UUSJ Newsletter - Fall 2014
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice


An affiliate of the Chicago Area Unitarian Universalist Council
Andrew T. Fisher, Editor & Communications Director
1448 East 52nd Street, PM Box 144
Chicago, IL 60615
Phone: 773-595-4921 / E-mail: uusj@sbcglobal.net
Web site: http://www.uusforsocialjustice.org


Chair’s Corner:
Thanks to the many activities that UU churches are doing in the Chicago area.  The UUSJ Prisons and Restorative Justice Task Force hosted Author Nell Bernstein Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison at UCE for a book signing and panel discussion with leaders in the Chicago Area to provide restorative justice and other alternatives to juvenile prisons.  Over 125 people attended from several UU and other area churches, from advocacy and legal groups, and from sponsoring organizations including Curt’s Café, Juvenile Justice Initiative of Illinois, and Moran Centerfor Juvenile Advocacy, and Project NIA. That stack of books went like a stack of hotcakes.  Our Peace Task Force is considering reading and discussing it together.


Nell Bernstein presenting passages from her book


Book signing by Nell Bernstein


Sherrif, Elijah, Ethan, and Nell

The Prisons and Restorative Justice Task Force will encourage attendees to support policy change in keeping with Bernstein’s message that juvenile prisons cannot be reformed and that youth rehabilitation takes place only in the context of positive relationships with caring adults.
In another exciting event, UCE is hosting a national conference on income inequality Feb. 20-22, and would like to get a lot of support from neighboring UU churches for this event.

 

Report of the Task Force on Economic Justice and Homelessness

Members of this task force, some of whom were voters at the 2014 UUA General Assembly, were pleased that Income Inequality was selected as the next Congregational Study Action Issue.  This summer some members of this task force participated in setting up an Income Inequality discussion group for members of our denomination.
The 2014 versions of the Chicago and Suburban Chicago “If YOU or Someone Your Know” resource sheets were distributed to our Chicago area, Illinois UU congregations, many non-profits, numerous social workers, and others who have requested the annual updates, in May.  If you know of a non-profit organization, social worker, or others who should be on the list to receive those updates, but isn’t currently receiving them, please let the author of this column know.
We received two nominations for the most recent Home and Hope Booster grant.  At its meeting on July 12 the Task Force on Economic Justice and Homelessness approved a Home and Hope Booster grant nomination submitted by the minister of People’s Church.  The nomination was in support of the 2’Lil Fishes Lunch Program, which provides free lunches six days a week to the homeless and other poor residents of Uptown.  Over 2,000 meals are provided most months.  The program also hires four homeless individuals part time, to give them experience in food service.  Those individuals who establish good work records at 2’Lil Fishes receive referrals for the culinary training programs provided by the Greater Chicagoland Food Depository and/or Inspiration Café and are frequently accepted into those programs, which lead to good jobs.   The 2’Lil Fishes Lunch Program costs People’s Church about $75,000 per year, which the church works to cover through contributions from a variety of sources.
A total of four people from two congregations (People’s Church – which is a joint UU and UCC congregation – and Second Unitarian Church) serve on the Development Committee, providing over 200 hours of service per year.  Volunteers from People’s Church provide direct help to the program on a seasonal basis, providing roughly 100 hours of service per year.  People’s Church provides $3,000 a year in cash contributions to the program and rent free space.  Additional contributions are provided by other UU congregations and individuals.  We congratulate People’s Church for keeping the 2’Lil Fishes lunch program ongoing.
This task force initiated one Action Alert in recent months, in support of an expanded childcare program for homeless families.  This legislation had passed the U.S. Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of support, but had not  yet been taken up in the House, so the Action Alert target our Representatives in the House, so as to get that legislation moving in that chamber.
Several members of this task force participated in a public witness event at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago on July 28, supporting those who have been hurt by mal-administration of human services by the Illinois Dept. of Human Services, as they testified about their experiences.  Several Illinois legislators and the Secretary of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services attended and pledged to make changes to improve the administration of human services in the state.
This task force will hold its next meeting on Saturday, February 7, 2015, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., at Peoples Church, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago.  If coming on the Red Line, get off at the Lawrence stop and walk about one and a half blocks east on Lawrence Ave.  All are welcome.
Allan Lindrup, Task Force Chair, uusj@sbcglobal.net  or 773-595-4921

 

Prisons and Restorative Justice Task Force Report

We invited Nell Bernstein to give a program on her new book – Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison – at UCE recently (see page one). The task force will meet Oct. 7 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Report from the Unitarian Universalist Multiracial Unity Action Caucus (UUMUAC)

 

“The Unity of the Light and Dark Skinned People of the World.”

