A message from Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister, and Rev. Jen Crow, Executive Minister, First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
This past Sunday, a young, unarmed black man, Jamar Clark, was shot in the head by a Minneapolis police officer. Spending time at the 4th Precinct on Sunday night with other clergy, it's clear that people are angry, grieving, and wanting justice for Jamar Clark.
Since the shooting, we've witnessed ongoing protests at the 4th Precinct, and a two hour shut down of I-94 on Monday night. Many of you have been asking, "What can we do?" There's no one right way to respond, but there are a number of ways to be involved, each one grounded in our faith and in our [First Universalist's] racial justice resolution:
- Find out more. Our task as religious people is to wake up again and again. The truth is multi-faceted and has many voices, so this is an opportunity to spend time with alternative media sources to get a clear picture of what happened to Jamar Clark, and how it fits into a larger system of race, racism, and whiteness. You can follow Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Facebook and Twitter, and search for the hashtag #JamarClark, #Justice4Jamar, and #JamesAndPlymouth on Facebook or Twitter. Familiarize yourself with the demands of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis (on their Facebook page). Spend time on the website Campaign Zero. Read material from white Unitarian Universalist, Chris Crass, and African American Unitarian Universalist, Kenny Wiley. Pay attention to what you're feeling and experiencing as you learn.
- Provide direct action and support. Pay attention to the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook page, and respond when "Calls to Action" are sent out. Currently, members of Black Lives Matter are occupying the 4th Precinct until their demands are met. They need hot food, warm drinks, and other supplies. They also need folks to stand in solidarity with them when they rally and march. If you are willing to provide bail money to those arrested, they need that, too.
- Put your values to work and apply political pressure: call Mayor Betsy Hodges (612-673-2100) and Police Chief, Janee Harteau (612-673-3559), to express your opinion. We've called and said, "As people of faith, we support Black Lives Matter and their demands as we seek justice for the shooting of Jamar Clark."
- Come to church. Be in a community that will hold the pain, anger, confusion, and questions that this incident and so many others stir up. As a faith community, we are personally and intimately connected with police officers, community leaders, activists, and justice seekers. As the Rev. Mark Morrison Reed says, "Alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen, and our strength too limited to do all that must be done. Together, our vision widens and our strength is renewed.
In faith and love
Justin and Jen
Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister, and Rev. Jen Crow, Executive Minister
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Also read: A Black Lives Matter Sermon by Lena K. Gardner