The work of unravelling racism takes time and happens on many levels.  Justice requires systemic changes to our criminal justice system, symbolic shifts like taking down the Confederate flag, building community coalitions and more.  The unraveling happens on an individual level, as well.  Every time that we kindly but persistently call our racist Uncle so-and-so on outrageous comments, we are doing the work.  Every time we examine our own heart and expand our awareness of the ways racism has shaped us, we are doing the work.

We are making progress these days.  Policies are shifting and hearts are opening.  Sadly, one of the ways we know this is that the backlash has been horrific.  Nine religious leaders were killed at a prayer meeting in Charlestown, SC.  At least seven historically black churches in the South have been set afire.

It’s no coincidence that the black church has borne the brunt of the backlash.  It has historically been a center of resilience and resistance in the black community.  People of faith and people of conscience are called to stand, now, in solidarity and support of these black churches.

Letters of condolence can be mailed to Mother Emmanuel AME church in Charleston (the address is Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 110 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 2940).  A fund has been organized to support the rebuilding of the churches that have been burned down (donate online at or send a check to Rebuild the Churches, c/o Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103).

Let’s show the world that here in the Palouse, Black Lives Matter.  Let’s work together to unravel racism.  We build the beloved community one act of compassion at a time.

Rev. Elizabeth Stevens, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse

Moscow, ID