Tagged: “Justice”

Freedom Summer Camp at the Museum

How do children and teens in Rural and Low-Income Communities spend their summer when school is over? In Opelousas, St Landry Parish, Louisiana, Summer School is provided by church congregations and a few local public schools. However, this year 2019, a large number of students won’t be able to attend Summer School after the burning of three black Baptist churches in St Landry Parish by an arsonist during a string of 10 days in April 2019.

The burning of black churches was a common intimidation tactic during the Jim Crow era.

For decades, African-American churches have served as the epicenter of survival and a symbol of hope for many in the African-American community.

The burning of the Saint Landry Parish black churches was classified as a hate crime.

With a predominantly agricultural community with a deep pride in a francophone heritage, Black Baptist churches in Saint Landry Parish, LA offer church-based educational programs, from after-school tutorials to summer schools, computer classes to family science activities. Black churches have an historic commitment to education, and educational agencies see black churches as their best link to children in neighborhoods beset by poverty, violence and school failure.

To accommodate our Community and help our youth in Opelousas, St Landry Parish, LA the Rural African American Museum has offered to sponsor a summer camp for the children of the congregations affected by the destruction of their churches, the suppression of their place of worship and the suppression of their churches’ activities ensuing struggles.

I offered my Unitarian Universalist fellowship of Lafayette, Louisiana Congregation members the opportunity to participate as volunteers in the Rural African American Summer Camp project.

UUA CONNECTION:

  • Inspire a culture of innovation that extends the reach of UU values

The Rural African American Museum will offer a summer Camp program from 2-6pm at the Rural African American Museum, in Opelousas, with focus on providing educational services to youth of Opelousas during 4 weeks in July 2019 (July 1 – 26, 2019).

This all day program will be free, except for administrative fees.

In order to ensure the integrity of the program, the local Committee “Rural African American Museum” will monitor and visit the home of any child who may miss summer camp. The Committee “Rural African American Museum” is composed of Board members, educators and local leaders who will be following up to ensure that the children will complete the summer camp program at the African-American Museum.

At a time where there is a continued rise in racial and religious based hate crimes, Opelousas is facing a situation that requires an immediate effort on the part of Louisiana government and local organizations to support underprivileged children who are marginalized due to issues of economic class. It is imperative to support these youth by providing technical assistance and educational tools that could enable them to benefit from a good education that meets their needs.

Recognizing the critical importance of education to community empowerment and economic development in St Landry Parish, Louisiana, to help the local youth acquire the skills necessary in communication, help them believe in themselves, to empower their success and self-esteem.

The Rural African American History Museum was formed to establish, collect, hold, and preserve exhibit as a way to relate to the history of Rural African-American in St Landry and rely only on donations. Sponsoring the Summer Camp will help our local youth establish links, relate to their culture and respect their roots even in the face of adversity and hate crime.

This campaign will support the summer school to raise $ 3,500, which is needed to meet the budget expenses.

SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM

The program for the Summer camp will be offered to ten St Landry Parish school students age 12-15, with the following activities:

ACTION and RESEARCH PROJECT “POETRY and CIVIL RIGHTS”

  1. First week: RESEARCH and CREATIVE WRITING SKILLS

ENHANCING STUDENTS‘ CREATIVE WRITING SKILLS: a Social Studies research project using Chromebooks laptops, books, articles and artifacts available at the Rural African American Museum. 

As I raised educational funds in 2018 for my Community in St Landry Parish to equip my students with technology, summer school students will have the opportunity to work with chromebooks for their research and presentation.

  1. Second week: Computer literacy SKILLS

Applied Digital Skills to improve digital literacy with Google, using Google classroom. Students will use Google slides to present their research findings.

Students will incorporate French poetry to their presentation.

  • Third Week: Performing arts SKILLS

Theatre techniques to build youth communication skills and self esteem.

Students will be using their research findings to write poetry and perform a slam Poetry / Spoken words performance.

  1. Fourth week:

Art skills: Organizing, framing artifacts for the Rural African American Museum display.

Students will be using their research findings to write poetry and perform a slam Poetry / Spoken words performance.

