UUJME Statement on “A Vision for Black Lives” Policy Platform

August 10, 2016

http://newpol.org/sites/default/files/imagepicker/1/black-lives-matter-thumb.jpgWe in Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) are excited and inspired by the release of “A Vision for Black Lives”, a platform of demands for policy changes in the United States issued by Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 organizations representing a large cross section of Black Americans.  And we are delighted that our allies in the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective have also endorsed the platform.

The platform demands bold changes in the current systems of laws and practices in the US that contribute to the impoverishment, criminalization, dehumanization, incarceration, disempowerment, and disenfranchisement of Black people in the United States.  Though it is Black Americans who suffer disproportionately under the policies described in the document, we believe the changes envisioned therein will also help liberate, empower, and uplift people of all races, religions, and ethnicities.

UUJME sees “A Vision for Black Lives” as a critical and timely articulation of the problems facing Black people and others in the US and beyond, and we believe the solutions laid out are visionary, ambitious, and transformational, if inevitably challenging in their implementation.

Important as well, UUJME strongly supports the platform’s call for an end to the severe oppression of the Palestinian people by the policies of the Israeli government and its nearly 50-year military occupation of Palestinian land, which is carried out with the massive financial, political, and military support of the US government.  In recognizing the suffering of the Palestinian people, whose own demonization, criminalization, incarceration, and disenfranchisement carry many parallels to the Black American experience, the platform affirms that the common desire for freedom and dignity binds together those locked in long-term struggles against oppression.

We note that some of Israel’s supporters have objected to the platform’s use of the word “genocide” to describe what has been happening to the Palestinian people.  UUJME takes no position on the use of the term, but we recognize the right and responsibility of oppressed groups to describe their oppression as they understand and experience it.  We believe that the precise wording is not nearly as important as the unflinching pronouncement that what is happening to both Palestinians and Black Americans is appalling, inhuman and unacceptable.  The suffering of our Black and Palestinian brothers and sisters must end, and it is the responsibility of all of us to help make that happen.

Please also read the support for and endorsements of A Vision for Black Lives by other allies:

Jewish Voice for Peace

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

If Not Now Boston

Jews of Color Caucus

Rabbi Brant Rosen