As many of you have heard, our NCNC kin at Loomis Basin UCC have been the targets of a horrific campaign of hate because of their support and love for LGBTQ+ youth. Our hearts are broken to know that Pastor Casey Martinez-Tinnin has been specifically targeted by a deliberate misinformation campaign and both he and the church have been threatened with violence. What’s more, the life-saving space that was being created to nurture the flourishing of these amazing queer youth has become a target of fearmongering hostility. People of good will from all over the Conference have reached out to learn how they can help, and we yearn for some way of turning our heartache, anger, and conviction into action, without burdening the already-hurting and capacity-stretched community.
One of the lessons our Christian tradition teaches us is that moments of crisis, struggle and disruption can serve to catalyze movements. On Good Friday and Easter, we remember how a moment of life-ending violence became an uprising of disciples who refused to let death have the last word, continually inviting others to become part of the story of resurrection. On Pentecost, we celebrate the way that one moment of spiritual outpouring became a movement of fierce, expansive love and compassionate, prophetic resistance that would continue for centuries. So how might the Spirit be calling to us in this moment of violence toward one of our sibling communities to grow a movement?
Movement elder Grace Lee Boggs reminds us that every effective movement requires lots of different strategies and multiple entry points so that lots of different people can become involved and invested. These strategies include the local and immediate, as well as the long-term and systemic. This moment calls for no less from us, if we are to grow a movement of loving resistance to the hateful violence being aimed at so many of our marginalized communities. So here are some ways you and your communities might turn your empathy into action and grow the justice-doing, kindness-loving, humble-walking Jesus movement:
- Offer direct support to the most impacted communities in the ways they have asked.
- Lift prayers for Loomis Basin United Church of Christ and their Pastors Casey Martinez-Tinnin.
- Join their letter writing campaign raising voices of support to the Town Council and School Board
- Share their Press Release on your own social media to get truth out about what is really happening
- Help them fight back against hate by donating to the FIGHT BACK Fund to cover security, safety, and legal costs and share with others on your social media to help raise funds among your network.
- Build your own capacities and just-practices for the long-term struggle.
- Learn how to keep your community safe from bad-faith disrupters with Prayer and Preparation: An Introduction to Rapid Response and Embodiment Practices when disruptors come to your public LGBTQ-affirming spaces (free online course from UCC’s Frontline Faith)
- Develop your own community safety plan with Community Safety 4 All Toolkit from SURJ-Faith
- Get more comfortable with intervening in moments of harm or harassment with a free Bystander Intervention or De-escalation training from Right to Be
- Connect to organizations already engaged in the work and deepen your practice of solidarity.
- Connect to resources and initiatives from the national setting of the UCC to support trans, queer and nonbinary folks who are under legislative and cultural attack right now including these Transgender, GNC and Nonbinary resources (video campaign, worship resources, talking points, etc.)
- Expand your welcome with the TransAction Study Guide and other trans inclusion resources from the ONA Coalition
- Use tools to assess your practices and find areas for growth, like: Is Your Faith Community Safe for Trans folks panel, 52 Ways to expand your welcome of LGBTQ+ People and other resources from the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion
This particular moment offers us unique opportunities to cultivate intersectional movements with healing and repair at the center, as we build on the revolutionary work of our freedom-making ancestors and align with the movement of the Spirit toward justice. How will you follow the call of this moment to build a movement?