From today’s Worship Associate, Aubrey Sassoon before the service on May 31. Posted on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/uusantamonica/)
While our Sunday worship for this morning, Sunday May 31st, will soon be streamed, we thought it important to preface it with this disclaimer: due to the nature of our online worship format many of the components of the service are recorded ahead of time — sometimes by as much as a week — and so when events develop quickly we’re less able to give them the immediate space to process as we might otherwise during an in-person service.
This week has been a hard one, and for none more so than our Black and African-American friends, family, and community members. The threat of violence against Christian Cooper in New York, the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and of Tony McDade in Tallahasee, just to name the recent few, are tragic and enraging and have inspired thousands upon thousands of people across the country and the world to protest the treatment of Black persons, particularly men, in our white-centered culture.
As a leader in our UUSM community and your worship associate this morning I want to take this opportunity to affirm that the violence leveled at these men, and the loss of their lives weighs heavily on our community. To be true friends, allies, accomplices, to the glory of the lives of people in our communities and beyond who are different from us we have to open ourselves bravely to accountability and not perform acts of solidarity simply for social clout, but because they are the right thing to do as we live into the principles of our Unitarian Universalist beliefs.
Some protests, including those here in Los Angeles, have developed elements of what some call rioting or looting. Many are familiar with the quote of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who explained that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” It is an expression of the anger and heartache and loss and trauma of generations after generations of people who have been told that their pain is lesser and their futures are not their own to build, and that to protest or resist this will never be acceptable. As a white individual I have not grown up with this burden, nor have my brother or sister or mother or father. I cannot comprehend, nor will I ever, the full extent to which that affects a person, and so I refuse to be the judge of how anyone responds when that pain is prodded to the surface.
In our own church we will be working to build space for those who are most directly affected as they process these events and aspects of our community and society.
As I sit here this Saturday night, unsure still what changes may come in the morning as a city-wide curfew has come into place, I hope the worship we present to you can still bring solace and support to any who need it.
I am glad that you are here.
—Aubrey Sassoon, Worship Associate