The Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford will hold a ceremony to consecrate and rededicate its Black Lives Matter banner on Sunday, December 10, at 1:00 pm.
The UUCM initially consecrated its Black Lives Matter banner at a ceremony in September, 2015. Last year, in November, 2016, the banner was vandalized and had to be repaired and put back in place in front of the church. Recently, however, the banner has been vandalized on three different occasions: Sometime in early October, 2017, the banner was stolen. It was replaced, but in early November, the banner was taken down, folded up, and hidden in a corner of the church doorway. Replaced again, the banner was again attacked—slashed—sometime during the week of November 10. The banner has again been repaired and is again being displayed in front of the church at 147 High Street, Medford. This is the banner which will be rededicated at the December ceremony.
The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 – 2014 in response to the deaths of Trayvon Martin (Sanford FL), Michael Brown (Ferguson, MO), and Eric Garner (New York City). In affirming that Black lives matter, activists have protested the pattern of deaths of numerous African Americans, whether by police actions, vigilantes, or while in police custody. The overall Black Lives Matter movement today is a decentralized network with no formal hierarchy. But many churches and other organizations have covenanted to display a Black Lives Matter banner as a show of solidarity with the demand for racial justice and for an end to the epidemic of killings. Unitarian Universalists, for example, find support for the BLM slogan in their first two principles which declare support for the inherent worth and dignity of every person and for justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
Speakers at the ceremony will include the church’s minister Rev. Marta Valentín; Meck Groot, Justice Ministries Lead for the New England Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association; and David Concepción, representing the church congregation. Other speakers include Neil Osborne, Diversity Director for the City of Medford; Zane T. Crute, President of the Mystic Valley Area branch of the NAACP; Rev. Otto O’Connor of the First Parish Church of Malden (UU); and Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade from the Medford United Church of Christ/Sanctuary.
The ceremony will begin at 1:00 with speeches and messages of support in the church Sanctuary, 147 High Street, Medford. Members of the congregation, led by Rev. Marta Valentín, will then sanctify, rededicate and raise the new banner bearing their signatures of support.