• Social Justice Council News, July 2017

    Please mark your calendars for Friday, July 21st, for the City-wide RICHMOND CEASEFIRE WALK!! Join us at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church to start the walk — or at any other stop along the way! The East Bay Center for Performing Arts Band will salsa with us throughout the evening! ALL ages are welcome! See www.facebook.com/RichmondCeasefireWalks.

    Sharing Experiences: At our June meeting, Beth Jerde asked for comments from Social Justice Council (SJC) members about their experiences meeting/speaking with our Muslim neighbors at the “Dine and Dialogue with Our Muslim Neighbors Dinner.” Members said they were pleased to meet the Muslim attendees and found them interesting and interested. One loved the diversity of the people she met. Another spoke of earlier biases developed from cartoons seen as a child that denigrated people from Arab countries. The presentation about Islam was said to be informative, and hearing the sound of their call to worship was breathtaking. Other SJC members said that working with people preparing the dinner was fun and equalizing. Several participants spoke of being warmly welcomed as they visit mosques. One person liked that the Muslim Mission holds its sermons in English. Several SJC members went to an Iftar event at the Islamic Cultural Center, among people so warm and friendly Kelly smiled at meeting a young man who was both nonjudgmental and a Trump supporter! The possibility of an interfaith potluck later this year is being considered.

    UUCB members have gone to Martinez twice and once to Sacramento to stand up against the jail expansion that Contra Costa County Sheriff Livingston supports. The most recent trip, June 20th, was to demand an analysis of the budget. That day, some 15 UUCB members went to the Board of Supervisors meeting, and at least five spoke.  But all our efforts (and those of likely over 100 other people) were for naught. John Gioia was the only Supervisor to vote against the jail expansion.

    The Good Neighbor for May, Planting Justice, received $1,944.77 from the Sunday collection.

    The June 4th meeting of the Literature, Film & Drama Contingent (LFDC) of the Social Justice Council was an afternoon of insights and good vibes! Susan Lankford led the discussion of White Trash: The 400-Year History of Class in America. Julie Rogers and Ralph Nelson demonstrated the “Fishbowl Exercise” that the LFDC will create for ourselves around the issue of “class” in August. For the meeting on July 2nd, we will read Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving. Anna Fisher will facilitate the discussion. We meet from 12:30 to 2:30 in the Fireside Room. Contact: Camille Parker.

    Other Social Justice Opportunities and Information

    Ceasefire Walks: Friday nights in Richmond at 7 — contact Jane Eisenstark for carpooling.

    GRIP: UUCB volunteers prepare and serve lunch to hungry and homeless people at the GRIP Souper Center in Richmond on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Want to volunteer? Contact Ray Westergard. To help with supper at GRIP on fourth Saturdays, contact Ariel Smith-Iyer.

    Read-Aloud: Volunteers needed for next school year to read aloud at local elementary schools in Richmond and San Pablo. Contact Judy Sam.

  • Social Justice Council News, June 2017

    The Social Justice Council has elected a new leadership team for the upcoming church year. Co-chairs are Nancy Kelly and Beth Jerde. Co-Treasurers are Lorraine Schnurr and Barbara Weisman. Secretary is Sheldon Jones. Social Justice Sunday table coordinators are Jim Acock and Susan Blair. Dorothy Herzberg will coordinate the Good Neighbor work.

    Our June potluck and meeting will be on Sunday, June 11, 6 pm. All are welcome.

    We plan to offer additional workshops in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in August and September.

    In September and October a series of workshops and caucuses are planned to address the issues of race and white supremacy brought up in the May 7 service, “Whose Faith Is It?”

    LFDC (Literature, Film and Drama Contingent of the Confronting Racism Project) was pleased to be part of the very special service on May 7: “Whose Faith Is It?,” concerning white supremacy, and how UUCB might want to ensure that all truly feel welcome on the hill. LFDC member Helen Tinsley-Jones added her very personal and moving story to those of UUCB choir members Rod Lowe and Dayana Claghorn. Following the service, we offered our meeting time for a “talk-back” session. Rev. Jay Atkinson lit the chalice and Lonnie Moseley facilitated a discussion of some of the written responses from congregants to questions posed during the service.

