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June 2019 Social Justice by David Lindenfeld & Janet Moulder, Co-Chairs

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Together Baton Rouge conducted a Civic Academy on Criminal Justice and Police Reform for our church on May 16. 43 people attended. Through this presentation, plus the individual stories we shared, a differentiated picture of the Baton Rouge Police Department emerged, with vastly different treatment of people in different parts of the city. One common theme, regardless of neighborhood, was the fear generated by even the suspicion of guns on the scene, causing police to overreact. Also highlighted was injustice resulting from requiring cash for bail from low income non-violent offenders. The impact of the evening was to spur us to action, and seven people volunteered to serve on a team to tackle specific reform projects.

The Las Carmelas Migrant Bus Project (LCMAP) provides a small act of kindness for people who are in the middle of a traumatic event in their lives. It is in need of volunteers, including bus greeters, an “IT” person to maintain google docs and Facebook account, and people to help with collecting donations, and with food acquisition and distribution. None of these positions require more than 3 or 4 hours per week, yet we need people to help sustain this program which shows the welcoming side of our country. Please contact Liz Hamlin at 908-256-6127 or Janet Moulder at 225-218-9181 for additional information.

We are initiating an idea of sponsoring the migrant program with weekly or monthly donations from church members. It costs an estimated $1.20 per person to feed weary travelers and families with a small snack for the journey ahead. Most of these asylum seekers have been traveling for days or weeks and continue on to destinations in Alabama, Georgia or Florida with a quick 20-minute stop in Baton Rouge. If interested contact Janet Moulder at janplanett@aol.com or talk to us in the Fellowship Hall after services.

Don’t forget that June is Gay Pride Month.! This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, a series of riots which erupted on June 28, 1969 in New York City. These events are credited as being the start of the gay liberation movement and also why June is celebrated as gay pride month across the nation. Baton Rouge will mark the occasion on June 15 with the annual Pridefest, to be held at the Raising Cane’s River Center Arena 12 - 7pm. Our church has had a strong presence with a table at Pridefest since inception more than 10 years ago. Be on the lookout for a table after services to sign-up and get more info, including our own beautiful UU T-shirts.

The next Social Justice Team meeting will be June 23.

Our shared offering recipient for June is The Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge.