For a week, we have been processing the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. There has been a lot going on. It has been a rapidly moving situation. There are sorts of layers to the story. A lot of what has been going on has been on social media. It has been an occasion for many people to learn, re-think, and teach.
Let me ask Unitarian Universalist ministers and lay-leaders to assess their roles as community faith leaders over the last week.
1. Were you active on social media at all?
2. Did you read about Michael Brown and Ferguson on social media?
3. How did you participate in the information flow about Michael Brown and Ferguson?
4. Did you read?
5. Did you "like" some of the things that you read?
6. Did you "share' some of the things you read with people in your network?
7. Did you "share" information and analyses from writers and organizations of people of color to your network?
7. Did you make comments yourself?
8. Did you respond to invitations to actual events that you heard about through social media?
9. Did you invite others to actual events either through social media or other channels?
10. How many friends and followers do you on social media channels? How far do you reach?
11. Was your church/congregation providing information about Michael Brown and Ferguson through its social media channels.
Unitarian Universalism is more than the couple of hundred thousand people who belong to our churches and congregations. We know that there are several hundred thousand more who self-identify as UU, but are not in congregations at this time. We are parts of a huge number of other networks: organizations, social movements, families, neighborhoods, communities, co-workers, professional organizations, personal interest groups and fans. Many UU's are opinion leaders for many other people.
|Our combined networks include a huge number of people.|
My hope and vision is that Unitarian Universalists will build on our presence in social media, becoming a point of connection between what is going on and our individual networks of friends and families and others. We can especially play a positive role if we seek out and pass along the perspectives of those who do not often get an audience in the mainstream media: the voices of the marginalized and the more radical. We need to think of ourselves a potential opinion leaders.
Finally, I don't think that what I am advocating for is "evangelism". It's not promoting Unitarian Universalism, except by example and influence. Instead, it's offering leadership and being of service to others by offering relevant information and ways to become connected to the issues of our times.