    Our book selection for June 4: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, by Nancy Isenberg. And for July 2: Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving. (FYI: If you missed it, the movie Get Out is now streaming on Amazon and iTunes.)

    Other Social Justice Opportunities and Information

    Ceasefire Walks: Friday nights in Richmond at 7, contact maw.jane@gmail.com.

    GRIP: UUCB volunteers prepare and serve lunch to hungry and homeless people at the GRIP Souper Center in Richmond on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Want to volunteer? raywest2@sbcglobal.net. To help with supper at GRIP on fourth Saturdays, contact arielwest@yahoo.com.

    Read-Aloud: Volunteers needed for next school year to read aloud at local elementary schools in Richmond and San Pablo. Contact Judy Sam at jssam47@yahoo.com.

  • Social Justice News, May 2017

    Social Justice Council April 12th Potluck/Meeting: Two Social Justice Sponsored Project Applications will go before the May Congregational meeting for a vote. (1) Resisting Oppression – Project Leader (Nancy) “Kelly.” The objective is “Standing with marginalized local communities targeted due to race, ethnicity, religion, poverty, class, sexual orientation or gender identity.” $1,500 requested. As the issue of Unjust Deportations of Immigrants: Sanctuary as Love of Neighbor is aligned with the Resisting Oppression Project, they will be submitted as one Project. Elisabeth Jay will lead the part specific to immigrants. Amount requested $2,000 (“flexible”). There are three opportunities to “do” sanctuary in addition to physically housing: accompaniment, advocacy and participation in Rapid Response. (2) Green Sanctuary Program – The UUA Green Sanctuary Program provides a path for congregational study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges. Project Leader Mark Miner. Amount suggested $1,000.

    UUA Practices & May 7th Service & White Supremacy Teach In – Lonnie Moseley, Rev. Christian Schmidt and Helen Tinsley-Jones: Lonnie expressed confidence in the UUCB community and our ministers in particular for taking UUCB’s inclusiveness and confronting racism to even more meaningful levels. Rev. Christian and Helen explained the recent controversy at UUA that led to the resignation of President Rev. Peter Morales, including long-term lack of diversity on the UUA governing board, failure to use a recent hiring opportunity to begin to remedy that issue, and subsequent insensitive speech in the President’s memo in response to challenges. Revs. Christian and Kristin are organizing at UUCB to implement the Black Lives UU challenge to conduct anti-racism teach-ins around these issues on May 7th and asked the SJC for support. At the UUA, until a permanent president is selected, there are three co-presidents, all persons of color. Helen, through her personal story, conveyed the accepting and supportive nature of the UUCB congregation for herself as a person of color. In addition, she called on the SJC to support programs that would solicit and support the voices of UUCB congregants of color and create structures for deep conversations among congregants of color as well as within the church as a whole.

    Dine and Dialogue with our Muslim Neighbors, May 20.  Dinner will be prepared by Muslims for Peace, assisted by UUCBers. The purpose of this dinner is to bring UUCBers together with our Muslim neighbors from the Masjid Al-Raham in Richmond, cook side-by-side; sit down and dine and dialogue side-by-side; and pray side-by-side. Through this process, we will learn from our Muslim neighbors about their religion, culture and beliefs, and we will share ours. Hopefully, bridges will be built and there will be on-going interactions between the two communities. This event is sponsored by the UUCB World Peace Committee and the Social Justice Council. There will be a collection to benefit GRIP Souper Center. RSVP by May 12th here. For further info or to sign up to volunteer, contact Beth Jerde at uucbmuslims@gmail.com.

    LFDC (Literature, Film and Drama Contingent of the Confronting Racism Project) enjoyed a delightful afternoon April 2nd with actor/director Darold Ross-Holloway, who helped us understand the playwright August Wilson and his work, with a focus on Fences. Ross-Holloway showed off his acting chops as well, ending his time with us as his favorite character, Gabriel, in the play’s final scene. LFDC will not meet on May 7; instead, following the special service, we yield the Fireside Room for continued conversation. On June 4 we will discuss White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America, by Nancy Eisenberg. You can read a transcript or listen to a discussion on NPR with the author here. All are welcome even if you didn’t read the book! Contact – camilleparker@comcast.net