Thank you for the opportunity to be with you last Sunday morning. Thank you also for your generosity to the Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of Illinois. As we turn to renewing our inner lives, we can also be sure that we work for the liberation of all people. I wanted to follow up with you about some action you can take to make a difference to the lives of those who are incarcerated and their loved ones. First, please like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UUPrisonMinistryofIllinois for updates on calls to action and related media and training.
Secondly, the Illinois Department of Corrections is not conducting enough Covid-19 tests to provide an accurate count of people who are ill. Even with this underestimate, an alarming number of our friends inside are infected. Everyone is living in intolerable conditions where they cannot take the advised precautions to protect themselves from the virus. As of mid-August, 261 people in Stateville, 93 at East Moline and 72 women at Logan are reported to have Covid-19, and we know that far more people in these prisons were exposed and are being held in quarantine. Of the 602 reported cases of people in custody with Covid-19 since March, just 365 are listed as recovered. PLEASE call Governor Pritzker (217-782-0244) and Lt. Governor Stratton (217-558-3085) and ask them to release people from IDOC. By focusing on older people (who almost never are re-arrested), people with medical conditions that increase their risk of death, and people within six months of release, Illinois can release enough people from prison to make social distancing possible inside, to reduce the spread and prevent more deaths. IDOC must increase testing and provide prompt medical care when people inside report that they are ill.
Thirdly, now more than ever, those inside and outside can benefit from a pen pal relationship. And during this time of pandemic, forming a solidarity circle in your congregation can become a transformative part of enlivening our Unitarian Universalist faith and your congregation’s mission. Please visit our CLF pen pal page http://www.uupmi.org/penpals.html?fbclid=IwAR1eJFHHcrCWvTGqXARF87rx84Mbus1GDrDfXkdNROcWqKNcDx0MFF6npNo to begin your pen pal journey! And be in touch if you are interested in learning more about Solidarity Circle ministries http://www.uupmi.org/solidarity-circles.html?fbclid=IwAR1eJFHHcrCWvTGqXARF87rx84Mbus1GDrDfXkdNROcWqKNcDx0MFF6npNo that are led by recently released people in your community.
Please be sure to like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UUPrisonMinistryofIllinois for updates on advocacy involvement as it comes, and thank you for your continued commitment to enlivening love and justice with others in the world!
Rev. Allison Farnum