More than thirty UUs from multiple congregations across New Jersey joined our “crisis call” Tuesday, July 26. Following the ongoing police violence against people of color, and the beginning of a violent backlash against police officers, the UU Legislative Ministry called for a faith-rooted policing initiative deeply rooted in our UU commitment to justice, equity and a desire to end the structural effects of 250 years of racism. Participants included mothers of police officers, Legislative Ministry task forces chairs, ministers and congregants from Summit, Montclair, Monmouth County, Palisades, Princeton, Washington Crossing, Morristown, Ridgewood, Paramus, Somerset Hills, Hunterdon County, and Plainfield.
Callers shared ideas that ranged from minority law enforcement hires in municipalities and more cultural training opportunities for police, to showing up when events and rallies are planned and moving forward with legislation with a racial justice impact. Many want to reach out to Black Lives Matter organizers and other racial justice groups to see how we can best support the work they are already doing. Others site the need to don our traditional yellow shirts and show up with love. The sentiment that every caller shared is that something has to change.
We are heartened by this response. We are forming an exploratory Racial Justice and Local Policing group to think about how to move from outrage to local, congregation-based and legislation-supported action.
If you are interested in joining this effort, please be in touch with our Executive Director, Rev. Rob Gregson at ExecDir@UULMNJ.org.
You may also wish to explore some of the following links that were shared on the 26th as additional resources:
Many New Jersey towns will be a part of the National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday, August 2. To find an event near you, visit www.visitnj.org/nj-events/national-night-out-against-crime.
To find out what other congregations are doing to support racial justice, visithttp://uulmnj.org/racial-justice-congregations/
We hope you will join us to help save lives here in New Jersey, and to spread what we learn about local policing and racial justice to other UUs across the country.