• Social Justice News, February 2018

    From the January Potluck/Meeting:
    SJC members with Helen Toy’s leadership organized to march as a contingent at the January 20 Women’s March in Oakland.

    Jane Eisenstark led us in looking at where we are in looking at racism. It was mentioned that white people and people of color process racism differently and so, we have two different caucuses that will first meet separately and then together, beginning on Sunday, February 25.

    From the Literature, Film and Drama Contingent:

    After reading the UUA’s 2017-18 common read Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, the Social Justice Council’s Literature, Film and Drama Contingent held a lively discussion in January. Following memories of parents taking us along as they voted, being the first to desegregate a school, running for class president, putting up posters, family civics lessons, canvassing and stepping out onto the streets, resisting order, and many other stories, a rich mosaic of democracy in action took hold. Switching to challenges facing democracy today, including the large amounts of money in politics, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and needing to rethink democracy and its relationship to freedom and community brought a more somber, realistic tone to the discussion. We ended on a hopeful note with people calling for building democracy through creating community, whether that’s knocking on doors, creating a sanctuary church, and many other ideas. The LFDC will continue the discussion of Daring Democracy and return to The Obama Inheritance on February 4 at 12:30 in the Fireside Room.

  • Social Justice News, January 2018

    The LFDC/s meeting in December included discussions of two “field trips”: one, led by Jim Acock and Lonnie Moseley, who attended a concert in Santa Cruz featuring Rhiannon Giddens: the other, led by Christina Creveling (who sings with Oakland Interfaith Gospel Community Chorus), as some of us attended the fabulous concert in Oakland that included the main gospel choir and the young peoples’ chorus. We listened to music from these events and sang along! Then, a very thoroughly prepared Cordell Sloan so titillated us that we voted to carry over the discussion of The Obama Inheritance, Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, edited by Gary Philips, ‘til February. Join us! But first, we hope you will join us on January 7 at 12:30 for a discussion of Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen, the UUA Common Read for 2017-18.

    In December, a trio of us were delighted to see and hear Julie Rogers perform Hanukkah songs with her chorus—Kol Truah, at the Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.

    The New Year will see the UUCB engaged by Social Justice Council’s project on Immigrant Sanctuary starting with an informative meeting with local immigrant justice speakers immediately following the January 21 service, and culminating in a vote to become a “Sanctuary Church” during the Congregational Meeting on February 11. For those interested in becoming part of the Sanctuary “Accompaniment Team” to support local undocumented youth or a mixed-status family, please contact Elisabeth Jay.

    The New Year is also the time for existing and new Social Justice Projects to (re)apply for the coming 2018-19 church year. Applications and guidelines can be found by downloading the Sponsored Application document, or by contacting Craig Scott. They are due by the second Sunday in March.

  • Social Justice News, December 2017

    The Social Justice Council Potluck meeting on Sunday, November 12, heard 90-second presentations from 15 of the 16 organizations nominated to receive Good Neighbor donations each month in the coming church year. After the presentations, the members voted for 11 of the organizations. The results were as follows:

    1. YEAH! Shelter for Youth in Berkeley – Shelter and services for homeless youth 18 – 25.
    2. 1951 Coffee Company – Trains and employs 80 refugees a year in the coffee business.
    3. East Bay Center for the Blind – Serves the sight impaired in the East Bay.
    4. Developing Indigenous Resources ­– Community Development in India.
    5. Berkeley Food Pantry – Sponsored by Friends and distributes 200,000 meals a year.
    6. Hip Hop for Change – Uses hip hop culture to educate for social justice.
    7. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant – Sanctuary, advocacy and legal advice to those escaping war, political persecution and other violence.
    8. YES Nature to Neighborhoods – Outreach to Richmond youth, adults and families to lead healthy, safe caring communities.
    9. Planting Justice – Inspiring disenfranchised residents with skills and resources for food production and economic opportunities.
    10. Youth Spirit Artworks – Uses art and art-based jobs to empower the lives of homeless and low-income youth. Participants are paid and make decisions.
    11. Read Aloud – Volunteers participate weekly in elementary schools in the West Contra Costa Unified School District by reading individually to K – 2 graders.

    Also included in the Good Neighbor program by congregational vote is GRIP, which provides meals, support and housing services to families in Richmond.

    From the Literature, Film & Drama Contingent of the Social Justice Council: On November 5th, Claude Steele, esteemed social psychologist and professor of psychology at Stanford University, shared with us his research into “stereotype threat,” which finds that, put very simply, people believe the stereotypes that have been foisted upon us by society — whether about race, gender, age, etc. — to our detriment. His book, Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, is fascinating. The LFDC will lighten things up for its meeting on December 3rd, when we discuss The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, edited by Gary Phillips. Cordell Sloan will facilitate the discussion.

    Two hundred people gathered on Sunday, November 5th to view From A Silk Cocoon, the story of Satusuki Ina’s parents’ incarceration in Tule Lake during WWII because they were Japanese Americans. There was a very engaging and substantive Q & A after the film, with guests Satsuki Ina, Laura Craig, and Zahra Billoo. A spontaneous collection was taken, divided among the three organizations chosen by our guests. Each received $200 to assist the work it does: Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Council on American-Islamic Relations; and the Tule Lake Preservation Project.

    Annual Winter Clothing Drive for GRIP

    As in the past, UUCB is having our annual Winter Warmth for GRIP clothing drive in December. Please go through your closets, or buy new items, to help clothe the GRIP (Greater Richmond Interfaith Program) residents for the cold and wet winter months, and bring your items to church during the first three Sundays in December. A large purple basket to collect your items will be located next to either the Social Justice table or the front doors in the atrium. Thank you.

    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? 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.