Social Justice News
For the most recent Social Justice news, see UUCB’s monthly newsletter, Beacon on the Hill.
Recap: On Sunday, 11/22/20, UUCB had a very successful and fun Annual Food Drive for the Richmond Emergency Food Pantry. Three families, our Family Minister, Catherine Boyle and five senior members of UUCB accepted food, toiletries, and money donations for five hours at the church parking lot. At the end, the food went off to the food pantry in a truck driven by Ariel Smith. Even during Covid we can make a difference and we did!
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB) is conducting its annual Food Drive to benefit the Richmond Emergency Food Pantry (REFP) from October 31st through November 22, 2020. Food and financial donations are gratefully accepted. The Family Ministry, children and youth are at the forefront of supporting the Food Drive effort at UUCB. See PICTURES from past Food Drives.
WHAT FOOD SUPPORT IS NEEDED
JAM, NUTELLA, PEANUT BUTTER, RICE, BEANS TUNA, CEREAL, OATMEAL, GRANOLA, FRUIT COCKTAIL, CANNED PEACHES AND PINEAPPLE, APPLESAUCE, CANNED GREEN BEANS, CANNED CORN, CANNED PEARS, FLOUR, SUGAR, DRIED PASTA, RAMEN, INSTANT SOUP, CHILI, CHEF BOYARDEE, SPAGHETTI SAUCE, TOILET PAPER, PAPER TOWELS, FEMININE SANITARY PRODUCTS, TOOTHPASTE, SHAMPOO, BABY DIAPERS, GARDEN SEEDS, ZIPLOC BAGS, COFFEE AND TEA, NO MASKS needed.
WHAT FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS NEEDED
If you can provide financial support, the REFP can use your generosity to purchase more items that will still be needed after the Food Drive is over. They will be able to buy different groups of foods in bulk because of your financial donations.
• You can mail a check to UUCB, 1 Lawson Road, Kensington, CA 94707, with the words “FOOD DRIVE” in the memo line up to December 1st.
• You can also drop off your check or cash at the in-person in-take gathering on November 22 from 9 am to 1 pm.
• Or you can donate via PayPal and use the email: GIVE@UUCB.org. Food Drive financial donations can be accepted past November 22 and up until December 1st.
WHEN TO DROP OFF DONATIONS AT UUCB
MON-FRI, BETWEEN 10 AM AND 4 PM—UP UNTIL NOV 22. There will be a BOX outside of the church doors into which you can put your food donations. The box is moved inside by the end of the day.
ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd, FROM 9 AM TO 1 PM, there will be many enthusiastic people receiving your food and financial donations in-person. Foods will be loaded onto a truck to take to the Richmond Pantry. However, this year UUCB is not weighing the food donations as per the CDC Covid guidelines. There will also be a box for financial donations.
WHERE TO DROP OFF YOUR DONATION
The Main Parking Lot of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB.org), located at 1 Lawson Road, Kensington, CA 94707.
From the Honoring Indigenous Peoples Group
As we enter this time of Thanksgiving, the Honoring Indigenous Peoples Group would like to offer some thoughts.
As you plan your celebration, please consider that while Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday for many, it is also a painful one for many. With the persistent retelling of the story of a joyous meal between Native Americans and Pilgrims, the holiday completely covers over the reality of the history of Native Americans. In short, Thanksgiving is based on a false narrative and has been called “The Day of Mourning” by some indigenous people.
The Thanksgiving story does not typically take into account the fact that huge populations of indigenous peoples were killed, lands stolen, and children placed in boarding schools, forbidden to speak their native languages–all in an attempt to decimate Indigenous peoples and culture.
So, as we gather together with family and friends–in person and virtually–consider some of the following:
- Read up on some of the history around Thanksgiving (links are attached below).
- Include a simple dish that honors Native Americans. For example, the “three sisters”–corn, beans and squash–prepared to your liking. “Call in the spirits of the land and ancestors. Let them know this offering is out of respect, and you can also add anything else you like. For example, you can ask that the spirits and deities continue to guide and protect their living descendants.” Links with some food ideas are below.
- Read a land acknowledgement during your event–we offer one here–make one of your own!
During this Thanksgiving holiday, we acknowledge that our home sits on land formerly stewarded by the Muwekma Ohlone people. We pay deep respect to the ancestors and to members of indigenous peoples in the community. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal of indigenous peoples from this land and extend honor and recognition to those still connected to this land. Colonization is an ongoing process, and it continues to harm. We commit ourselves to continue on the long road toward true equity and liberation for all.
