Friday, December 5, 2014

Black Lives Matter

We are in the midst of the Christian season of Advent, a time of expectant waiting for the birth of Jesus celebrated at Christmas. There are many wonderful things about patience and the spiritual discipline of waiting, but one thing that we need not wait for is justice. As Anne Frank put it, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” 

Last night there were historic protests in Boston and in cities around the USA after the failure to indict in the choking death of an unarmed Eric Garner in New York (following so closely after the failure to indict in the shooting death of an unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri). As these massive protests show, many of us are ready to change our country for the better, and we don’t need to wait a single moment longer. This isn’t just a protest; it’s a movement – a movement to end police brutality against African Americans, and ultimately a movement to end institutionalized racism. 

To my regret, I missed last night's action in Boston; I am "down for the count" with sinusitis. I did follow along on social media -- and tweeted and posted about it, aka "clicktivism". I also watched the Boston tree lighting ceremony on TV... there were a LOT more #EnoughIsEnough: We Are The Ones, Justice For Eric Garner protesters than folks who were there for the ceremony. It was surreal to watch the tree lighting ceremony on TV -- watching ridiculous things like the Patriots cheerleaders in sexy Santa suits dancing to "Jingle Bell Rock" -- when this huge protest was happening, and they weren't even mentioning it... when this massive movement is afoot and they just ignored it with "the show must go on" stuff! As if a Christmas tree is more important than racism and police brutality and thousands of people rising up! (On WCVB Channel 5 news, they actually said the protesters "didn't take away from" the tree lighting celebration. Are you kidding?)

I was able to go to the November 25 rally and march in Roxbury, after the Ferguson grand jury decision was announced. That was a big event with a great turn-out, too. But last night's action? Amazing. Even bigger than the November 25 action -- much bigger! Boston was "shut down" with all the protesters. New York City was too. And cities all over this country. It gives me hope. May we be a part of this movement, and stand on the side of love on the right side of history.

If you want to see the reading and sermon from the November 30 service “A Faithful Response to Ferguson”, click here.