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.
- 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”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Inspire a culture of innovation that extends the reach of UU values
- Bridge geographic and generational borders using 21st century technologies
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.
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
- 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
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!
Reverend James Reeb...
Many Unitarian Universalists know the story of Reverend James Reeb, the UU minister who was murdered in 1965 in Selma, Alabama after answering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nationwide call for religious leaders to come south to march in support of voting rights.
What UUs may not know is that James Reeb grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and served there as a Presbyterian minister before his faith journey led him to Unitarian Universalism and to civil rights activism. He eventually moved with his family to Washington D.C., where he served as the Assistant Minister to All Souls Unitarian Church. His next call to ministry and activism took the Reeb family to the Roxbury area of Boston where he worked for fair housing and advocated for people living in poverty.
Marie Reeb, Reverend Reeb’s widow, still resides in Casper along with many of his extended family, and yet much of the Wyoming community is unaware of his legacy and this important Wyoming connection to America’s Civil Rights Movement.
Partnering with The Table, a downtown Casper dinner church, the Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper is raising $10,000 for a James Reeb Memorial Mural here in his hometown of Casper. Understanding that UUs and others involved in social activism across the country feel deep respect and reverence for Reverend Reeb, the UU Community of Casper is extending an invitation to be a part of this unique opportunity to promote James Reeb’s legacy, social justice, community partnerships, and interfaith engagement.
The James Reeb Memorial Mural project will also include a website, a short film, and several public events to heighten access and engagement with Reverend Reeb’s story. Public art is a beautiful way to introduce this amazing story to a larger audience. The mural will be ideally located across the street from David Street Station, downtown Casper’s new and popular public square, which hosts concerts, farmers markets, and countless other public events. The mural’s public unveiling will be held August 24, 2019. Reverend Reeb’s story will also be shared at an August 28th story telling event at The Table and at the UU Community of Casper’s August 25th Sunday service. In addition, Reverend Reeb will be honored at Casper’s International Day of Peace Celebration on September 21, 2019.
The UU Community of Casper’s fundraising goal for this project is $10,000 of the $30,000 estimated total cost of the mural, film, website and public events. The remaining two thirds will come from grants and public donations. Any amounts raised by the UU Community of Casper in excess of our $10,000 goal will be contributed to the James J. Reeb Memorial Scholarship Fund at Casper College, the local community college Reverend Reeb once attended.
Our interfaith partner, The Table, is a downtown Casper dinner church led by Pastor Libby Tedder Hugus. The Table has long been involved in the Casper Mural Project to beautify and revitalize downtown Casper’s public spaces through mural art. The Table follows the teachings of Jesus, and its members and friends value and seek to honor the truth found in wisdom traditions beyond Christianity. Many UU Community of Casper members and friends enjoy participating in The Table gatherings, and Pastor Libby has been a guest speaker at our UU church.
The James Reeb Memorial Mural committee consists of individuals associated with many other Casper groups and businesses. An integral member of this committee is Reverend Reeb’s granddaughter Leah Reeb, who has traveled nationwide to share her grandfather’s legacy with UUs and others. Local mural artist Tony Elmore is working closely with the Reeb family and is seeking their guidance during his creative process.
The timing of the project is fortuitous: National Public Radio recently launched the serial podcast “White Lies,” which tells the story of Reverend Reeb, his murder in Selma and the aftermath of failed justice. His story was also included in the 2015 Academy Award nominated film “Selma.”
Please consider accepting our invitation to be a part of the James Reeb Memorial Mural Project.
Catalyze the UU Climate Justice Movement
The Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth is the primary fiscal sponsor of the Create Climate Justice initiative — deeply engaged in ongoing partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association and UU organizations across the denomination to strengthen and grow UU Climate Justice ministries to the scale required in response to the existential crises of climate change.
This “Catalyze the Movement” fundraising campaign will support baseline operating expenses of UUMFE and the Create Climate Justice initiative (namely payroll for dedicated staff time) and scholarships for young UUs and UUs of the global majority to attend important retreats and convergences over the next 3 months.
More about the upcoming convergences that this campaign will support:
August 4-9th – the “Climate Justice: Extending our Reach” program at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands, NC will be an imporant time for in-depth learning and relationship building for the UU climate justice movement. Funds donated to this campaign will support 3-5 UUs of color and young UUs to attend this program.