UUA CONNECTION:

  • Inspire a culture of innovation that extends the reach of UU values
  • Bridge geographic and generational borders using 21st century technologies

Material:

Technology: Three Chromebooks will be available for students to use for students’ research and presentation findings, with a projector for display. This material is the property of the teacher working for the Freedom Summer Camp at the Rural African American of Opelousas.

ARTS / Performing Arts: Colors, crayons, paper, mic. This material is the property of the teacher working for the Freedom Summer Camp at the Rural African American of Opelousas.

Library: Use of books, articles, artifacts available at the Rural African American of Opelousas.

Budget expenses:

Teachers’ Salary (2 teachers)

  • Teaching artist spoken word, slam poetry                      $1,500

Teaching Artist qualified and certified

  • Teaching Creative writing and performing Art                 $1,500

Teacher qualified and certified

  • Art workshop supplies (craft, notebook, frames, colors)   $   500 

TOTAL Expenses:                                                                   $ 3,500

My claim as a UULALA Congregation Social Concerns Co-Chair and member of the Unitarian Universalism Association

UUA CONNECTION:

  • Inspire a culture of innovation that extends the reach of UU values
  • Lower the walls between existing congregations
  • Members of the Baptist Black Churches will volunteer for the Summer Camp project.
  • Members of the UULALA (Unitarian Universalist fellowship of Lafayette, Louisiana) will volunteer for the Summer Camp project.

Our Congregation voted unanimously June 4, 2019 in favour of the project at our UULALA Congregation executive meeting.

I offer my UULALA Congregation members an opportunity to participate as volunteers in the Rural African American Summer Camp project.

Background information on the Opelousas, LA churches’ fire:

As June 12, 2019, a young man from Opelousas, Louisiana, was charged by a federal grand jury for a hate crime

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/louisiana-man-charged-federal-hate-crimes-setting-fire-three-st-landry-parish-churches

Help Lift Up...

UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA)

In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising (June 28, 1969), the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA) has launched a UU Rainbow History Project, focused on collecting and preserving the history and stories of LGBTQIA ministers, their partners, and allies. 

Many of us have witnessed an amazing cultural shift over the past 50 years toward ever greater acceptance, inclusion, and celebration of LGBTQIA folk in our UU faith communities. Ministers have often led the way, and sometimes paid a harsh price for being in this vanguard. The stories are rich, stirring—and important. 

But time is not an ally in this process, so we want to move quickly to document the remarkable transformation of the UUA into a welcoming and affirming faith for people of all relationship choices and gender expressions. We are reaching out to draw forth memories from folks who remember the times and have valuable perspective on this evolution. Stonewall inspires anew, here among us today, exactly 50 years later!

The UU Rainbow History Project has begun gathering memories, photographs, sermons and other memorabilia on a website (www.uurainbowhistory.net) and in social media. Soon we will be working on producing a book to document this significant turning point in UU history. And all materials will be placed in UU archives, so future generations can learn about this incredible story, hopefully from many firsthand testimonials.

We are also sponsoring two conferences during this 50th anniversary year and if the October event is anything like the one last February (see pix below), it will again be powerfully meaningful. One attendee at the first conference remarked afterward, “This was a wonderful perspective on LGBTQ history—a breathtaking journey—and very uplifting. We have come so far. And I am so proud of the pioneers who lived in the disdain of society and bore such a burden.”

All this productive activity has a price tag, though, especially the technical developments and support for attendance at our conferences. And UURMaPA (which exists entirely on donations) has limited funding. The UU Funding Program has gotten us started, but through this Faithify Campaign YOU can help ensure that what we discern and discover about this pivotal era can become part of an enduring UU Rainbow History Project. Many thanks for your support!

Campbells- Nashua

UU Nashua, NH gathered to remember and honor the Campbell family with a graveside dedication and blessing for the new marker on their previously unmarked grave.

Tijuana Homebuild with Casas de Luz

Stretch Goal Added! See details below

Casas de Luz (casasdeluz.org) is a social justice action program of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, a sister UU congregation in San Diego county. Since its founding 15 years ago, volunteers working with Casas de Luz have built over 110 homes in 6 communities throughout Tijuana on lots already owned by each family, and this dynamic non-profit plans to build 40 additional homes in 2019.

