1 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:16,006 2 00:00:16,006 --> 00:00:16,880 Halley Norman: Hello. 3 00:00:16,880 --> 00:00:18,620 My name is Halley Norman. 4 00:00:18,620 --> 00:00:20,180 I'm from Seattle, Washington. 5 00:00:20,180 --> 00:00:24,500 I attend the University Unitarian Church. 6 00:00:24,500 --> 00:00:28,210 On June 17 when Dylann Roof shot nine innocent people 7 00:00:28,210 --> 00:00:30,560 at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, 8 00:00:30,560 --> 00:00:33,080 I questioned someone's inherent worth and dignity 9 00:00:33,080 --> 00:00:36,650 for the first time in my life. 10 00:00:36,650 --> 00:00:39,610 He deemed it to be his decision as to whether they 11 00:00:39,610 --> 00:00:41,820 should live or die. 12 00:00:41,820 --> 00:00:45,260 He sat with them in Bible study for an hour. 13 00:00:45,260 --> 00:00:48,290 He witnessed their humanity, took part in their lives, 14 00:00:48,290 --> 00:00:51,870 and still deemed it his right to decide. 15 00:00:51,870 --> 00:00:55,200 No one in our world has the right to make that decision. 16 00:00:55,200 --> 00:00:57,790 And the realization that people truly believe they do 17 00:00:57,790 --> 00:01:00,480 terrifies me. 18 00:01:00,480 --> 00:01:03,860 He deemed it to be his right to decide when they should die 19 00:01:03,860 --> 00:01:06,440 and his duty to make that happen. 20 00:01:06,440 --> 00:01:11,510 And so I doubted. 21 00:01:11,510 --> 00:01:14,140 Our first Principle calls us to see the inherent worth 22 00:01:14,140 --> 00:01:16,020 and dignity in every person. 23 00:01:16,020 --> 00:01:19,520 But that requires that we connect to every person, 24 00:01:19,520 --> 00:01:22,270 that we see something good, right, and true within them 25 00:01:22,270 --> 00:01:24,910 that outweighs the bad. 26 00:01:24,910 --> 00:01:28,670 I try my best to live the seven Principles. 27 00:01:28,670 --> 00:01:33,200 In instances like this, though, I don't want to. 28 00:01:33,200 --> 00:01:35,850 I don't want to connect with Dylann Roof, 29 00:01:35,850 --> 00:01:38,210 with mass murderers and school shooters who 30 00:01:38,210 --> 00:01:40,540 deem it their right to decide who should live and die 31 00:01:40,540 --> 00:01:44,810 because I never want any part of that in me. 32 00:01:44,810 --> 00:01:47,200 There's nothing in him that could, for me, outweigh 33 00:01:47,200 --> 00:01:49,190 his actions. 34 00:01:49,190 --> 00:01:52,260 But feeling this scares me. 35 00:01:52,260 --> 00:01:56,390 It makes me wonder if I can feel this way about him, 36 00:01:56,390 --> 00:01:59,710 will I feel this way about others? 37 00:01:59,710 --> 00:02:02,180 Will I really be able to reflect the first Principle 38 00:02:02,180 --> 00:02:05,300 into all my actions, into all my interactions, 39 00:02:05,300 --> 00:02:09,370 onto everyone I meet? 40 00:02:09,370 --> 00:02:11,950 I wish that I could see his inherent worth and dignity 41 00:02:11,950 --> 00:02:14,000 just a little. 42 00:02:14,000 --> 00:02:16,650 It would make my life easier, make 43 00:02:16,650 --> 00:02:20,700 me feel safer in knowing who I am, knowing what I believe in 44 00:02:20,700 --> 00:02:24,140 and who I want to be, comfort me in knowing 45 00:02:24,140 --> 00:02:29,230 that I'm truly living the values I so strongly believe in. 46 00:02:29,230 --> 00:02:31,570 But I don't believe it's there. 47 00:02:31,570 --> 00:02:34,642 I can't, because that would mean that if it were-- 48 00:02:34,642 --> 00:02:36,520 if it were there under everything 49 00:02:36,520 --> 00:02:38,920 else-- that our inherent worth and dignity does not 50 00:02:38,920 --> 00:02:41,270 have the power with which I credit it, 51 00:02:41,270 --> 00:02:44,010 the power to teach us a good from evil, right from wrong. 52 00:02:44,010 --> 00:02:46,590 And I need to believe that. 53 00:02:46,590 --> 00:02:48,840 I need to believe in the power of our inherent worth 54 00:02:48,840 --> 00:02:52,040 and dignity to help us be who we need to be because if not, 55 00:02:52,040 --> 00:02:57,420 I'll lose faith in a better future. 56 00:02:57,420 --> 00:02:59,300 I don't want to connect with Dylann Roof, 57 00:02:59,300 --> 00:03:01,520 but at the same time, I know our connections 58 00:03:01,520 --> 00:03:04,770 change our perspectives. 59 00:03:04,770 --> 00:03:07,420 I don't question the first Principle easily, though, 60 00:03:07,420 --> 00:03:09,300 so when I hear my token crazy uncle 61 00:03:09,300 --> 00:03:12,790 saying something racist, sexist, homophobic, or just generally 62 00:03:12,790 --> 00:03:15,980 offensive, I don't question his inherent worth and dignity 63 00:03:15,980 --> 00:03:18,120 because I know him. 64 00:03:18,120 --> 00:03:20,470 I know he'd never act on his beliefs. 65 00:03:20,470 --> 00:03:24,030 And I've seen him change. 66 00:03:24,030 --> 00:03:26,690 But I can't believe that for Dylann Roof, 67 00:03:26,690 --> 00:03:28,820 for people who see it as their right 68 00:03:28,820 --> 00:03:30,400 to take the life of another. 69 00:03:30,400 --> 00:03:35,640 Because above all else, I hold human life as sacred. 70 00:03:35,640 --> 00:03:41,010 Our theology tells us that all souls are sacred and worthy. 71 00:03:41,010 --> 00:03:47,600 If you can't see that, I don't want to connect with you. 72 00:03:47,600 --> 00:03:49,290 I won't forget the reaction I had 73 00:03:49,290 --> 00:03:54,800 to hearing about Charleston, but I will move forward. 74 00:03:54,800 --> 00:03:57,060 I'll fight for equality, for racial justice, 75 00:03:57,060 --> 00:03:59,720 for reproductive justice, to fix the myriad flaws 76 00:03:59,720 --> 00:04:02,570 in our country. 77 00:04:02,570 --> 00:04:06,860 We know how to live the first Principle already. 78 00:04:06,860 --> 00:04:10,160 Now it's our turn to take that knowledge out into the world, 79 00:04:10,160 --> 00:04:13,360 to teach even the most hateful people that everyone 80 00:04:13,360 --> 00:04:17,430 has inherent worth and dignity, and to teach each other 81 00:04:17,430 --> 00:04:20,760 to maybe try a little harder. 82 00:04:20,760 --> 00:04:22,509 Thank you. 83 00:04:22,509 --> 00:04:30,486