August 22-26th – the InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration grassroots gathering “For Generations to Come” will be an inter-cultural, inter-faith convergence for peoples of all Nations – friends, allies, & relatives in the Sacred Black Hills (Paha Sapa). This gathering is an effort manifesting through years of relationship building and collaboration between UUs, Indigenous frontline community members, and partners, based upon an invitation into partnership that emerged at the Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin Camp. This will be a transformative and invaluable experience; funds donated will support UU partnership and participation in this effort.
September 15-17 – a strong UU coalition is hosting a program in Washington, DC focused on the Green New Deal and its underlying goals of creating economic justice and climate justice. A Green New Deal would create a necessary pathway for a Just Transition to an ecological civilization
The event will include worship, workshops, a keynote speaker, and an advocacy day on Capitol Hill. Hosting coalition partners include UUs for Just Economic Community, UUs for Social Justice, UU Ministry for Earth, UU Service Committee, All Souls Church Unitarian – D.C., and the UUA. Funds raised will support UUs of color and young UUs to be part of this program. (Photo Credit – Grist – Amelia Bates)
This campaign is also the online-component to a fundraising and speaking tour that UU Ministry for Earth is currently embarking on throughout Oregon and Washington:
UUMFE will be speaking at seven congregations throughout Oregon and Washington, leading up to the 2019 General Assembly in Spokane, to inspire and fortify the UU Climate Justice Movement and elevate the voice of the 11-year-old UU plaintiff to the historic Juliana v US constitutional climate lawsuit, Levi Draheim. UUMFE Program Director Aly Tharp, and “valve turner” Board Member Leonard Higgins will also be featured speakers and facilitators throughout the tour.
Numerous tour stops will include eco art builds to create beautiful and inspiring art pieces for the Procession of the Species event that UUMFE will host at the Spokane Convention Center & Riverfront Park on Thursday, June 20th at 5:30 pm.
The tour stops are:
- June 6th, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR, 6:30 – 9 pm (doors at 6 pm) – vegan potluck begins at 6:30 and presentation begins at 7:30 pm
- June 9th, UU Church in Eugene, OR, 10 am worship service, 11:30 am after-church potluck, 12-12:45 presentation, 12:45-3 pm art build with eco-muralist Esteban Camacho-Steffensen, multi-media artist Patti Warner, and UUMFE Program Director Aly Tharp.
- June 10th, UU Fellowship of Corvallis, OR – 6:30 potluck and 7:30 presentation
- June 14th, Bellingham UU Fellowship, Bellingham, WA, 6:30 potluck and 7:30 presentation
- June 15th, East Shore Unitarian Church, Bellvue, WA, 11 am – 12:30 pm potluck and presentation, followed by a carpool/caravan to the Lummi Totem Pole Journey event in Seattle at 1 pm
- June 16th, University Unitarian Church, Seattle WA, 10 am worship service, 11:30-12:30 pm presentation
- June 16th, Woodinville UU Church, 3-4:30 eco-art build, 4:30 – 6 pm presentation, 6-7 pm potluck
Please help make this tremendous June fundraising effort a smashing success! Our planet and our hearts are calling for a strong, spiritually grounded transformative movement for Climate Justice. Only together and only with financial backing to manifest this vision can we make this happen. $10K is the baseline goal for this campaign — our stretch goal is $30K! Thank you for your support.
Family/youth participation for UUA GA 2019
My name is Elshender Taylor. I am asking for your help to go to the general assembly as a youth leader in Spokane, Washington in June. My vision is to help with a summer camp that my church is beginning and to expand our congregational youth program within the coming year. The TORCH youth group at our UU Clearwater congregation is a highlight of my social life. We are interested in things that make a difference in our community and world such as race relations and actions that will impact climate change. I am a sophomore at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts studying stage design and management.
My parents live separately, near each other and both are supportive of my interests and studies. I also participate in a Sea Scouts troop and assist seniors at a nursing home where my father works as a nurse.
I intend to help with a summer camp this summer and become a leader in my youth group, especially since there is going to be many more young people join our youth group, we anticipate to our group being 140% larger when school starts.
Although my mother is not currently a Unitarian, I have convinced her to go with me to the GA along with my father, older brother, and his girlfriend. My father will serve as our congregational delegate. He had emergency surgery this month which makes our financial commitment to the GA more difficult. My goal is to get 1220 dollars to cover my portion of the expenses for attending the GA.
