About BUF Black Lives Matter Team

The BUF Black Lives Matter Ministry Action Team seeks to nurture the social, spiritual and personal development of congregation members in the exploration of how racism and privilege impact our congregation, our community, and our nation. In particular, we acknowledge the targeted violence which impacts black people disproportionately. We work to end racial discrimination and injustice, starting within ourselves and moving out into the world around us. We support multiracial, multiethnic congregations and advocate for stopping racist policies like mass imprisonment and attacks on voting rights. We are committed to harnessing the power of love to dismantle racism and white supremacy across our communities and to creating spaces inclusive of people of all races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. We work with many partners in support of the Black Lives Matter movements.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

RACE and REUNION, by David W. Blight

I recently started reading RACE AND REUNION by David W. Blight, a professor of history at Amherst College. The book, originally published in 2001, focuses on linkages between the post-Civil War period of 1865 - 1915 and 21st century racism in this country, specifically, how post-war cultures in both North and South deliberately reinforced institutional racism, in doing so obliterating historical assumptions that the war’s ending chattel slavery also eliminated most vestiges associated with the institution.
Today’s mainstream culture is the product of longstanding virulent historical racial bias reaffirmed in the cultural fabric of the United States over the 50 years following the American Civil War, where over 620,000 Americans died. Author Blight identifies three main "memory storylines" or "visions" that drove how the country remembered the Civil War between 1865 and 1915.
The first is the 'reconciliation vision,' rooted in North and South—separately and together—coming to terms with the overwhelming number of dead from the battlefields, prisons, and hospitals. An equivalent percentage of the population war dead today –that is, using the same percentage of Americans from the overall population of the United States who died between 1861 and 1865 in the Civil War and applying that percentage to the current population in this country--would mean 15 million dead Americans. The horror of the carnage drove reconciliation efforts between North and South for fifty years following Appomatox, in effect creating stronger unity between the former enemies, although the initially the South came grudgingly to the table.
The second was the ‘white supremacist vision,’ which took many forms immediately after the war ended. Terror and violence opposed the idea of reconciliation with freed slaves at any level, creating, essentially, a segregated memory of the Civil War perpetuated on Southern terms. The ‘Lost Cause’ myth of the former Confederacy found tremendous footing in the post-war South, its adherents stressing the noble, heroic nature of the doomed effort.
The third and final memory vision was the ‘emancipation vision,’ reflected in African Americans' complex remembrance of their own fleeting freedom within the politics of Radical Reconstruction. This freedom was temporarily bolstered by the presence of Union troops and military governors stationed in the vanquished Confederacy to oversee emancipation's progress. In 1877, with the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes, part of the deal struck with Southern Democrats placing Union Army veteran Hayes in the Oval Office was the complete removal of Union troops from the South, giving white supremacists full control over every aspect of former slaves’ lives.
Although not prominently featured in school history books today, the North was a silent witness to Jim Crow laws, while fostering their own brands of blatant racial discrimination and suppression in every part of the country between the Civil War and World War I. The institutionalization of racism continued unabated, the carnage of the Civil war not moving the country towards any real confrontation with its checkered past.
What was the sacrifice in the Civil War about? Author David Blight argues that the visions of reconciliation and the rise of white supremacy in the South together muted the emancipation vision, rendering it all but irrelevant to society’s greater concerns. In the words of the author, "the inexorable drive for reunion both used and trumped race," essentially silencing the emancipation vision for 50 years and beyond. True emancipation would have to wait for 100 hundred years following the end of the Civil War to realize modest achievements on the long path to the justice that continues to elude black Americans today.
I will talk more about RACE AND REUNION, in upcoming blogs.

Rod Haynes
BUF Black Lives Matter

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 22, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

May 22, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Meeting Team Minutes

The team reflected on the results from the congregation passing our Resolution with a vote of 95-1 and then celebrated with a potluck!

