This week, we learned that offensive graffiti was found yet again in a Needham public school. This is at least the second time in the past year that hateful messages were left in a bathroom stall at Needham High School. Rev. Catie and Roberta are both disturbed by this incident and the ones that preceded it, and denounce hate speech in all its forms, including against Jewish, LGBTQ, and black people. Our Unitarian Universalist values call us to “side with love” and support the leadership, freedom, and equality of historically marginalized communities.
Rev. Catie and Roberta recognize that there will be some of our youth who are interested in talking about the graffiti and some who will be “talked out” discussing it. They also realize that we will not have a moment during our multigenerational Festivals of Light service to acknowledge this incident in worship. Thus, Rev. Catie and Roberta encourage teens, parents, and others in our community to reach out to them directly for individual support and conversation. Rev. Catie also initiated conversation with the rabbis at our town’s synagogues to learn how the Needham Clergy Association can support our Jewish neighbors at this time. We will continue to make our congregation a haven and advocate for those hurting from systemic oppression and individual discrimination.