UCH’s Beloved Conversations Alumni & Black Lives Matter Initiative
are sponsoring a screening and discussion of the 10-part unscripted documentary series America to Me, which examines race, class and economic issues through the voices of students attending Oak Park River Forest High School. The 10 episodes of this series will be screened and discussed over 7 Sunday afternoons, beginning January 13th, through February 24th, from 1 to 3 p.m. The dates are below. The screenings will be held in Joshi Chapel and are open to the public.
- 2/3: Watch Episodes 5 and 6
- 2/10: Watch Episode 7, Discuss
- 2/17: Watch Episodes 8 and 9
- 2/24: Watch Episode 10, Discuss
Together, UUANI – you, you and I – won some significant legislative successes last year. Hundreds of us sent thousands of emails to dozens of our legislators – and we visited many in person as well – and it made a difference. Following the lead of our statewide partners, we helped pass bills providing alternatives to incarceration and removing barriers to employment after incarceration; bills prohibiting Muslim or immigrant registries and protecting undocumented victims of domestic violence, human trafficking or sexual assault; state ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment; and most recently, a bill combatting illegal gun trafficking – all efforts affirming the worth and dignity of each person and our common interdependence.
We also piloted our first Voting Our Values campaign, promoting our 5th UU principle affirming the democratic process. Of the nine congregations around the state that encouraged members and others to register and vote, three were in Illinois’ 6th Congressional district, which elected a representative far more reflective of our UU values than his predecessor. Of course we didn’t do that by ourselves, but we did our part.
We’ll be rolling out our 2019 agenda on Valentine’s Day – since, as Cornel West says, justice is what love looks like in public. This will include legislative initiatives, again following the lead of our partners, in our four key areas: economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and immigrant justice. Look for an email on February 14 with ways for you to get involved and support our shared work towards justice, beloved community and a healthy planet this year. We’ll have a special statewide conference call on February 28 for you to learn more and share your ideas.
We are also organizing or supporting a number of upcoming gatherings around the state this spring (see below) – from Green Team and Cluster gatherings in northern Illinois to our Statewide UU Justice Gathering in Alton right before Regional Assembly in St Louis. We will also be mobilizing for advocacy days at the Capitol in Springfield in March and May.
But the core of our work continues to be strengthening UU congregations and powering UU participation in the larger movement for justice. Towards that end, I’ve been doing workshops around the state for several years. What I’ve found is that there’s lots of interest and energy out there, but it takes sustained leadership to organize that energy into cohesive and sustainable efforts.
That’s why we’re launching the UUANI Social Justice Leadership Corps, a six-month program to develop teams to lead these efforts in our congregations, as well as collectively across the state. We plan to launch our first cohort in February, a second cohort late next summer, and a third next winter. Please let us know if you are interested.
- Saturday, January 26, 9:30am-1:30pm: UUANI Chicagoland Green Team Gathering.
- Saturday, February 9, 9:00am-1:00pm: UUANI Northern IL Cluster Gathering – for UU congregations in DeKalb, Elgin, McHenry Rockford, Rockton, and Stockton.
- Thursday, February 28, 7:30-8:30pm: UUANI Statewide Conference Call on our 2019 agenda.
- Saturday March 2, 7:00-8:30pm: Healing Racial Justice Public Forum with Pastor Danny Givens at Rockford UU.
- Saturday, March 16, 6:30-9:00pm: Help Needed: A Mental Health Crisis in the Criminal Justice System presented by the UU Prison Ministry of Illinois.
- Tuesday, March 26: Springfield Advocacy Day for racial and economic issues.
- Friday, April 5, 1:00-5:00pm: UUANI Statewide Justice Gathering in Alton (just prior to the start of Regional Assembly in St Louis).
- Thursday, May 9: Environmental Advocacy Day in Springfield.
Peace and Power,
Rev. Scott Aaseng (he/him/his), Executive Director
Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI)
The Social Justice Circle…
brings together ten teams to ensure that we are coordinated, and to find opportunities for deepening connections. The Social Justice Circle teams include Animal Ministry, Black Lives Matter, Green Sanctuary,PADS Homeless Shelter, Prison Ministry, Reproductive Choice, and Welcoming Congregation. These teams work together with the UUANI, DuPage United, and, very soon, YaYA Justice teams in connecting with other faith communities and partners to advance our values. For more detailed information, most teams are listed separately on this website
At the root of our UU faith is that we are all connected;we are more ourselves, the more we connect with others. So join the work of the Social Justice Circle and see what we can accomplish together! For info, contact email@example.com.