$1220 in total for my goal
Which is $312 for 6 nights lodging.
The registration fee for GA is $240 and the Airfare is $518 and $150 for meals and incidentals.
Philosophy of RE...
This particular module is The Philosphy of RE. Any funds raised will be used for registration and reading materials related to the class. Any left over will be put towards my next training.
The overall goals of this module are:
Increased knowledge of foundational questions of religious education: what, when, who, where, how, and why.
Increased ability to articulate one’s own religious faith and religious education philosophy.
Increased clarity about the purposes of lifespan religious education.
Increased comfort and competence in sharing a philosophy of religious education with teachers and parents.
Increased comfort and competence applying new knowledge, worship processes, and educational awareness in the congregation.
Unexpected and Emergency...
Hello Potential Funders and Angels,
My name is Kecia McMillian, and I have been sponsored and named as a delegate to our General Assembly in Spokane, WA. This is the 7th GA and 5th as a delegate, I have had the pleasure to attend. The knowledge and energy I leave General Assemblies with has been amazing as well as the opportunity to fellowship with UU’s I may otherwise never meet. As you see on my profile, I am currently a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark, DE and have been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, PA and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, CA. My passions are Youth and Young Adults and Cultural Competency. My BA in Religion and Sociology (from Albright College) and MA in Religion with focus on the Integration of Religion, Sociology, and Diversity Issues (from Lancaster Theological Seminary) have bolstered my passions. And now I am working on my 2nd Masters degree (MS) in Restorative Practices (from International Institute for Restorative Practices) which of course pairs nicely with UU consciousness in last year’s GA, All Are Called, and this year’s GA, The Power of We. I have led one of, I hope, many Restorative Practices Workshops for my congregation to help build healthier relationships, as well as one Restorative Practices Worship in which we began to tackle the Characteristics of White Supremacy. I also led a Worship centered on introducing the Congregation to the 8th Principle and hope that is the beginning of our work to have the Congregation adopt it soon. I am excited to see what else I can bring back from this year’s General Assembly.
This $2000 dollars would be used for airfare, lodging and food while participating at the General Assembly. The reason for my late and desperate cry for help is a recent and unexpected decline in my income which I hope will increase soon (I have made some positive changes in employment), but the increases will not be in time for this event.
To My Non Unitarian Universalist Potential Funders and Angels,
General Assembly is what Unitarian Universalists call their annual meeting, and it is a time of moving our journey forward (business), celebrating with each other, grieving with each other, supporting each other, fellowshipping with and learning from each other. Feel free to email me KeciaMcMillian@gmail.com with any questions about the great value of this event.
Allison & Carol’s Excellent GA Adventure!
African Americans make up about 3% of Hawaii’s population. On many Sundays Carol and Allison are one of the very few, if not the only, African-Americans at First Unitarian Church of Honolulu – the only Unitarian Universalist church on the island of Oahu!
Allison is a 2nd generation UU whose parents were among the founding members of the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT. Carol is a relatively new UU for whom FUCH is the last church on the block after a long search for a spiritual home and she brings many gifts from her faith journey to her faith home here with UUs.
We need GA so we can replenish our depleted spiritual and ancestral reserves! We need to get refreshed and renewed so we can continue to use our gifts and talents at First Unitarian Church of Honolulu (FUCH)! We are requesting help from the wider Unitarian Universalist community to ensure that we are able to attend the UUA GA in Spokane. In order for there to be racial equity in UUism, it is crucial that people of color participate in the process on an ongoing basis. Although Hawaii is a multicultural state, FUCH is still working on being a multicultural congregation. We are asking you to support us in attending GA because, as leaders in our church and two of the very few people of color in FUCH, it is important that we get renewed by being able to tap into the greater Black UU and Indigenous, Black, People of Color (IBPOC) community on the continent for ideas and resources. Our participation in GA will be mutually beneficial for the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu (FUCH) and ourselves.
Resources and Expenses:
Our church raised approximately $1,000 and another $500 was received from the UUA for four church members to attend GA in Spokane this year. We each received ¼ of the church and UUA funds which amounts to $375 apiece. We have each included this $375 in this Faithify campaign.We are each volunteering 18 hours at GA in exchange for receiving the GA registration fee.
