We as a Jewish community can no longer say these issues do not concern us.
A Prayer for Ferguson by Sandra Lawson
On the police violence front, we follow the leadership of the young black organizers who emerged from Ferguson, Missouri. When we as rabbis speak out, bringing the power of Jewish tradition and the privilege of our station to bear on these issues, we seek to amplify the divine echoes we hear in our compatriots’ words.
The Voice of God by Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson
The message of the Gospel is that there is a Force more powerful than Empire, more powerful than White Supremacy, and these protesters are preaching the Gospel! I saw in their faces not only righteous anger and determination, but also joy, because they have discovered that they are free because, like Jesus, they no longer are walking in the fear of death….As people who believe in the gospel of peace, now is a time that presents an amazing opportunity for Mennonites to give flesh to our beliefs.
#ICantBreathe, an outcry against Eric Garner’s unpunished murder…For those most likely to endure anti-black violence in our society, breathing isn’t just a conduit for mindfulness. It can also be survival. It can also be resistance. It can also be defiance in the face of a state that has both commodified black life and deemed it worthless.
Buddha + Black Lives Matter: A Racial Justice Reflection Toolkit, from Buddhist Peace Fellowship
While some have criticized the form that this protest took as both dangerous and ineffectual, we have come to understand it as part of the disruptive work that we are called to do as spiritually rooted, theologically grounded faith leaders working for social change. When systems of oppression seem intractable, disruptive action becomes an important first step in transforming them.
An Open Letter to Communities of Faith, Religious Leaders, and Justice Seekers, from the American Baptist Seminary of the West
Evangelicals for Social Action
Our job is to finally listen and to respond. White Christians are called by God, right now, to repentance and to the biblically-required work of repair that always accompanies it.
Dear White Christians: by Jennifer Harvey
Many want sustenance that can keep us going for the long journey to face the systemic problems that led to the shooting of Michael Brown… I’m sharing what Presbyterians from across the country have shared with me.
From a Moment to a Movement from Larissa Kwong Abazia
What has happened in Ferguson and in places all over the nation demands a response by us if we want to take seriously the gospel. So let us open ourselves up to listen to the voice of the stranger.
This call from King 50 years ago is a call white churches today must hear and take seriously in the midst of racial turmoil around us because too many of us just wish we could close our eyes and make it all go away.
Sermon: Oh Lord, What Shall We Do? by Mindy Douglas, Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Sisters and Brothers, we must stand arm in arm with the people of Ferguson. Black bodies matter and our white bodies will signify that the killing of black bodies is unacceptable.
If you want a break, you can’t have it. If you want to deny that there are broken systems at play that favor some over others, you cannot do that any more. If you want to catch a breath, you’re reminded that Eric Garner said, 'I can’t breathe.'
Keeping the Movement, by Larissa Kwong Abazia
Collectively, we must be a strong voice for change to end police brutality and the systemic racism in our society that causes violence, chaos, and death. Black lives matter.
On the Side of Love with Ferguson – By Rev. Peter Morales and others
Great toolkit for UU ministers including sample sermons, readings, discussion questions, and children’s stories.
Toolkit designed to prepare folks to speak to media about Ferguson and the Unitarian Universalist perspective.
MLK/Ferguson resources from Standing on the Side of Love
MLK sermons from the Unitarian Universalist Association
Thanks to Chris Crass, Sam Hamlin, Molly Casteel, Jason Lydon, Cathy Rion Starr, Dara Silverman, Meta Mendel-Reyes, Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Leslie Butler MacFadyen, Rev. Hank Peirce, Steve Knight, Erika Bach, Matt Cummings, Matt Lowe, Dawn Haney, Micky ScottBey Jones, Elizabeth Mount, Ashley Horan, Keith Brooks, Pam Nath, and many more for time, energy, work and feedback to compile these resources.
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