Last week, I was in Kansas City for our annual UUA General Assembly. It’s a glorious gathering of 3000 or so Unitarian Universalists for an extended weekend of the democratic process in action, workshops, lectures, justice actions and worship. I love it!
Each year, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, in consultation with the General Assembly Planning Committee, invites a distinguished guest to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer. This has been a tradition since 1920. Some Ware Lecturers have included the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, and poet Mary Oliver.
You can see the 2018 Ware Lecture here. It was offered by Brittany Packnett, and I hope you will watch the entire thing. She knew she was speaking to a large audience of justice minded folks who have committed to dismantling white supremacy culture in our congregations and beyond. She knew she was likely preaching to the choir, so she pushed us. I didn’t feel shamed by her words; I felt challenged. After all, we were there during the week when children were being held in cages, separated from their immigrant parents. “This is not who we are,” so many people were saying, but Brittany Packnett reminded us that this is exactly who we are. Our country has been separating families since America was America.
She told us that if we wanted an anti-Trump speaker, we called the wrong person. She reminded us that we can continue to point fingers at the Trump administration, but moderates are more of a threat to freedom than hate groups when we do nothing. We are called to be accomplices, asking People of Color and LGBTQ folks what they expect of us. We can’t expect grace or healing when we haven’t taken responsibility. All of us – all UUs – are being called in to the divine union of love and power. Each day, we can ask ourselves, “Did I uphold white supremacy or destruct it?”
I left that auditorium more convinced and empowered than before; more open to that divine union of love and power; more ready to dismantle anything that threatens our collective liberation.
As Brittany Packnett says, “Let’s get free.”