BY EILEEN BIRMINGHAM, ON BEHALF OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE COORDINATING TEAM
The Social Justice Coordinating Team brings to our congregation a means for us to join together, in the work of justice. This year we will work for Reparations.
Why now? In 2021, our congregation voted to adopt the 8th Principle, in which we affirmed our commitment to working to build a diverse, multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism. As part of our work, we must confront the enduring history of racial oppression in our state. We join together with other committed partners, including UU Faith Action and the NJ Institute for Social Justice, in a call for justice too long denied.
Why here in New Jersey? It may be surprising to learn that New Jersey has been referred to as the “slave state of the North.” Slavery was incentivized at the state’s founding, and by 1830 over two thirds of enslaved people in the North were living in New Jersey. Even after slavery was abolished in NJ, local, state and federal policy perpetuated a system of inequality and oppression. We are keenly aware that New Jersey is still very much living with this legacy. Not only does New Jersey have one of the largest racial wealth gaps in the nation, we have significant racial gaps in health, education and incarceration. In our youth justice system, Black kids are 21 times more likely to be locked up than white kids, despite committing most offenses at similar rates. This is the highest disparity in America.
This is why it’s time to Say the Word “Reparations.” Reparations can mean many things, from financial dispensation, to systems change, to eliminating harmful laws. At the root of reparations is the act of repair, and now is the time.
What can you do? Join us through action and learning:
· Share your support as a Unitarian Universalist committed to reparations now by signing the UU Faith Action petition: click here
· Join the Common Read, hosted by UU Faith Action: click here
· Attend the Upcoming Reparations Educational Event hosted by the Undoing Racism Committee click here
· Quickly learn more by reading this excellent article from the NJ Institute for Social Justice click here
· Connect with the SJCT to join us for sustained action firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Reparations, including upcoming actions and events, visit our website at https://www.uumontclair.org/reparations-action/