Social Action at SFUU
The Ministry of Social Action
Reflecting our Unitarian Universalist identity and our congregation's desire to make a difference in our community and the world, we have several projects we participate in, groups we affiliate with, and causes we support.
The Social Action Committee (SAC) meets approximately once a month to check in with our special project coordinators. SAC also partners with individuals in the congregation and with organizations in the community to make the world a more just place. Contact any committee member to join this dynamic team. Our co-chairpeople are Lisa Boch and Janie Evans.
Sometimes things happen in the world that require a group of us to show up in solidarity. The Rapid Response Team has in the past responded to events that call individuals of conscience to bear immediate witness. Because of our desire to ally ourselves with the nationwide “Standing On The Side Of Love” campaign, we have purchased a large banner bearing those words to proclaim our presence as “the Love people” at future events. If you would like to be contacted for these actions, please send an email to our co-chair Janie at email@example.com
The Gathering Inn
Our next dinner for The Gathering Inn homeless guests will be Saturday, May 11, at Pioneer Methodist Church. We will be recruiting volunteers for serving, cooking, cleaning and words of encouragement, so stay tuned! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Equal Exchange Is More Than Fairly-Traded Caffeine and Sugar…So Much More
Each month, we like to let you know about the decadent delights awaiting you on the Equal Exchange table at the back of Fellowship Hall. This month, we thought you might like to hear about the types of projects this organization supports. Not only does it help provide a chance for struggling farmers around the world to earn a fair wage for their products, but funds from specific products also are used to address a broader set of needs.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, known for a time as Zaire) has been steeped in the chaos of conflict for decades—its people, creatures, and landscapes caught in wars in which millions have died or had their lives irrevocably altered. Not only are its people subject to regular violence, but sexual assault as a weapon of conflict has become commonplace.
Meanwhile, everyday life must still play out: food must be grown, livings must be made, and children must laugh and play. Equal Exchange (EE) has found a way to play a small part in helping these puzzle pieces of life come together through work with a coffee farmers’ cooperative. The SOPACDI cooperative, founded in 2002 by Joachim Munganga to reduce ethnic violence and take advantage of the specialty coffee market, now supports more than 5,600 farmers, of whom 15% are women.
In 2011, EE began working with SOPACDI to create a blend called the Congo Coffee Project. Today, $1 from each 16-ounce bag purchased helps to fund programs that support women who have been subjected to sexual assault, as well as their children. Through the Panzi Hospital, in Bukavu—a city on the eastern edge of the DRC—these programs treat 250 to 300 women per day for injuries or complications sustained during an assault. They also provide literacy and work-skills training, so that patients may find a way to support themselves and their children after leaving the hospital. A program called Aire de Jeux (French for playground) provides children a safe place to play while their mothers recover. That’s a lot of good being done, and support of EE’s coffee projects facilitates a small portion of that good.
If you would like to find out more about this project, check out http://equalexchange.coop/congo-coffee-project. You can read a more in-depth article about it in “Fresh Cup,” a specialty coffee magazine, at http://freshcup.epubxp.com/i/117072/54. If you are interested in specifically supporting this effort, ask Heidi Knost (email@example.com ) to add this blend to her next order.
Please note that after May 1, a surcharge will be added to any purchase in order to pay for packing EE products in ice until October 1. Thanks for your support of EE!
The Auburn Interfaith Food Closet
The Food Closet is open one Saturday each month, with the member churches rotating responsibility for working it. SFUU’s Saturday was April 27. Many thanks to those who were able to help: Harriet Stephens, Bonnie Dahl, Stevie Rea, and Laurie Soper.
Volunteering at the Food Closet is incredibly rewarding. If you have considered it but don’t know how to volunteer or what is involved, contact Laurie Soper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-887-8044….or stop by the information table that we will have after services one Sunday in May (date still to be determined).
Immigration Reform: Update
After services on April 14, our congregation, in concert with Placer People of Faith Together (PPoFT) and the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California (UULMCA), presented “Immigration: The Case for Compassionate Reform.” Our keynote speaker was Richard Hobbs, prominent immigration attorney and advocate for immigration reform, who had just returned from meetings with legislative representatives on reform legislation. He spoke passionately about the legal issues surrounding immigration and the real life legal issues of immigrants under current law. After his keynote speech, we heard “Dreamer,” an undocumented student at Placer High School who has qualified for the administration’s Deferred Action provision for young immigrants to attain legal residence in the U.S.
We also heard from Flora Csontos of PPoFT about the efforts of Placer People of Faith Together and neighboring PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing) affiliate Sacramento Area Congregations Together
ACT) in meeting with local legislators and organizing a large interfaith rally for immigration reform on March 6 in Sacramento. Then Reverend Lindi Ramsden, of the UULMCA, spoke about legislative efforts in California to improve the lives of immigrants through lobbying for the TRUST Act, which would cut off some of the cooperative efforts between federal immigration officials and law enforcement in California.
An informative Q & A session followed the presentations. The event was well attended, with UU members from other congregations, including Davis, Sacramento, and Grass Valley. An audio recording of the proceedings is available. If you are interested in listening to this recording, please contact Janie Evans at email@example.com.
Ongoing opportunities for involvement in immigration reform in the region include:
· Detention visitation group, providing visits to detainees held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Faithful Friends. Contact Mary Helen Doherty of Sacramento UU at firstname.lastname@example.org or Carol Ann Jones of the Grass Valley UU at email@example.com
· UULMCA, providing lobbying of California state elected officials to separate local law enforcement from immigration actions of ICE, for example, through support of the TRUST Act. Please see http://uulmca.org/main.html for upcoming dates and ways to get involved.