Editor’s Note: We are including this column on our news page in addition to our opinion page because it includes information about upcoming community forums.
Last November, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown. Given the many strong feelings all over the country, several clergy in Oak Ridge decided to address our community. In our public statement, we called for “inspiration, perspiration, and collaboration” in our shared efforts for racial justice. We concluded, “We, the faith community, look forward to partnering in 2015 to foster holistic, long-term, and systemic solutions to the complex set of social, economic, and community challenges that plague our great society.”
In the 11 months since, painful conversations about race across our country have continued in Baltimore, Maryland; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Dallas, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; and even now, in Oak Ridge.
This summer, the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church began to display a message on its electronic Oak Ridge Turnpike sign, which reads, “Black Lives Matter.” Given the national scope of this slogan, people have taken this to mean different things. Some have responded, “All lives matter,” while others have answered with, “Police lives matter.” One thing is sure: It has stirred conversation and fostered what Martin Luther King Jr. called “a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” [Read more…]