Contents: * Oregon Interfaith Advocacy Day! * Deepening Democracy Campaign news * Economic Inequality news * Environmental Justice news * Human Rights news * Immigrant and Refugee Communities and Human Rights * Sanctuary Webinars - Congregations in Rough Times are Sanctuaries * The Women's March
Fifth Annual Meeting Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice November 8, 2014 10am to 4 pm Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis 2945 NW Circle Blvd, Corvallis, OR 97330
UUs from around the state will gather in Corvallis to decide statewide advocacy priorities for 2015 and create a plan for working together on those justice issues. We will report in on UU justice activities around the state, connect congregations and UUs, and commit to making our UU values known in the public square.
We will gain tools to help us advocate and educate, celebrate our recent successes, reflect on what we have learned, and share news about UUVfJ's organizational progress.
Beverages and light snacks provided. Bring lunch or purchase ($5 - reserve by Nov. 5) on-site.
Oregon UU Voices for Justice is one of fifteen statewide advocacy networks. For more information about ORUUVFJ, the annual meeting, or for instructions on submitting a proposal for action, go to www.uuvoicesoregon.org.
On September 21, about 35 UUs from several congregations in the Portland area, some of us wearing our bright yellow Standing on the Side of Love tee shirts, marched along with 3,000 other Oregonians in downtown Portland in solidarity with people from around the country in the largest climate march in history. The main march was in New York City, where approximately 1,500 UUs formed the second largest religious contingent, after the Catholics, among the 400,000 who marched to call on heads of state meeting at the UN to address climate change. Percentage wise, the participation of Oregon UUs in the Portland march was 3 TIMES the participation of UUs in the New York march.
It was inspiring to march with so many along Waterfront Park from the Hawthorne Bridge nearly to the Burnside Bridge and back again. It was doubly inspiring to know that so many others were marching all around the country.
Annual Meeting Agenda 9:30 am Check In 10 Welcome, Worship, and Introductions 10:30 Brief reports from representatives of congregations (Please check in early if you plan to report.) 11 Overview of SANs and ORUUVfJ 11:30 Presentation 12:15 Celebration of the Freedom to Marry 12:30 LUNCH (Please reserve early if you do not plan to bring your own lunch.) 1:15 Presentations of proposals and selection of our three 2014-15 issues 3:15 Team-building and planning next steps 3:45 Closing CeremonyBack to top 2014-15 Proposal Invitation and Guidelines Now inviting proposals for oneActionIssue and oneOpenissue. The UUVfJ Education issue for 2014-15 is Climate/Environment. (See description elsewhere in this newsletter.) That leaves us with two open slots. One needs to be an Environment/Climate action issue. The other is open: it can be aStudyissue,Educationissue, orActionissue on Climate/Environment or the other chosen issue from last year (Income Inequality/Poverty), or another issue entirely.
Last year participants building proposals were asked to include answers to the question "Why?", a link to UU Values, identified Resources, and a plan for how next steps.
Here's what to include in order to write a good proposal:
Description ("What") Please provide a brief summary of the issue and the position you are proposing.
Link to UU Values ("Why") Citing Study/Action issues or Actions of Immediate Witness, or positions taken by SANs in other states will show a link to our UU Values. The proposed position on the issue should be consistent with our UU Principles, Purposes and Sources. It should also be consistent with the UUVfJ mission.
External Support ("Resources") Support could involve partnerships with a UU Voices sponsored group, an interfaith group, or groups advocating for this issue, fundraising for aspects of the issue, orpromoting awareness of the issue. Please note opportunities for greater education about an issue or greater capacity to take action statewide. Has someone already developed materials we can use? Is there a 'rock star' willing to help on this issue? It pays to get creative on this one!
UUVfJ Membership Support ("Who") Any proposal needs support among members (or future members) of OR UUVfJ! Please have at least two, preferably 5 signatories on your proposal. They do NOT have to be from the same congregation. They do not have to be obtained before the annual meeting. The more people willing to work on it, the more likely we will make a difference!
Relevance to Oregonians ("Why Oregon") How would a statewide effort on your chosen issue improve a deeper understanding of the issue? How would a statewide effort improve capacity to take action on the issue? Why is this issue important to Oregonians in particular? Note if, and how, this issue will show up in this year's legislative session. Scaling our efforts to statewide scope will improve our impact.
