Letter of invitation from the Social Responsibilities Council
Editor Albany UU | Sep 10, 2020
Engaging in Actions of Immediate Witness
As previously announced, the Social Responsibilities Council (SRC) has been charged with “engaging the congregation in discussion and discernment of the UUA 2020 General Assembly [two] Actions of Immediate Witness for recommendation to the Board regarding a course of action for Albany UU.” AIWs “offer[s] …the opportunity to engage in collective social witness to courageously affirm what is just and good through a statement that demonstrates solidarity with those who are mistreated, or that imagines and articulates social justice or collective liberation” (UUA). We can join with other UU congregations that are also working to move into reflective, informed action. 
These Actions of Immediate Witness are: (#1) Amen to Uprising: A commitment and Call to Action and (#2) 400 Years of White Supremacist Colonialism. You can read them here and here. Our plan is to first begin with Amen to Uprising. In October, following the Sunday service celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, SRC will also address 400 years of White Supremacist Colonialism.
The current UU World (Fall 2020) features an article directly relevant to our discussion of the Action of Immediate Witness #1. It is entitled:  Stop Calling the Police and Start Eradicating Anti-Blackness; it can also be found online by typing the title into Google Search. We would strongly suggest you read this article. In addition, we would also strongly recommend an article from the NYTimes Magazine, Police Reform is Necessary, but how do we do it? https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/13/magazine/police-reform.html
Our hope is, with Rev Sam’s assistance, to create an opportunity for discussion in break-out rooms following the September 20th service. Here are some possible questions to discuss: 
  • Should we detach our Albany UU alarm system from the Albany Police Department (to stop contributing to the anti-Black system of policing) and come up with alternatives for maintaining a safe environment?
  • Is there interest in learning more about what “defunding the police” can mean…for schools, healthcare, housing, and community-centered safety for Black people? 
As we move forward in the church year, SRC will be exploring different ways to inform and converse with you about the AIWs and welcome your suggestions. We look forward to some lively conversations, recognizing from the outset that these are complex topics. You can contact Jean Poppei, Chair of SRC, at poppej@sage.edu or speak to any members of SRC: Mark Abendroth, Lois Bailey, Michael Braunstein, Tanya Hotalen, Karen Kaufmann, Crystal Taylor-Papps, and Ann Von Linden.