You are here

Together Baton Rouge

If you are interested in receiving information about and invitations to Together Baton Rouge events and project activities, sign up for Together Baton Rouge mailing list at http://www.togetherbr.org/ 

Together Baton Rouge continues the  program  and is  actively seeking more VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools). You can sign up to be a Reading Friend or Math Buddy (in an elementary school near you—during school hours, a commitment of 45 min. weekly). Contact Bobby Thompson – numbernine@cox.net or go online at http://www.togetherbr.org/education/.

On April 15, 2018, we conducted the House Meetings which Together Baton Rouge has requested of all of its member organizations.  The thinking behind this is to locate areas of concern from members of the Baton Rouge community whether the participants are members of TBR or not.  Although we have an extremely active and committed group of UUs in the organization, we do not wish to be limited by the vision of that group since our church membership spans the entire EBR region and beyond. So we asked, what Social Justice issues are bothering you?  On what would you like to see our congregation focus?  Following are the House Meeting Reports:

4/15/2018 UCBR House Meeting Report: Group 1 

Participants: Diana Dorroh, Kathy Gess, Holley Haymaker, Nicole Johnson, Nancy Kunen, Janet Moulder, Mija Thompson, Emily Toth, Rick Webb

Violence related issues:

1) Call for renewed, organized and thoughtful push back against increasing racist actions during live encounters and racist postings across social media sites.

2) Recognize and oppose the pervasive presence of gun violence throughout our culture.

3) Support legislation for sensible gun use and control  (i.e. outlaw bump stocks).

4) Promote, join and support groups seeking changes in our gun culture like Moms Demand Action.

5) Educate parents on the simple child protecting protocol of the Ask-Tell program.

6) Encourage NRA members to realign their leadership with members' polled and published gun use and control positions or else just quit

7) Recognize domestic violence, macro and micro aggressions, aimed at women to keep women in “their place”.  Improve women's shelter awareness and publicize volunteer opportunities.

8) Strongly support reproductive rights pushing back against the avalanche of restrictive legislation. Keep Planned Parenthood as an effective provider of women's health services.

Health and community related issues:

1) Try to integrate new online grocery shopping and delivery services with the food dessert reduction initiative.

2) Address the nursing home monopoly of funds needed to support in-home care giving.

3) Can we continue to live with the two-city divide in Baton Rouge?

4) Find ways to encourage adoption of a living wage in our area.

5) Support pay equity!

6) Improve support for the BREC Zoo at the current location.

7) Encourage more visible actions.  People joined together advocating publicly get the attention.

Legislative issue:

1) Establish a standing “Issues Education Task Force” as a resource to combat the limited institutional and historical background awareness that legislators display due to term limits.

UCBR issue:

1) Perform a new and extensive “Accessibility” survey of our UCBR facilities and parking lot.

4/15/2018 UCBR House Meeting report: Group 2

Participants:  Helen Antrobus, Suzanne Besse, Herb Dyer, Liz Hamlin, Mike Hebert, David Lindenfeld, Betty Powers, Melonie Pryor, Bobby Thompson, Jane Webb

Police reform issues:

1) Correct a culture of bias within the police force by instituting a protocol for how to respond from arrival at a scene to departure.  Then train officers carefully in the protocol and hold them accountable for following it.

2) Correct systemic racism in the police department for all persons of color by instituting a protocol for reasonable stop and search procedures.  Then require a record of every such stop with clear evidence of use of the protocol.

Health and community related issues:

1) How can we continue to ignore the plight of half this city north of Florida Blvd?

2) A healthy environment from air quality to blighted properties to redevelopment and infrastructure is essential to a healthy and vibrant city.  We need to be creative and assertive in tackling these problems and finding solutions.

3) Combat the polarization and inertia caused by partisan politics by developing a pilot series of dialogues where all sides work from points of agreement to listen and learn the true areas of disagreement. 

(This could be developed within our congregation and then moved out to a larger audience, possibly through TBR.)

4) There is a hunger for more open dialogue about problems that concern us all.  Make these opportunities open and not directed, but rather focused on listening to the stories of others as a path toward understanding and resolution.

5) Why is pay equity and the concept of a living wage so impossible to achieve?

6) Medicare expansion toward in-home care as a viable option to nursing homes is needed.

UCBR issue:

1) There is a need for integration and coordination of the Board’s Annual Vision of Ministry (AVOM) to every area of UCBR's undertakings.

2) We need to integrate racial justice concerns throughout our church community, both adults and children.

3) A realistic approach/reorganization of the responsibilities of the Social Justice Team is needed.

_____

The Together Baton Rouge gala December, 2014 was a smashing success. There were approximately 370 people in attendance. Many UU's were there. The music was fabulous. The choir was made up of singers from all the member organizations. Several of our choir members participated and there was a solo by our own Martha Howe. All in all it was a wonderful evening of celebrating our past accomplishments and looking forward to actions in the future to help make our city a better place to live.

_____

See the 2013 summary of Together Baton Rouge accomplisments at file below:

In March 2013, Together Baton Rouge and all of the other Louisiana Industrial Area Foundation organizations in Louisiana decided to work under the name Together Louisiana to make our presence felt in this legislative session. Together Louisiana has been actively working: 

 1) against changing our tax structure to mostly sales tax; 

 2) in support of the Medicaid expansion  to 138% of poverty – a part of the  Affordable Care Act;

 3) in support of bills that would reduce incarceration in Louisiana. 

 Our own TBR lead organizer Brod Bagert, Perry Perkins, his supervisor, and key leaders of Together Baton Rouge  have been at the Louisiana Legislature almost every day during this session.    They have worked behind the scenes with key legislators to leverage our impact.     Unfortunately the major pieces of legislation in support of the Medicaid Expansion never received a floor vote in either house, but there were some exciting committee meetings.  Between six and ten of our own church members have been present for key committee hearings, often lasting four hours.

 The Advocate has recognized the importance of Together Louisiana's role in working to obtain the Medicaid Expansion for Louisiana in two editorials; the first on April 29, 2013 and the second on Sunday May 26, 2013.

 A quote from The Advocate May 26 editorial:  "Together Louisiana has made a big difference in a short time,'  said state Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, .....  Why?  The appearance of clergy and community leaders seeking a better deal for all the less fortunate in society is not an everyday occurrence in the State Capitol.  The hallways are, to borrow a phrase, a Gucci gulch of lobbyists and the well-connected." 

 Our church can be proud of our membership in Together Baton Rouge and the part our congregation is playing in developing this opportunity to affect state policy and legislation.  This is only the beginning.  Stay tuned.

Thanks to all of our church members that participated with Together Baton Rouge in our effort to bring transit reform to our city. The relationships we have formed by engaging with other churches and non-profits will be invaluable in the future. There is still much work to do to be done. This is only the beginning. There will be many more volunteer opportunities. Stay tuned for our next mission to make this a better world.

 

 

AttachmentSize
PDF icon TBR_2013-Report.pdf61.75 KB