- Encourage conversations with questions such as
- How has our awareness of Native American history, especially around land theft, changed over time? How is it different from what you learned in school?
- How did our family get to where we live? To this continent, state and city?
- What family stories do we have that are in relationship to Indigenous people?
We are thankful for our awareness of the history of this holiday and this land, and we are committed to continue to highlight and contribute to the work currently being done by and for the people indigenous to this land.
Love and best wishes for this Thanksgiving holiday,
The Honoring Indigenous Peoples Group,
Mimi Bull, Carol Carlisle, Rev. Michelle Collins, Ann Harlow, Lynne Henderson, Don Klose, Helen Tinsley-Jones, Anne Wardell, Julie Winkelstein
Letter of support for Brown Girls Climbing
The UUCB Board, Social Justice Council, People of Color Caucus and Whites Opposing White Supremacy sent the following email of support to Ms. Taylor:
Dear Ms. Taylor and members and families of Brown Girls Climbing,
We, the members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB) in Kensington, were outraged and saddened to hear of the racist verbal attack on your students at Indian Rock in mid-June and to hear of other incidents that created an unwelcome and hostile atmosphere in that area.
One of our members lives a few hundred yards from Indian Rock and alerted the congregation to the incident. Through this member, the church continues to be updated on ongoing community actions by the neighbors at Indian Rock. We were also informed that a Black Lives Matter banner had been stolen from Marin Circle, and we immediately replaced it with one that the church had.
We recognize the huge impact this incident has had on you, the children, and their families. Some of us understand this impact from our own personal experiences. For others of us, your candor is a huge gift. Thank you, Emily, for your courage in putting this information out into the world. We appreciate how much you give to the girls in your care.
In love and solidarity,
UUCB Board of Trustees
UUCB Social Justice Council
UUCB People of Color Caucus
UUCB Whites Opposing White Supremacy
NO MORE! Our Statement Against Racist Murders
Dear Beloved UUCB Community,
Today, we—the UUCB People of Color Caucus, Whites Opposing White Supremacy and the Social Justice Council—unite in our condemnation of the recent tortured killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia.
Ms. Taylor, asleep in her apartment, was shot and killed by Louisville police conducting a “No Knock” search of the wrong apartment looking for a suspect who was already in jail. Mr. Arbery, while out jogging, was hunted down by two white men and murdered, as a third white man videotaped the incident. Mr. Floyd, handcuffed and in police custody, had the life squeezed out of him as a white police officer kneeled on his neck for over eight minutes.
As we watch the videos, we witness modern lynchings, right before our eyes. No compassion, no humanity. We are angry, outraged, and profoundly saddened.
As we mourn the deaths of these individuals, we recognize that over centuries, the violence stemming from this country’s entrenched institutionalized racism has murdered and executed many other African American men and women. Their families, communities, and all of us have been robbed of valued members of color. We recognize that all humanity suffers, that we all are less because of their deaths.
Across the U.S., as well as in other countries, people of many races and ethnicities have banded together in protest of police violence. Fires have been set, and damage to property has occurred. While we do not condone such actions, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has reminded us,
America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.
Activist and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has written,
…African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.
As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in
The inherent worth and dignity of every person; Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Today, we join our voices of outrage and grief with our wider beloved community.
We’ve attached below some resources of interest that give a broader historical context to the recent murders. These include activist Tim Wise’s article on police violence, a link to recommendations for taking action from UUA’s Love Resists, a link to anti-racist resources, and an article reflecting the voices of many African Americans.
Uniting in love and justice,
UUCB People of Color Caucus
UUCB Whites Opposing White Supremacy
UUCB Social Justice Council
A Message from the UUCB Board of Trustees
Trayvon Martin – Ahmaud Arbery – George Floyd
David McAtee – Brandy Martell – Breonna Taylor – Tony McDad
SAY THEIR NAME
We will not stand silent in the face of such violence. We hold up and endorse the recent statement of the UUCB People of Color Caucus, Whites Opposing White Supremacy and Social Justice Council.
We stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters across the United States. Our “Black Lives Matter” banner means that we must work to dismantle white supremacy. We are called upon in this, our beloved community to show up radically and compassionately at this moment.
In the words of Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, “We as UUs need to be ready to respond with our faith out front and ready to care and lead in ways that are needed and asked for.”
We don’t know what our next steps as a congregation will be but we pledge to move forward in love for the sake of justice.
Look into your heart. What are you called to do?
UUCB Board of Trustees