Airfare is the only transportation option for us to get from Honolulu, HI to Spokane, WA. Please help us bridge the geographic challenges that affect us on the island of Oahu. We are seeking funds for round trip airfare to Spokane, round trip ground transportation from the airport to GA, and room/board. We estimate that this trip to GA will cost as follows:
|Round Trip Airfare from Honolulu to Spokane||$ 750.00 x 2||$1,500|
|Round Trip Ground Transportation from airport to GA||$ 80.00 x 2||$160.00|
|Hotel $120 x 6 days each||$ 720.00 x 2||$1,440.00|
|Per diem for food ($50 x 6)||$300.00 x 2||$600.00|
Please read about each of our backgrounds, the work we do in our church community, and how we intend to use our GA experience.
Seminarian Seeks Support...
Denise Cawley is Unitarian Universalist seminarian at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. She seeks funds to offset the cost of food and lodging for General Assembly (GA) and plans to use leadership and arts of ministry tools she learns about at GA to serve our UU faith. Denise provides spiritual and emotional care chaplaincy at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and writes about the intersection of abortion and spirituality. Denise has long been a pivotal player in Milwaukee and Door counties working on diversity, inclusion, marriage equality and voting rights. Denise has written about and continues researching Florence Buck, one of our queer, anti-oppression Unitarian heroes few know enough about. Denise will use connections at GA to further her research in both abortion and UU women’s history to benefit our faith.
Denise has overcome many challenges to pursuing seminary and it has been said that there is never any doubt she will make it, the only question is how. Classmates and professors describe her as both prophetic and pastoral. The congregation she serves in Kenosha, WI have said many wonderful things about her service there including:
“Denise has the ability to turn the subject of stewardship from awkward to inspiring.”
“Denise responds to local events in a constructive manner, most recently co-authoring an article in the local newspaper addressing sexual harassment in the school district.“
“I see Denise as a thought leader in a larger congregation. She holds the big picture, has a great handle on the mission and can raise positive energy.”
Her committee on ministry reports: “She digs in, motivates us and executes. Denise has brought Bradford’s presence to the wider community through networking and media work. Denise has established boundaries that allow her to connect to us without hampering the professional relationship. Many of us have been on ministerial search committees in the past. We have been told that ministers are expected to be good administrators/fundraisers, good preachers and good counselors; and that if your minister is 2 out of 3 of these the congregation is fortunate. Denise is good at all three and as she continues in this internship and her education, she will be excellent at all 3.“
For these reasons and more, supporting Denise’s additional training and classes at GA, Ministry Days and the Ministerial Formation Network events in Spokane, we will be investing in our faith. Any additional money raised will be used for seminary expenses for her classes in Chicago this summer as well as the many books she needs for the MFC.
UU Marin Multi-community OWL Outreach Project
Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a curriculum for human sexuality, identity, gender, and relationships with self, family, friends, and significant others. The program focuses on Respect, Relationship, and Responsibility.
Unique in our OWL program this year is the participation of three UU congregations (UU Marin, UU Petaluma, and Berkeley Fellowship UU) and the Marin Waldorf School. A successful outreach campaign meant we had more students in a wider age-range register than one class could hold so we created two cohorts, thus needing a second teaching team.
We are ecstatic about having created space for more families to engage in OWL. We have active participation from thirteen families in this 10-session course. Most of the parents also attended a six-week OWL parent class deepening their own skills to communicate on these subjects with their children.
As can happen in growing programs, we did not have enough locally available certified teachers to meet the need. Hiring two teachers to commute in was necessary. This was not in our meager budget which usually has volunteer teachers. We need financial assistance to fill the gap in our budget. $25, $50, or $100 would help tremendously. It is OK if we “over fundraise” too.
We are just about to finish this two-cohort spring program for grades 4-7. This has been a tremendous opportunity for the Waldorf Community and the UU communities to come together and means that thirty-five more emissaries are being sent into the world, ready to share the good news of self-acceptance and respectful relationships.
Please make a contribution to support this outreach model.
This multi-community OWL program brought in 12 non-UU Marin families on 11 different Sundays. In addition to our Sunday morning programing, this increased our impact in the community by 28% with children and youth and by 42% when including parents as adult learners.
We are proud of the success in sharing the OWL resources outside of our UU circles. We intend to have deeper conversations with the Waldorf community about cooperation.
Two of the Marin Waldorf teachers are now signed up to be trained as OWL teachers.
The circle widens.
Thank you for your support in opening the circle.