Oct. 2018 Casas de Luz Homebuild

There is tremendous enthusiasm among our congregants for this project, and our initial efforts raised over $1500 as Chalice congregants dug deep.

San Diego’s proximity to the border makes us acutely aware of the additional hardships imposed on the Tijuana economy by the current Administration’s negative rhetoric toward Mexico. Every time we visit Mexico, we hear about the downturn in tourism resulting in part from fears promoted by our own government. Tourism is one of the most important industries in Mexico, providing construction and service jobs critical to families who are working their way out of poverty. Because of this, and despite our small congregation’s current limited funds (we just broke ground on a major campus renovation involving a new classroom and office building), we feel this is the perfect time to sponsor a Casas de Luz homebuild project.

Chalice groundbreaking Feb. 2019

We view our participation with Casas de Luz as an act of Resistance, Love, and Interconnectedness in the best traditions of Unitarian Universalism. 

Please press the blue DONATE button to help us reach our additional fundraising goal of $4700. Any donations Chalice receives in excess of this goal will be forwarded to Casas de Luz to support their ongoing projects in Tijuana. GRACIAS!

Many of us come from backgrounds of relative privilege, taking for granted our homes, jobs, and educational opportunities. Imagine trying to feed your children, support their education, and get to work on time and focused, all while struggling with substandard living conditions. Families throughout the world often buy a little plot of land before they have the funds to build a house on it, then live there in makeshift housing, using whatever resources they have – tarps or lean-tos, dirt floors, a camp stove, no plumbing – while saving money to build a permanent home. Of course life does not always deal a predictable hand. Sudden illness or a death in the family, job insecurity, medications, school supplies, or even just the rising cost of living, can all eat away at savings originally set aside by these families for a home.

Casas de Luz has met this need head-on for 15 years, encouraging adult and youth volunteers to raise either $4500 for a 320-square foot standard home, or $6200 for a 384-square foot home with bathroom, and then dedicating two days on a weekend to travel to Tijuana and build.

This covers the entire cost of building materials for each home!

Floor plan for the 16′ by 24′ home we will build.

Every volunteer builder pays $50 to cover food, water, and housing for the overnight in Tijuana. Chalice’s Social Justice and Service Team is organizing the homebuild with Casas, and we are committed to separately funding the individual builder fee for any participant for whom this might be a hardship, to encourage participation by families and our youth.

Casas de Luz is a truly impressive non-profit, with a beautiful website (casasdeluz.org), a clear vision, an all-volunteer board, and a single part-time paid employee. Several regular volunteers have been designated Master Carpenter during their years of work with Casas, and they will guide the rest of us who are less experienced builders. We are so excited to be working with Casas to organize this project! We have put the weekend of October 26-27, 2019 on our congregational calendar because we are trusting that YOU – our friends, family, and fellow UUs – will help us raise the $4700 we still need. We are busy getting our passports updated, polishing up our high school Spanish, and digging out our most sturdy work clothes! Our favorite UU affirmation reads:

“Love is the doctrine of this church, the quest for truth is our sacrament, and service is our prayer.”

Thank you for helping us carry our message of love and service to our neighbors in Tijuana!

Bending the Arc...

We have an extraordinary collection of interviews and archival material illustrating aspects of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s (and earlier) and today.

Creating A Racial...

My name is Christopher D. Sims. I am a Unitarian Universalist community minister, artist, and community organizer. This collective idea is meant to combine our efforts across Unitarian Universalism as we tackle issues in regards to the movement for black lives, social justice, and racial justice. I am working with Unitarian Universalist committees and groups who are focusing on the serious work we are doing to help us obtain, or get closer to, the Beloved Community. In having these proximate relationships and connections with these groups, Creating a Racial and Social Justice Collective will be a vehicle and a database for successes of these groups that will help empower the overall work we are doing in our faith movement across the United States, and beyond. To give voice to these successes and efforts, the Collective will have an online presence. Physically, I will represent these voices at conferences or appearances in our faith movement to inform and encourage Unitarian Universalists to pursue or strengthen their social justice efforts.

The funds raised for this campaign will go towards maintaining an online database, staff, travel expenses, and materials needed to create books and pamphlets for the documentation of this project.