Today, we held a special service at Tree of Life to correspond with our first annual Celebration of Art. The following text was my contribution to the service.
This I believe – that we are born, and that we will die. We live in the dash between those two dates, and what we do with that dash is how we will be remembered by history.
I believe in story, for in story we find commonality. Our commonality is what drives dialogue, and dialogue is what creates change and what changes history. Dialogue today becomes history tomorrow, and commonality creates a community which becomes our future.
I believe that our future is a just future. I believe in the resilience of our unique American experiment, just as my Irish and Roma great-grandparents believed when they fled the persecution of the English. I believe in equality in opportunity, and that opportunity is for everyone.
I believe that justice is not blind, but that the scales are weighted against the marginalized, the oppressed, the outcast. I believe that all those most in need of Her protection are those most ignored by our privilege.
From Chicago to Boston, from Orlando and Minneapolis, from California to New York, from one side of this country to the other, the epidemic of brutality visited upon those most vulnerable to its cruelty is the blood that stains our hands. It is the weight that drags our hearts down, and it is the burden we carry – and it is our obligation to set the scale right. It is our obligation to ensure that the dashes between the dates on granite markers are not forgotten by our common conscience, but rather serve as springboards to action.
I believe that that our strength in purpose is reflected in the work we do to set right those unbalanced scales. I believe this is our call, as humans, as Americans, as Unitarian Universalists. I believe we are made for the work that needs to be done.
I believe that we are more capable of that work that we think we are. I am not disillusioned by politics, by the twenty-four hour news cycle, by the enormity of the work. I am not dissuaded of my belief in a just future because the work may not be completed when my dash becomes a date.
I believe in justice because while all people are created equal, they are not in the eyes of the law. I believe that we are, and must continue to be, the change we wish to see in the world.
I believe in setting the world on fire. I believe in burning it all down. When asked why I thought building anew from the ashes of the old was anything more than an overly optimistic daydream, I responded by asking why justice should not be for all – and not just for those that can afford it.
This I believe – I am a catalyst for justice. That my love for this world can set alight a new flame, a flame that only gets stronger when it is joined to other flames. I believe that we must, together, create the beloved and just communities we sing about. The communities that our creeds promise.
I believe #MeBeforeAbleism. I believe that #BlackLivesMatter. I believe that #TransLivesMatter. I believe we are #IdleNoMore.
I believe that the work starts with me. I believe that the work begins with you. I believe in the work, because the work is good work. Because the work is necessary work.