The following is a statement that was made for the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Larger Fellowship upon the news of the “No Indictment” decision from the Grand Jury examining the case against Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown.
The tragic irony of the grand jury decision from Ferguson, Missouri coming so close to the Thanksgiving holiday is inescapable. We should be preparing dinner, not a cultural war. In a metaphorical sense, we should be talking about how many more people we can put around the table, not how many more people will be turned away. This ongoing struggle between black and white is a global disgrace and the combination of this decision and the deluge of news that we sift through also highlights how we are asked to “choose” where we put our attentions for justice. You see, the media and the ignorant would have us believe that Ferguson and Immigration are separate issues; that voting rights and health care, are about different things; that environmental justice and marriage equality effect different populations. But no, they all impact one very specific group of people: The Other.
You see, it is “The Other” that is feared. It is “The Other” that is vilified. It is “The Other” that is left behind, left out, marginalized and shot in the street.
Yes, we should be preparing dinner…
You see, if we were preparing dinner, we would be asking ourselves, “what will feed the people coming to table?” “What will make them feel welcome and nourished?” “What can we share that will fill their needs?”
Instead, too much of our time is focused on getting and keeping stuff or defending our rights to stuff or creating more stuff…
…when we should all be enjoying the stuffing and stuffing ourselves full with an abundance of love.
Right now, we are seeing the product of setting a table for some instead of a table for all. The food is there; the finest dishes are set, the crystal and flatware polished; the linen is crisp and clean. But with only a few at the table, most of the food will go to waste, the place settings will collect dust and tarnish and the meal will be incomplete. Only one opinion will be expressed in a flat conversation and everyone will leave deeply unsatisfied.
So let this be a lesson to us moving forward. Black people are not the enemy; white people are not the enemy; Immigrants are not the enemy; Latinos are not the enemy; Asian people are not the enemy; Transgender people are not the enemy; Bisexual people are not the enemy. The only enemy is when any of us is treated like “The Other,” and turned away from a table that should be set first with love. And let’s not forget that even then the real enemy is not “The Other” but “The Us.”
Let’s start preparing dinner…a meal where we are all welcome and fed.
Sending a prayer to the family of Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson and to everyone else who is feeling utterly helpless at this moment to a “system” that is not a system, but a sickness.