Vermont Press Releases

Burlington First Unitarian Universalist Society raises Black Lives Matter banner

News Release -- Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington
March 5, 2018

Rev. Mara Dowdall, Senior Minister
Phone: 802-862-5630 (office)

BURLINGTON, Vermont – On Sunday March 4, the First Unitarian Universalist (UU) Society of Burlington raised a Black Lives Matter banner in front of its historic meeting house at the top of Church Street. Over eighty members of the UU community gathered after Sunday services concluded to formally dedicate the banner, joining in a litany of dedication, which included the following words:

“Our faith affirms that each human life is worthy, and that all lives are connected in a single web of humanity. Therefore, we proclaim the truth that Black Lives Matter. And we commit to creating a world that reflects it.”

The banner installation is part of the congregation’s ongoing anti-racism work and reflects the principles of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith. These include honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and promoting and affirming justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. This act of public witness embodies the Society’s core value of love and its visionary goal of using its power as a faith community to work for social justice in the world.

Zoe Hart, Justice and Outreach Lay Lead, commented that “in keeping with our mission to act for justice, we are putting up a Black Lives Matter banner to express our commitment to and support of local racial justice organizations led by people of color and working to dismantle racism in our community.”

The seven-foot-wide banner was installed on the west side of the lawn in front of the iconic meeting house building at 152 Pearl Street. Its warm yellow color and heart logo come from Side with Love, a national Unitarian Universalist grassroots justice campaign. This same color and heart symbol grace the t-shirts and signs that many UU’s across the country wear and carry at public witness marches, parades and events.

Since 2015, more than 160 UU congregations have raised Black Lives Matter banners. The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations voted to support the Black Lives Matter movement in a 2015 Action of Immediate Witness, which states that “No matter who you are, black lives matter, and a system of fair, transformative, and restorative justice that is accountable to communities is something to which each of us has a right. Unitarian Universalists and our greater society have the power to make this happen.”

Regarding the installation, Rev. Mara Dowdall, Senior Minister, said, “As part of our abiding spiritual commitment to build the Beloved Community, we must keep working to dismantle the profound legacy of white supremacy in our nation. Publicly proclaiming the sacred truth that Black Lives Matter is part of that work.”

About the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington: Founded in 1810, the First UU Society’s mission is to inspire spiritual growth, care for each other and our community, seek truth, and act for justice.

First UU is a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (, which covenants to affirm and promote:
• The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

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