Four Ways to Respond Now

How are you? Take a moment and really check in with yourself.

So many of us are overwhelmed, or anxious, or grieving, or angry these days. So much so that “checking out” can be a common coping strategy.  And yet, checking out from the challenging parts of life means we also miss out on the joy, the connections, and the meaning. So, take a breath, and check in. Try to feel your feelings, remembering that no feeling is final.

Wherever you are, however you are in this moment, you are worthy of love, and held in love, just as you are. Whatever feeling you are experiencing, whatever intensity is there, know that the love that is holding you is even stronger and steadier, and working in ways beyond what we are able to see or know.

In the midst of all these feelings – in response to racial injustice exposed and resisted, in response to continuing uncertainty and risk of illness, in the midst of our economic turmoil and the ongoing threats to our democracy – the question I hear most is: what can we do

To help answer this question, we have created this resource, which offers many different ways to respond to racial injustice in the midst of a pandemic. Especially given our different levels of risk tolerance and the different ways we are each vulnerable, it’s important to remember that there are many different ways to support the movement for our collective liberation and the movement for Black Lives.

The important thing is not to do all the things, but to do something, and to open your heart to understanding the movement for Black Lives as a movement for all of us. As you look at the document, I encourage you to find one thing that tugs on your heart, and do it. Don’t wait. Respond in a way that is grounded in our Universalist conviction that we are all in this life together, and that none of us are free until all of us are free.

And because there’s a lot there, I want to highlight four ways to respond:

  1. Join us at Friday’s #BlackLivesMatter protest in Old Town centering people of color (POC) leaders and voices in Fort Collins
    • It is a core value of our justice work that we move in partnership and follow the leadership of local front line communities. As a result, we have been in conversation over the last week with leaders of color in Fort Collins about how best to show up in solidarity in this moment. They have been working in conversation with the DA and the Police Department, and are organizing an emerging coalition that can respond not just in this moment, but for the long haul. From these conversations we invite those of you who are able to join us at the protest in Old Town at noon on Friday.  
    • If you are not in a higher risk category, or otherwise able to show up in an outdoor event, please plan to join us. Wear your masks. Wear your Foothills T-shirts. Practice social distancing. Bring your signs of solidarity.
    • If you are not able to join us due to the risks involved, or for other reasons, we will plan to Facebook live the event so you can join us online.
  2. Especially if you are new to this work, join Foothills Racial Justice and Healing Ministry to stay connected to upcoming events including two summer/fall classes.
  3. Engage one or both of these messages from our UUA leaders: a message for white UUs from Rev. Susan Frederick Gray; a pastoral message for BIPOC UUs from Rev. Laurel Smith.
  4. Give to support the Colorado Freedom Fund, providing support to those who are unable to buy their way to freedom.  

As I said on Sunday, in this time of great uncertainty, the risk for all of us is that we become so overwhelmed we hunker down and just focus on our own survival. This is understandable, and even biological in some ways. And yet by our faith we know that our survival must be forged in a path build on our collective survival, healing that comes not just for some, but for all.

This time of uncertainty is also a time of great possibility, a time where a new and wider sense of community can be created. A community that embraces the blessings of our differences and the beauty of what we can be and become when our unity is built not on uniformity but on plurality and loyalty – a sense of duty to fight for each other’s liberation, safety, and joy.

This is the message at the heart of the Unitarian tradition of Flower Communion. Join us this Sunday at 9 & 11 as we find new ways to celebrate this tradition that continues to have so much to offer us for today.

With love,
Rev. Gretchen