An Education/Study/Action Plan ("How") The details can be developed during the annual meeting, but the clearer you are about the proposal's goals, the more likely it will chosen, and the more likely it will find traction among our congregations.
Proposals need to be submitted in writing by November 4. The proposal should be not more than one page. Submit to UU Voices for Justice firstname.lastname@example.org. - Pat Tangeman and Rev. Amy Beltaine
Being Unitarian Universalist informs our thinking on social justice issues. That includes consideration of this year’s state ballot measures. The election is just 3 weeks away as I write this. My voter pamphlet has arrived; my ballot will be in my mailbox soon.
Three ballot measures, in particular, speak to long standing Unitarian Universalist stances as exhibited by various UU Congregational Study Action Issues, Statements of Immediate Witness, significant projects undertaken by the Unitarian Universalist Association, and ongoing activities in our districts and congregations. We say these measures have “grounding” in our UU values.
Measure 88, Driver Cards: Provides Oregon resident “driver cards” without requiring proof of legal presence in the United States.
In 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona, the UUA devoted an entire General Assembly to justice work. Called the “Justice GA” it focused on many justice issues, but primarily on the plight of undocumented workers, primarily Hispanic, in Arizona and around the nation. We saw thousands of Standing on the Side of Love tee shirts, banners, and clerical stoles on the streets in Phoenix. Before and since then there have been efforts by our Standing on the Side of Love initiative and individual UUs around the country to make the US treatment of immigrants more humane and more just. One way to get into the deportation queue is to be caught driving without a license, yet people must get to work, take their children to the emergency room, and buy food.
The driver cards proposed in this measure mean that an undocumented Oregon resident can legally drive in Oregon. In addition drivers with these cards will be more likely to have insurance and to be familiar with the rules of the road. The driver card is specifically stated not to be a photo ID for other purposes. Being Unitarian Universalists asks us to vote yes on Measure 88.
Measure 89: "ERA" Amends constitution to require that neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state may deny or abridge equality of rights on account of sex.
This measure undoes actions of the Oregon Supreme Court that permit discrimination on account of sex if “justified by specific biological differences.”
Based on the UU First Principle to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, we have a long tradition of supporting equal rights for women. As far back as 1977, the General Assembly passed a resolution urging passage of the national Equal Rights Amendment. We have been in the forefront of accepting women in our pulpits and other leadership positions, and of working in the US and abroad to advance the status and rights of women. Being Unitarian Universalists asks us to vote yes on Measure 89.
Measure 92: "GMO Labelling" Requires food manufacturers and retailers to label “genetically engineered” foods as such. Gives the state and citizens the right to enforce the law.
In 2011 the General Assembly of the UUA in Charlotte, North Carolina adopted the Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating that came out of the Congregational Study Action Issue on the same topic. The Statement of Conscience contains many recommendations on the topic of eating, farming, and food distribution, and comes out of a long tradition, reaching back at least to the late 1980s, in the UUA, of seeing issues around food and hunger as both social justice issues and environmental stewardship issues.
Among the individual actions that are promoted in the Statement of Conscience is the call to support legislation that calls for the labeling of irradiated or genetically modified food. Being Unitarian Universalists asks us to vote yes on Measure 92.
Sources: 2014 Oregon Voter Pamphlet and the Unitarian Universalist Association web site,www.uua.org.
Board Selected Issue 2014-15: Climate Global Climate Change is an issue area that affects all of us, and will profoundly affect our children and our childrenʼs children. It is huge. Being such a big issue makes it perhaps a bigger challenge to choose a way to work that feels effective - but it also erases doubt that this is of great importance to all. UUʼs throughout the state are thinking about it, and working on it, in many ways.
This issue was one of the three chosen last year at our annual meeting. (Along with Income Inequality and Freedom to Marry.)
Your UU Voices for Justice board has chosen Global Climate Change/Environmental issues as our Education/Umbrella issue for 2014-15.
Below is the proposal, including some of a the reasons the board selected it. Let others in your congregation and in this organization know what justice issues are close to your heart and what you want to do about them. You may have a different theme that is important to you, perhaps so much that you want to write a proposal or you may want to improve of the below proposal!
