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Racism and the Criminal Justice System

By Jon Sievert

At this week’s Sunday service, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel marks the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday focused on the racism of today, especially in the criminal justice system of the United States.

UU Service
“Racism and the Criminal Justice System”
By Rev. Tom Rosiello
Sun, Jan 18, 10:30am
Hotel Posada La Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15

Nearly 52 years ago, Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech calling for the end of racism in the United States. This speech was a defining moment in the civil rights movement that was followed by marches and protests that led to the passage of legislation that banned all manner of discrimination based on race. Now, two generations later, we must ask ourselves “What happened to the dream of Dr. King?” Yes, we have a black president of the United States, but we are far from being a society free from racism. The US court and prison systems, in the words of author Michelle Alexander, are the “New Jim Crow.”

Out on the streets, the recent killings of unarmed black men and boys by police, and the grand jury’s failure to return indictments in these cases, have sparked a new wave of marches and protests that have focused our attention again on racial injustice. It seems we are at another of the raw pivotal moments in the civil rights movement that causes us all to examine our own hearts and commit anew to a recognition of the equal and inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Our guest preacher is the Rev. Tom Rosiello, minister of the First Parish of Stow & Action Unitarian Universalist Church in Stow, Massachusetts. Rev. Rosiello has a unique perspective on these issues from his ministry and work with the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, which serves a largely black community in Boston, and nearly 20 years in the criminal justice system as an Assistant District Attorney and a criminal defense lawyer.

Music for this service is provided by the highly acclaimed pianist Malcolm Halliday and features his inspiring arrangements of spirituals by black composers and hymns and songs of the civil rights movement.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at La Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15 and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Visitors are invited to attend the service and then join the UUs for coffee and snacks afterwards. The room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at


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