SOCIAL JUSTICE ANNUAL REPORT
The Board of Trustees completed the Nested Bowls process with Unity Consulting in May, 2017. Having thereby identified UUCE’s values, mission and ends for the coming years, the Social Justice coordinators have a clear path forward. Social Justice programs continue at UUCE: feeding the hungry, supporting victims of domestic violence, funding the efforts of victims of poverty in other countries to support themselves and their communities, and, as allies, striving to know people of color and support their expressed needs and concerns.
- FEED the HUNGRY: Elgin Cooperative Ministry, whose mission is “providing food for those in need,” sponsors the annual Elgin Area CROP WALK for Hunger under the auspices of Church World Service, and also runs “soup kettles” at various Elgin churches and food pantries in area communities throughout the year. This year 4 members of UUCE walked in the Elgin Area CROP WAlk, and raised over $1300 of the total $26,000. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds are used for local residents in need. In January 2017, Tom Durkin organized UUCE volunteers (five on one Monday each month) at the dinner soup kettle at First Methodist Church in downtown Elgin. UUCE continues to donate food monthly to the Interfaith Food Pantry, where Norm Wilkinson is a volunteer manager, and Henny DuBois is our liaison for monthly donations of food.
- Diapers for Dignity: a drive was begun in November, 2015, in cooperation with the Community Crisis Center (an ongoing social justice partner.) UUCE has chosen to continue donating disposable diapers monthly with leadership from Bob Jackson until research provides a more economical way to expand the program and source diapers at reduced bulk prices.
- FINCA Village Banking: In past years, UUCE has funded a total of five Village Banks, in the countries Malawi, Haiti, Zambia and Afghanistan. Mark A. Smith, from FINCA will be our guest speaker this year and will be given a check to fund our sixth village bank.
- Anti-racism: Discussion of several books on anti-racism has continued throughout the year,building on prior study of the UUA curriculum “ Examining Whiteness” and discussion of The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander.This year about thirty congregants discussed Between the World and Me, by Ta’nehesi Coates and Darkening the Doorway, by Mark Morrison-Reed, whom we welcomed to our pulpit in the Fall of 2016. The congregation placed a Black Lives Matter banner at the entrance to the church driveway, and twice replaced it when it was stolen. Rev. Leslie provided the Safety Pin Box as a model of reparation and activism by White people on behalf of Black Americans. These participants form an informal group who have expressed willingness to engage in exploration of anti-racism perspectives and action. We participated on April 23, 2017 with hundreds of UU congregations in a “White Supremacy Teach-In” with resources provided by the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, acknowledging that the United States continues to be profoundly affected by our legacy of racial oppression and must act to educate, legislate and alleviate the impact of racism in our society.
Respectfully Submitted by Elizabeth Olson and Andrea Schmidlin, Social Justice Coordinators