[While the Rev. Heather Christensen, the Interdependent Web’s resident curator, is on maternity leave, the Interdependent Web will feature a variety of guest bloggers, some of whom will highlight Unitarian Universalist use of specific online platforms, such as today’s focus on Twitter. —Editors]
Many of the most vibrant theological and Unitarian Universalist-based conversation—and racial justice organizing—happens online, especially on Twitter and Facebook. My good friend Brian Hubbard, when asked how people could connect with Black Lives Matter if they weren’t on Twitter, responded, “By getting on Twitter.”
When something happens—an unarmed person of color is killed, or a documentary comes out like PBS and Ken Burns’s Defying the Nazis, which profiled Martha and Waitstill Sharp, the Unitarians who risked their lives to assist Jews and others at risk from Nazi Germany, UUs and others turn to Twitter to react in real time, dive into conversations, and read perspectives beyond their own.
#SharpsWarPBS trended (meaning it was among the most tweeted-about events of the night) as Defying the Nazis first aired on PBS September 20th. Full of pride for the Sharps’ actions, UUs from across the world joined others in expressing their thoughts through the medium. The Rev. Debra Haffner (@RevDebra), from Reston, Virginia, was among them:
As was UUA Southern Region staff member the Rev. Dawn Cooley (@DawnCooley), who marveled at parents who sent their children with the Sharps:
Clicking on hashtags like #SharpsWarPBS make it easy to follow conversations as they unfold. The Standing on the Side of Love office and organizers from the Black Lives of UU (BLUU) leadership collective took advantage of hashtags to host a “twitter chat,” or an arranged time when users gather on the site to hold a conversation, called “#ReviveLove.” In it, UU leaders Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac), Standing of the Side of Love director Caitlin Breedlove (@BreedloveCai), and others combined to talk for an hour about the spiritual and communal practices that sustain them in racial and gender justice organizing.
The Twitter chat doubled as a way to advertise for the #ReviveLove tour, a multi-city effort bringing together musicians Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost and Jay-Marie Hill with organizers like Mac and Breedlove for stops designed to provide spiritual sustenance and “fortification” to activists from New Orleans, Atlanta, and more.
Lena K. Gardner, a UU from Minneapolis and leader in the BLUU collective, tweeted as part of the chat:
Gardner “tagged” the Standing on the Side of Love (SOSOL) office Twitter account (@SideofLove). Following SOSOL, the UUA office (@UUA), and our own UU World (@UUWorld) accounts are a great way to get started in the world of UU Twitter. From there, finding ministers, activists, lay leaders, and others through searches, retweets (think Facebook shares), and asking around is a bit of a task at first, but will bring outstanding content and conversation right to your computer or mobile device.