I was reading along in our Common Read, An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, feeling my energy sag when I heard the voice in my head saying, “When is this going to be over?” I turned to the back of the book and saw I still had 80 pages to go. It was then that I realized my inner self was not asking when it was that the book would be over, but rather, when will this colonization be over, of indigenous people, African Americans, and other people of color. I hear the anti-war song, Where Have all the Flowers Gone? playing in my mind with the refrain, “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?” and I shake my head sadly.
They (we-Americans and others with advantage) will never learn as long as we practice denial, shielding ourselves from the hard truths of our story, and how we came to be who and how we are. But we can learn. And we can learn to do better.
Four hundred years and six months ago, a ship arrived in Virginia with 20 African people on board, and sold them into slavery, to the British colonists, who had settled there. So began our shameful legacy.
Our country, which has embraced and promoted values we cherish as Unitarian Universalists, also bequeathed us the price of those liberties and values-a refusal to know ourselves, and therefore, an inability to redress what harm it has done. Sometimes moving forward really does require looking back.
February is Black History month in this country, yet we know that black history is our history all year long, as is indigenous history.
I want a faith that can stand up to truth. I want a faith that looks pain and evil in the eye and helps me do the same. I want a faith that says “yes” to life, real life, not just the flowers and the birds.
I think our Unitarian Universalist faith can do that and does it better every day. It is a source of encouragement and resilience.
Let us be open to the truths of our past, with our faith and our compassion to hold and heal.
Join us March 1 to explore together the indigenous people’s story of our country. 12:30 PM in rooms 7&9.