It is an entirely human yearning to want to get a fresh start. We reinforce the tradition when we prepare our children (if we are able) for the new school year with new clothes, notebooks, and backpacks. The New Year’s tradition celebrates both the ending and the beginning of marked time. We imagine a relatively clean slate, perhaps augmented with new resolutions. This is all to the good; we need to restart somewhere.
Turning the page on the New Year, however, does not negate the theme – the narrative – of the book. We are the same now, as we were moments ago in 2019. The challenges to our state, our republic, and our form of democracy meet us on this side of the calendar. As we look back and then ahead, we are eager to see a positive curve to the long arc of the moral universe bending toward justice. No fair peeking ahead to see how the continuing narrative of 2020 comes out.
Be assured but not comforted that the arc is a positive one, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, quoting our Theodore Parker. Our journey toward justice will never end. Each stride we take moves us forward together.
As we look ahead, the HKonJ march on Saturday, February 8 will be a major 2020 event. Congregations and partner organizations are already reserving buses. We will also be moving ahead with Forward Together Action Teams composed of UUs around our state to form plans of understanding, implementation, action, and advocacy. These new Teams are: Voting Rights and Democracy, Gun Violence and Safety, Immigrant and Refugee Justice, and Environmental and Climate Justice. If you or your congregational group would like to join any of these teams in a major or minor way, contact Rev. John Saxon at RevJohn@UUForwardTogether.org. The mission of each Action Team is vital to our future. Join us for information, inspiration, and sharing your passion and knowledge.
Read UUA President Susan Federick-Gray’s message in the winter edition of the UU World. She warned that in these difficult and dangerous times, bold spiritual imagination and audacious leaders and communities are needed to show a new way forward during these next eleven months away from the most critical election in our lifetimes. She raised the flag of our UU values of interdependence, democracy, human worth and dignity, the richness of pluralism and diversity, and the inborn right of all peoples to self-determination and agency. She urges us to join in our Association’s new electoral organizing campaign: “UU the Vote” (uua.org/UUtheVote). She urges us not only to be the people who show up, but also the people who get others to show up.
We have turned the page to the next 2020 chapter. Same book. Same plot. Largely, the same characters. You know what else is the same? Each of us is in this book, too. We are in each paragraph, moving the narrative forward. We are also authors. How will we write our part of the 2020 story?
Bend the arc!
Doug Rhodes, President
UU Justice Ministry of North Carolina