The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued this statement on the George Zimmerman trial verdict:
A Florida jury has acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager. It is hard to imagine that if an unarmed white teenager had been shot and killed by an African American man that the verdict would have been the same. The legal system has had its say, but justice has not been served. As we search for meaning in the wake of these events, I remember the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
At this year’s General Assembly, delegates approved an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) condemning racist mistreatment of young people of color by police. The AIW stems from the work of author Michelle Alexander whose book The New Jim Crow describes the institutional racism behind the mass incarceration of people of color. The resolution calls on congregations to condemn the pattern of mistreatment of people of color through practices such as “stop and frisk” by police. It asks congregations to work with other congregations and other groups to stop this practice.
As president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, an institution committed to anti-racism and anti-oppression, I am committed to partnering with our congregations to put this work into action. We must respond to our society’s violence, hatred, and fear with compassion and justice. It has always been a matter of life and death. It always will be.