UU Ministers of SE Ohio Addressing Attorney General Mike DeWine

Dear Attorney General Mike DeWine,

We are writing to you in the midst of heartbreak and grief this week.

We are heartbroken to learn of the grand jury decisions regarding the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner that have come in recent weeks.  We grieve alongside the families of John Crawford and Tamir Rice, two African Americans who were killed by police officers in our Ohio community. Our community is in need of healing and honest conversations addressing our criminal justice system.   A system that has bred mistrust and been made worse by the history of racial discrimination in our country.  We know these situations are larger than the individuals involved.

In both cases, we are struck by the similarities.  Tamir Rice and John Crawford are both African American.   They are a child and a man who were killed while holding toy weapons in an open-carry state.

We, the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Central and South Ohio, call upon you to ensure that the Task Force to improve community-police relations being created by Governor Kasich includes youth and young adults of color.  This task force needs to include representatives that are directly effected and historically marginalized.

Our faith affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person alongside the interconnectedness of human beings.  As Unitarian Universalist ministers, we desire a process that honors all voices and affirms the dignity of historically marginalized communities and individuals.  We believe black lives matter.

We are listening.  We are watching.   We are seeking authentic change that affirms safety for our communities and for individuals.  We are asking you to join with us in this conversation.

In Faith,

The Reverend Mark Belletini
Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, OH

The Reverend Eric Meter
Associate Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, OH

The Reverend Suzan McCrystal
Affiliated Community Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, OH

The Reverend Kathleen Fowler
Affiliated Community Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, OH

Lane Campbell, M. Div.
Director of Religious Education, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, OH

The Reverend Susan Ritchie
Minister, North Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Lewis Center, OH

The Reverend Mitra Jafarzadeh
Minister, Saint John’s Unitarian Universalist Church, Cincinnati, OH

The Reverend Frank W. Carpenter, D.Min
Minister Emeritus, St. John’s Unitarian Universalist Church,  Cincinnati, OH (Retired)

The Reverend Sharon Dittmar
Minister, The First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati, OH

The Reverend Bill Gupton
Minister, Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church, Cincinnati, OH

David Soliday, M. Div.
Pastor, Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 

The Reverend Mary Moore
Interim Minister, Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Dayton, Ohio

The Reverend Richard Venus
Minister, First Universalist Church of New Madison, OH

The Reverend Lynda Smith
Consulting Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, OH

The Reverend Joan Van Becelaere
District Executive, Ohio-Meadville District of The Unitarian Universalist Association

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