- Barbara Dow
2014 DRAFT ISSUE AREA PROPOSAL for Presentation to UUVoices for Justice
ISSUE AREA: CLIMATE CHANGE/ENVIRONMENT
Description: Change in the earthʼs atmosphere leading to an increase in global average temperature and changes in climate is an issue that poses a threat to all people on this earth (as well as animals and plants), and is a trend that requires opposition, probably ranked among the most important by most UUʼs.
There are many parts of this issue. Some of the most immediate are high rates of use of carbon-based fuels for manufacturing and transportation, resulting in high rates of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, reduction by deforestation of the earthʼs capacity to hold carbon out of its atmosphere.
Some of the supporting and contributing parts are population growth and per capita consumption increases, economic and national interests in maintaining growth and lack of knowledge and agreement that this is happening.
Other congregations are working on Climate and Environmental issues (Is yours one of them?)
UUVfJ Support:The Board of ORUUVfJ.
Relevance to Oregonians: The timing is good, leading off from September's Climate March. Oregon is known as a "green" state. Oregon was the first state to enact a bottle bill and officially endorsed recycling in 1983 due in large part to the Oregon Environmental Council (founded in 1968.) The recent White House Report on Climate Change lists many concerns specific to the Pacific NW.http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/state-reports/OREGON_NCA_2014.pdf
Education Plan: There are many ways of fighting the urgent dangers and consequences of Climate Change. The Action Issue that will be chosen at the annual meeting may focus on one aspect of Climate change. (see below) As an umbrella issue this plan will focus on helping educate more people about all of these processes, and what we can do about them.
Both individuals and groups can fight climate change in these ways. Actions UUVoices could take (2014-2015.)
Request that each member of UUV choosing this issue attend the Interfaith Summit sponsored by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and Interfaith Power and Light January 17, 2015 in Portland.
Request that each lobby our state legislators on this issue iby: attend the lobby day at the Oregon Legislature focused on this issue; write personal letters to each of his/her state legislators explaining her/his perspective and requesting a specific action.
Request that each attend a local non UU meeting related to climate change, such as a meeting of Citizenʼs Climate Lobby (CCL), 350.org, Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) or an ad hoc group.
Request that each make a presentation to his/her congregationʼs climate change or global warming or earth ministry group, or social justice committee, or if there is no such group, talk with three congregants about this issue and possible actions.
Action plan proposals might focus on divestiture of investment in companies that are based on the extraction, processing and sale of carbon fuels, as well as companies that use disproportionately large amounts of such fuel, instituting a carbon tax, using less carbon fuel and carbon-based products, and supporting changes in state and national laws that are expected to accomplish or assist these changes.
At our recent strategic planning meeting, we discussed the need to recruit and maintain members. A membership/fundraising group was formed that included: Katie Larsell from East Rose, Sandy Hart from First Church, Joe Meier from UU Fellowship of Central Oregon and Pat Tangeman, chair and UU Voices Board member. This committee contacted State Action Networks through the US who were recommended by Judy Zimmerman, past UU Voices Coordinator, as stable organizations. We learned that most of the organizations had active member recruitment practices with annual dues and benefits to their members as well as grant funding.
We are beginning our membership recruitment at the upcoming annual meeting encouraging past members and interested potential members to join the UU Voices for Justice on a yearly basis. We are also encouraging congregations to join UU Voices.
We will share our new brochure at the annual meeting in Corvallis. The annual membership dues are as follows: $35 Regular, $50 Family, $15 Student, Lifetime Membership of one time contribution of $1000, Congregation membership: $1 per member annually up to $300 for congregations over 300 members.
The benefits for membership are a monthly newsletter with updates on state and national social action issues from a UU perspective, an annual meeting with updates and conversations with leaders in the Oregon social action community and training on how to encourage compassionate conversations and consultations on how to build viable social action committees in your congregation. -Pat Tangeman Back to topGive the Gift of Justice. Become a member of Oregon UU Voices for Justice. Already a member? Then renew your membership. Your membership keeps our prophetic UU voice alive. To join or renew click here http:// http://www.uuvoicesoregon.org/membership.html.
OR UU Voices Mission: Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice is a voice of liberal religious conscience in the state of Oregon. We educate and advocate for policies that promote respect, equity, compassion and global stewardship. We seek to empower Unitarian Universalists and their congregations to exercise their prophetic voice for justice in partnership with other organizations with similar goals.