The Black Lives Matter banner at the UU congregation in Winston-Salem has been stolen several times now. So often, in fact, that my intrepid colleague, Rev. Lisa Schwartz, bought a spare the last time she re-ordered.
Which was great, because on Sunday April 22, when someone not only stole their banner for the 3rd time, but also spray painted "WHITE" across their front doors in huge, skinny letters, she and the congregation were ready. The new banner was up by 12:15pm as the congregation sung their commitment:
"Ain't gonna let no spray paint turn me around..."
Even better, at a press conference just days later, not only did the local Black Clergy Caucus turn out with their strong support, but so did many White ministers from mainline churches from across the city. Also joining them were a county commissioner, members of the city council and school board, and one lone, sweet member of the local Socialist party.
Rev. Schwartz says that every leader spoke in support of the congregation, and that in particular it was heartening that two prominent White mainline clergy publicly emphatically stated that the question was not why a White church would display a BLM banner, but why ALL White churches aren't displaying the banner. And they committed to lifting up banners on their churches.
After the press conference, Rev. Schwartz says that all the leaders who gathered agreed that “the vandalism was SO minor compared to the oppression that people of color have endured for centuries. We’ve pledged to lift not only the banner, but the issue, clearly and consistently.” Together they’ve vowed that they will continue the conversation about race and the work of Black Lives Matter in Winston-Salem.
Three cheers for the UUs in Winston-Salem who won’t let anyone turn them around! And for their fellow citizens who have joined them in the struggle for justice for all.
Bravo and Blessings, Deborah