Articles, Reflections, & Announcements

 

Share the Plate: UUSC Emergency Response Fund for Haiti

By Steve Urse

Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC (the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice.

UUSC is raising money for its emergency fund to support grassroots community groups in Haiti responding to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on August 14. Help UUSC get resources to these grassroots organizations by making a gift to their Emergency Response Fund via this Sunday’s Share the Plate. Many of these groups have partnered with UUSC for more than a decade. UUSC’s work in Haiti will focus on long-term relief and recovery.

As with any human-made or natural disaster, UUSC recognizes that response and recovery efforts—while vital to helping the nation rebuild—will inevitably expose inequities that impact certain populations that are already experiencing injustice. Women, children, people living with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, the houseless, and indigent people—communities already dealing with myriad forms of oppression—will undoubtedly experience a lack of access to vital resources and services in the coming days, weeks, and months. As with any ecological disaster UUSC will first listen to understand the impacts on the ground—both in the short and long terms.

Rev. Margalie Belizaire, the 1st Unitarian Church of Orlando’s new settled minister who is of Haitian descent, was asked what charitable organization she recommended to help Haitians. Her answer was UUSC.

(Note: Most of this article is taken from an 8/14/21statement by UUSC.)


It Takes a Village… or Five Committed Churches

By Carolyn Pardue

The number of families needing the dry goods/produce/bread provided by Manna churches, has increased. Before the pandemic, Manna averaged 160 families a month. Families now regularly depending on Manna (no question asked/no names taken) average 200 families each month. Our highest monthly recipients to date was 225; last month was 215.

Expanding the Provisions supplied through Manna

Manna is flowing, not from Heaven in this case, but from the members of Manna churches:  Faith Presbyterian, St. Paul’s United Methodist, UUCT, Grace Lutheran, and St. Stephens Lutheran. Manna churches and their members have upped their financial contributions this past 18 months. Manna is in the exciting position of being able to increase the items in the dry good bags, increase the types and amounts of produce, and increase the number and types of items on the Choice table each month.

Manna recipients were surveyed over the past two months to see what items, added to Manna grocery bags, would be most helpful. Using their responses, an initial plan will be implemented this month:  Items, such as 48oz bottles of canola oil, 4 pound bags of sugar, and toiletries (toothbrushes/ paste and body soap) will rotate through every bag (200) on 2-3 month intervals. Additional items will be added each month as well as more “seasonal” items. During the holidays, holiday items such as stuffing, pie fillings (and crust mixes), cookie mixes, etc. will be included in every bag.

The Choice Table will also include shelf stable milk, flour, some items for baking (baking soda/powder), spices, etc. Some of the staple fresh fruits/vegetables that are in the produce bags will also be at the Choice Table for those larger families.  Choices will also include limited supplies of specialty vegetables (eggplant, peppers, greens).

Volunteers are  ‘bundling’ items that could make a meal or part of a meal.  For example  a recipient could select a bundle that might have taco seasoning, taco sauce, refried beans – the beginnings of a meal. There may be breakfast bundles that might include oatmeal, breakfast bars and a carton of shelf stable milk. A toiletry bundle could include sanitizer, soap, shampoo, etc.  The bundles are dependent upon donations (goods and financial) from member churches.

Maintaining the Expansion will continue to depend on church members. Manna does not participate in Second Harvest (which is a wonderful and vital resource in this community). From its inception, Manna felt there needed to be a place where people could go for staples and not have to provide personal or financial information. So every item that is provided through Manna is because a person donated the item or donated the money to purchase the item. To keep Manna going, that support has to continue.

The volunteers from the five member churches are excited about the expansion and are, at the same time, looking for some additional volunteer support. Volunteers for Manna do not all work on the same day or time – it depends on the job. If you are interested, contact me (pardue2@comcast.net). If you don’t go out but would like to help (in addition to financially) I am happy to bring bags to be doubled and teach you the “easy” way. There is a job with your name on it.

Manna provides recipients food for one’s body, working with Manna provides food for one’s spirit. Manna distribution day (3rd Saturday of the month 7:30am-10:30am) is a very happy day for recipients and for volunteers. Thank you for making it so.

 


Equity – The Case for D.C. Statehood

By Ed Oaksford

Washington, D.C., is the only national capital in the democratic world whose citizens do not have equal voting and representation rights. The denial of representation is and overt act of voter suppression with racist roots in the Reconstruction. The district’s more than 700,000 residents – the majority of whom are Black and Brown – are still being denied those rights 150 years later despite paying more federal taxes per capita than any state. In the past year alone, D.C. residents did not have full representation for key decisions on the city’s local response to COVID-19, ongoing protests, and the insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol.

Here’s the history behind this glaring example of voter suppression:

1. In 1867, Congress granted all adult citizens of the district, including Black men, the right to vote. The bill – along with an increase in D.C.’s Black population from 19% in 1860 to 33% in 1870 – granted historic electoral power to Black Washingtonians.

2. Congress replaced D.C.’s territorial government with three commissioners appointed by the president in 1874, disenfranchising a politically active Black community. Self-governance didn’t return until a hundred years later when the Home Rule Act allowed D.C residents to elect a mayor and city council.

3. The Voting Rights Amendment of 1978 would have granted the district full voting representation in Congress but failed to receive enough state support for adoption. Today Congress still exercises authoritarian rule over the district and its residents.

4. All D.C. legislation must go through congressional review before taking effect, and Congress regularly blocks the district from using its own local tax dollars to provide social services, including abortion coverage for individuals enrolled in Medicaid, something all other states are free to do.

5. In 2016 alone, there were 25 attempts by Congress to overturn or change local D.C. laws. That same year almost 86 percent of D.C voters supported statehood in a referendum to end the disenfranchisement of a majority Black jurisdiction.

6. In April 2021, the House passed H.R. 51, granting D.C. congressional representation as the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth. Now the matter moves to the Senate.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Get involved with the Unitarian Universalist for Social Justice’s (UUSJ) efforts to pass the “Washington D.C. Admission Act” by visiting https://bit.ly/2WpxPBI . Urge your senators to support the creation of the 51st state by visiting ACLU DC Statehood.


STARTS SUNDAY!

Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit 2021

By Ed Oaksford

Interfaith Power and Light has invited us to join in Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit 2021. Join Faith in Place September 12-14th for a 3-night virtual, immersive, and interactive journey into healing.

9-12-2021 from 4:00pm to 5:15pm

9-13-2021 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and 6:00pm to 7:00pm

9-14-2021 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, 5:30pm to 6:30pm, and 7:00pm to 7:30pm

During this summit, we will explore ways to heal our connection with our land, body, mind, spirit, and community. From walking through vividly green wetlands in Shawnee National Forest, to touring a farm, and gathering in a racial healing circle, this virtual Summit will honor our interconnectedness and inspire our environmental work through healing.

Free Registration at: https://www.greenteamsummit.org/2021-registration


Ongoing Need for Volunteers!

Kearney Center Meal Service and Preparation Volunteers Needed

By Janet Temkin

If you and your family are looking for a way to give back to our community, the Kearney Center can use your help.

UUCT has signed up to prep and serve lunches on the first, third and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Kearney Center. We will be assisting with dinners on the second Monday of each month. 4-5 volunteers are needed at each mealtime.

Meal prep is a fun way to connect with others and help our vulnerable homeless population at the same time.

You can easily sign up to volunteer using the link below:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E084AADA72AA5FD0-kearney

Kathryn  Schroeder is now our UUCT coordinator.  Please email Kathryn at 10kmanglin@gmail.com for more information.