This morning we at UUCM are proud to identify ourselves publicly with a national movement which is highlighting the plight of African Americans and those of other ethnic minorities in this country. It is not only that African Americans have been the disproportionate victims of violent death at the hands of some individual police officers acting unprofessionally, they are the victims of systemic racism at all levels. They suffer economically, socially, and politically. African Americans are no more likely to commit crimes, but are much, much more likely to be punished severely for crimes for which a white person would receive a lenient sentence, if sentenced at all. More and more states are finding ways to disenfranchise poor blacks from their constitutional right to vote. Jim Crow is alive and doing very well indeed.
In raising this banner today, we signal our collective acknowledgement that, as we are the beneficiaries of a system which stacks all the odds in our favour, so we are beholden to do all we can to re-balance those odds. Let us allow that we aspire to be good people. But let us also remind ourselves of the words of the British politician, Edmund Burke, who said that they only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing. This is a small act we are doing today, but though small, it is significant. We are the first and only church in this town, this county, to make this public statement of support of the sacred importance of black lives. I hope other churches of all denominations will join us, so that the whole community may know that in the eyes of holy, black lives matter because all men and women matter, all men and women are of value, all men and women are equal.
May this banner, standing on the side of standing on the side of love, may it be a reminder to ourselves each time we cross this threshold that we are entering a space which seeks justice and equity for all, in the name of all that is holy. And may it be a beacon to all who pass that here, let no one be a stranger, let no one be an outcast, let no one be judged by the colour of their skin but only by the content of their character.