The term “stay woke” is used on social media by people who continue pointing to the ever-growing list of victims of state violence, racial profiling, or other racial injustices. Unitarian Universalists, too, can “stay woke” by continuing to grapple with the magnitude of the work ahead, and by refusing to succumb to the temptation to ignore the racial realities of our country. ~ Kenny Wiley
by Rev. Emilie Boggis
When I first heard the term “stay woke” it reminded me of Henry David Thoreau, one of the nineteenth Transcendentalists from our religious movement. He wrote, “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep.” Thoreau, of course, was talking about a spiritual process through which we might know the infinite and the interconnected. However, he was also a person whose spiritual practices reawakened him to the injustices of the day, at the heart of which was slavery.
The Unitarian Church in Summit is committed to “staying woke,” the term for awakening to the racial injustices of our time. After all, slavery has left a long and unfortunately, enduring legacy of violence. Each generation must awaken to its place in our society so that we pull it up from its roots. This is the soul work of our lives.
Here are four opportunities to “stay woke” to the Black Lives Matter Movement this year:
1. Join a Beloved Conversations group at UCS
2. Read and discuss. We are holding two community-wide
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (fall)
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (winter/spring)
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is available at the UUBoutique.
3. Join Dialogue Circles with our Interfaith partners.
4. Be ready for action. Sign up for daily and weekly alerts from the UCS website on the ways that we are partnering with local and national organizations to give voice to Black Lives Matter.