The Unitarian Universalist Multiracial Unity Action Caucus
By co-chair, the Executive Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Multiracial Unity Action Caucus (UUMUAC) aka the Mack

First, let me present the basic information of the meeting we held at the Unitarian Church of Evanston on Saturday, September 13, 2014.  An action alert was sent to Senator Kirk urging him to support the Smarter Sentencing Act which would cut non-violent federal sentences.  We discussed racism and global climate change and the racism in the criminal justice system.  We also discussed efforts to bring more UUMUAC workshops to more Chicago area UU churches.

Now, I would like to present an essay based on those remarks, specifically as related to racism and global climate change, neo-liberalist fascism (the military-police state structure), and imperialist war.  I argued that to fight against these issues, we needed a vision of multiracial Unitarian Universalism.  I assert that our slogan should be:  Asian, Latin Black Red White; against a racist imperialist system we must fight.

First, I assert that global climate change is being generated by a finance-driven imperialist capitalist system, stretching from Afghanistan to Zanzibar resulting in:  unusual spikes in temperatures; droughts and huge, flash floods; premature snows storms and melting Arctic ice.  Sea levels rising and huge water shortages.  Clearly rank and file people of color living in affected areas will suffer and are suffering, now.

Moreover, isn’t it interesting that many of the climate change deniers in the US are mainly neo-racists – white and non-white -- who hate black working class people?  And they are beholding to large corporations whose profits depend on keeping Congress from even passing reformist laws dealing with climate change.  And all the while, we have workers, students, and professionals of color, as well as their white counterparts, suffering from the effects of climate change.  
Well what about this neo-liberalist fascism?  

When I was a kid, we associated fascism with Nazism and Klansmen and the liberals and their radical allies led the fight against this fascism.  But now a new kind of liberalism has come on the scene, called neo-liberalism, which believes that you need some kind of fascism to keep law and order in society.  The main policy of this kind of fascism has to do with creating a brutal criminal injustice system.  21st century fascism has a variety of forms: the intensification of incarceration for juveniles and adults, mainly hitting workers of color, but also hitting white workers as well.

Militarization of police forces worldwide, like we saw down in Ferguson, Missouri.  Most of all, there is a definite increase in what I call police brutalism.  You know, beatings, killings, letting people die in custody.  Thousands of blacks and Latinos have been shot or killed, and also whites, by police officers without punishment in most cases.  This is laying the basis for a military-police state. Look what was done to the Occupy Movement.

Finally, there is the struggle between US imperialists and its allies and the Eurasian imperialists and their allies is heating up.  You got a two front war developing.  There’s the anti-Russian driven Ukrainian issue and there’s the anti-Islamic ISIS issue.  You got this plan to arm the Free Syrian Army, to drop bombs on Syria without its permission, and some are advocating sending US troops to Syria.  And it’s largely about who is going to control the oil and natural gas in Ukraine, Iraq, and in Syria.  The same old fossil fuel types which are causing global warming and using fascism in the first place.  And what is being used to help whip up the war fever?  Racism.  Racism against the so-called radical Islamists and anyone who is alleged to support them and racism against the Russians as led by Putin.  Some neo-racists argue that Russians are not truly “white” because of their Slavic-Asian ancestry.  Ordinary Russian workers and peasants used to be called the Dark People. And, of course, a lot of the Ukrainian nationalists are out and out racists.

To conclude: until the Beloved Community is established as a global, historic reality, these evils will continue to exist.  So, a major step in creating such a community is to oppose racism in all its forms with multiracial Unitarian Universalism: this the Mac is striving to do within and beyond Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice.  For more information contact us at:

Finleycampbell5222@comcast.net   773-752-4019

 

UUSJ Peace Task Force Report

The Peace Task Force made an appeal to CAUUC churches for new members to our Task Force.  CAUUC church members and friends were invited to join in on our most recent events.  The first event, a celebration of International Peace Day took place Sept.19 at Daley Plaza in Chicago. The event included speakers, entertainment and a flag parade featuring the flags of 193 countries.  An excellent event, but I saw only three UU participants.  Our next quarterly will be on February 7, 2015 at Peoples Church, 941 W. Lawrence Avenue in Chicago.  You can attend in person or by conference call.  If you are interested in the peace issue, please contact Gene Horcher at 773-561-5296 or e-mail horcher@att.net and you will be invited to our next meeting.

    
UUSJ Environmental Task Force Report

The UUSJ Environmental Task Force issued two Action Alerts: 

We issued one environmental educational insert on

Recent environmental UU congregational activity:

 Our next meeting will be held on Sunday, January 4, 2015.  They normally take place in the LaSalle Street Metra station at 3:00 PM.  The LaSalle Metra station is south off Van Buren and just west of Clark – just past the triangular prison.

Andrew T. Fisher – Chair

847-492-1832 or fishorgn1580@gmail.com