Now the work continues in earnest. We divided the work into 3 categories:

I.  Programming
    A. Children's Religious Education
    B. Adult Religious Education
         1. UUA Race Curriculum: http://www.uua.org/racial-justice/curricula/building-the-world-we-dream-about
         2. Sunday Forums
         3. Other
    C. Team Meetings
         1. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
         2. Other
    D. Incarceration Issues 

II.  Communications
      A.  ERACISM Minutes
      B.  Social Justice Kiosk in Social Hall
      C.  Poster in Wayside Pulpit
      D.  Blog
      E.  Companion BLM Banner with Standing on the Side of Love Banner
      F.  Name Badges for Team Members

III. Coalitions & Outreach
      A. Bellingham Black Lives Matter
      B. Racial Justice Coalition
      C. Human Rights Coalition
      D. Liberal Ministers Group
      E. UCC Race Workshops
      F. SURJ (Jim)
      G. What Now?   
      H. WA Women's Prison


At the BUF Congregational Meeting on May 21, 2017, the BUF Black Lives Matter Ministry Action Team put forth a Resolution which the congregation passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 95-1.

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 10, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

April 10, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Attendees:  Lauralee, Erika, Mary, Martie, Rod, Alice, Heidi, Steve, Mike Brunt, Lucy Morse, Hilde, Judy

Resolution: Rod to distill versions into a simple, meaty Resolution to be publicized and promoted at Coffee Hour, Orders of Service, Eracism Minutes, Facebook group, BUF-News, and Midweek Update.

The Team will provide a Resolution educational session at noon during Coffee Hour in the library on May 14th.

On Monday, April 17th, a workgroup will meet to plan a "Resolution Blitz."

Hilde to write up Black Lives Matter Team meeting announcements for Midweek Updates.

Banner & Posters to come after Resolution passes.


Black Lives Matter Resolution

Black Lives Matter Resolution
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Whereas Unitarian Universalists, in keeping with long-standing tradition, remain committed to principles of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;

Whereas Unitarian Universalists continue to envision and work towards a world community practicing liberty and justice for all;

Whereas the 2015 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association passed an Action of Immediate Witness (http://www.uua.org/statements/support-black-lives-matter-movement) calling congregations to take deliberate action in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in the fight for racial justice;


Whereas our respect for the rights and dignity of every individual demands our standing in solidarity with victims of racial, ethnic, and religious hatred and bigotry, all by-products of U.S. white privilege and indifference to equal justice for ethnic minorities;

Resolved, that the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship:

1. Resolutely affirms our support of the UUA Action of Immediate Witness to support the “Movement for Black Lives Matter,” both in words and deeds.
2. Commits to educating ourselves and our community that institutional racism extends beyond white privilege and oppressive cultural systems, and that the unresolved struggles for justice and equality for Black people in the U.S.’s past remain the cause of our struggles today. 
3. Commits to partnering with local community organizations to leverage resources and harness the power of love to combat racism targeting Black people and oppression at all levels of our communities and their governments.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April 2, 2017 Sunday Forum

April 2, 2017 Sunday Forum

Erika and Lauralee led a second Black Lives Matter Forum to a packed BUF Boardroom.

Robin Diangelo's video was shown.

March 13, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

March 13, 2017 BUF Black Lives Matter Team Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Erika, Lauralee, Heidi, Cat, Michael, Alice, Mike Betz, Martie, Rod Haynes, Nancy Steele, Liz E.

Business: Our team will host BUF coffee hour on May 14th
                 Rod Haynes will sell copies of his book as a fundraiser
                 Forum on April 2nd
                 At April 9th SEJC Meeting, we will present a resolution similar to the UUA GA 2015 Call                        to Witness and ask for support before presenting for a vote at the May Congregational                          Meeting

28 Racist Attitudes:  We discussed #16 "I was an Indian in a Former Life" as well as a discussion of cultural appropriation and the differences among Assimilation, Acculturation and Appropriation.

Eracism Minutes continue!