You are here

Social Justice and Outreach

Teaser
Blog category: 

Social Justice

Bobby Thompson, Director of Social Justice

      Once again we had another very successful Kids Cafe. Thanks to all that bought gifts and/or contributed to the party. A special thanks to Jane Webb. Jane is a relatively new member to the church and to the Social Justice Team. She organized and ran the collection of toys and money. Thanks to Dottie Kelly who coordinates everything with the Interfaith Federation to bring Holiday cheer to the kids of Cadillac Park.

      Our shared offering for January will go to: VIPS Volunteers in Public Schools – W.C. Montgomery Center 4070 Tunica St. #7 Baton Rouge, La. 70805. Everybody Reads© provides individualized reading assistance for first-, second- and third-grade students who read below grade level. VIPS recruits, orients, and places volunteer Reading Friends in public schools to share the joy of reading and improve reading skills

      In December our own Dan Collins gave a briefing on an issue of environmental importance to us all and personal importance to him (he was about to go to court against the state as a whistle-blower and won). If you have an issue you think the congregation might want to hear more about, please let us know.

      We sent three of our members to the three day training of Together Baton Rouge, David Lindenfeld, Jane Webb and Wade Adams. Wade also brought his son Chris Adams, who grew up in this church and is active in social justice work in Lafayette.

     Looking back over the last year, we have been very active. We participated in “Beyond Bricks EBR” a community discussion for a positive movement to recharge public schools. We were very active with Together Baton Rouge, starting with a statewide rally to prepare for the upcoming state's 2015 legislative session.  We began a successful Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity. We organized a vigil for Justice for Victor White III in New Iberia. Many of our church members carpooled to New Iberia. We would return to New Iberia a few months later for a march. We hosted a poetry workshop in honor of Victor White III. We hosted Emrys “Walt” Stanton who was engaged with immigrant justice movements in southern Arizona.

      At General Assembly this summer, the UUA adopted a Statement of Conscience on Reproductive Justice (RJ).  "As Unitarian Universalists, we embrace the reproductive justice framework, which espouses the human right to have children, not to have children, to parent the children one has in healthy environments and to safeguard bodily autonomy and to express one's sexuality freely." Last summer one of our guest ministers, Darcy Roake, preached on RJ. Early in the new-year the Social Justice Team will present the UUA’s Reproductive Justice curriculum for congregations. This is a six-session curriculum and open to all interested. We plan to start this in January. Questions? Please contact Holley Haymaker at hgalland@aol.com.                                 

       Together Baton Rouge had a citywide assembly to kick off and re energize to continue the work of making our community better. We were successful stopping the formation of the city of St. George through our connection with Better Together. Many of us went door to door. Tara Hebert led the effort to collect coats for those in need. Sylvia Martinez put together a team to participated in the Hunger Walk sponsored by the Interfaith Federation.  We continue to sponsor and provide space for PFLAG.

      We gave financial support through our shared offering to local non profits and community organizations, such as, Dialogue on Race, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Family Road, Forward Arts, St. Paul Adult Learning Center, STAR – Sexual Trauma & Response, Iris Domestic Violence Intervention Center, Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless, Baton Rouge Area Alcohol and Drug Center BRAADC, Backyard Bikes, Interfaith Federation, and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

       Our next SJ meeting will be held on January 10th after church. Remember, our meetings are open to all interested members and guests.

 

OUTREACH

Becky Cureau, Director of Outreach

    Copies of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, the UU "Common Read" for 2015-2016, are available at the Book Table.  Our church will participate along with other UU congregations in reading Bryan Steveson's thought-provoking book which explores ethical, moral, and spiritual questions surrounding incarceration, and the horrors faced by people on the margins of mainstream society when they come in contact with the systems built to respond to criminal or antisocial behavior.  Discussion sessions will take place in late January and February on dates to be announced in weekly announcements.

    Church member Wayne Parker is the host of  "A Pause for Thought," which airs from 5:00 - 5:30 pm Wednesdays on Baton Rouge Community Radio WHYR-LP, 96.9 FM.  The live show invites listeners to call in with questions, comments, and suggestions for the following week's topics. 

    Many thanks for your generous donations of staple food items  to the Food Cart for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals for recipients of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.  The Food Cart maintains its regular place in the Breezeway for our ongoing contributions to those in need in our community