Social and Racial Justice
Congregational members at UUCC are involved with social and racial justice as individuals, as a congregation and in association with other community groups, local and national to make our voices stronger. Below is a list of some of our groups and associations.
Following the August vacation of the Urban Hope Storefront, lunch bag meals are back in action for our Urban Hope guests. For UUCC volunteers, this means gathering family, friends or small groups to prepare portable meals for our hungry guests who pick up at The Storefront, 4241 Lorain Ave. in Ohio City. The UUCC turn is the fourth Sunday of every month. We provide 30 meals in paper bags usually filled with a deli-type sandwich (preferably no ham or peanut butter), chips, cookies, soft fruit like oranges or fruit cup with a spoon and a drink. The Urban Hope team can pick up your items and deliver if you wish. There’s a budget so don’t hesitate to ask for reimbursement. Just submit your receipts. BTW, In-person meals are still pending. For more information or to volunteer, email us.
Jean Martin, Jean Ellsworth-Wolk, Laurie Holmes
UU the vote offers workshops and actions to encourage voting and voting awareness through out the country. UU the Vote in Ohio is partially supported by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Here in Ohio, through Unitarian Universalist Justice organization (UUJO), we are partnered with a collaborative called Every Vote Matters in Ohio. The focus is on Voter Advocacy (education, registration, and support). Knowing your efforts are part of a coordinated plan helps keep the momentum going. Whether you like to call, text, write, go door to door, sponsor house parties, or other options, there is something everyone can do.
Laurie Albright is the contact person who can help you get involved, or you can go directly to the UU The Vote Website
Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio (UUJO) is a 501C3 organization that serves the 38 UU congregations and fellowships across Ohio. Their mission is to offer education, advocacy, and action consistent with Unitarian Universalist liberal religious principles and to witness with and on behalf of marginalized groups and individuals. Members of UUCC join this group to make our voices stronger. UUJO organizes and engages in the following:
- Engage in Voter Advocacy: education, voter registration and support to get out the vote
- Organize to amplify our voices for justice in public witness events
- Engage in ongoing Ohio Statehouse education and testimony work to bring our UU voice to the state legislature
- Support our Immigrant Transit Assistance teams in Ohio that greet asylum-seeking families with much needed food, water, diapers, and hygiene items
- Coach and advise justice teams within congregations
- Offer our Annual Assembly and Spring Justice Gatherings throughout the state
- Expand our social media outreach to engage with more people within and beyond our congregations
- Bring messages of hope, justice and liberation to congregations and our wider communities, Speaking Truth to Power in Ohio.
Laurie Albright is a contact person if you want to know more. Tadd Pinkston is currently on the UUJO Board and Rina Shere is on the Nominating Committee.
To receive the monthly “UUJO News” and timely updates on justice-related workshops, seminars, webinars and special UUJO “Calls to Action please sign up on their website.
The goal of the Racial Justice Leadership Team (RJLT) is to lead the congregation in developing and living out an intentionally anti-racist identity in all aspects of church life. RJLT was formed prior to the reunification of First Church and UU Society with members from both
congregations participating. Within the first month post-merger, we conducted worship services and an afternoon discussion of Robin D’Angelo’s book, White Fragility. In Winter 2020, we offered the UU Fahs Institute curriculum, Beloved Conversations, through which 40 UUCC members participated in a week-end retreat and eight additional weeks of small group meetings. Additionally we presented a worship service about the Beloved Conversations experience and hosted a forum on white privilege. In the fall of 2020, another 17 UUCC members participated in a virtual Beloved Conversations model.
In addition to educational opportunities, RJLT engaged in direct actions. We advocated for the inclusion of racial justice as part of our new congregation’s strategic plan. We sponsored a candlelight vigil in memory of George Floyd, a black American who was murdered in Minneapolis by a police officer who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes in May of 2020. We worked to obtain a Black Lives Matter banner, a gay pride rainbow banner, and an Earth flag banner for hanging on the front of the building to express some of the values of our congregation to our wider community. We continue to review our congregation’s progress in breaking down white supremacist structures and to support other congregational groups offering movies, book discussions, and opportunities to otherwise consider aspects of systemic racism.
The Members of the Racial Justice Leadership Team are Erika Brown, Rev. Joe Cherry, Pat Dillard, Christie Manning, Valerie McFadden, Roschelle Ogbuji and Nancy King Smith, Chair. Anyone interested in the Team’s work can contact Nancy King Smith for help finding a place to become involved, starting with the Building Authentic Diversity covenant group.
Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) is a non-partisan coalition of faith communities and partner organizations in Cuyahoga County working together for social justice. As a catalyst for systemic change, GCC challenges Greater Clevelanders to imagine the change we can accomplish, connect individuals and organizations to multiply our power, and mobilize our members by the thousands to make our voices heard. GCC unites people across lines of race, class, religion, and geography to promote public, private and civic sector actions which strengthen and improve the quality of life of our neighborhoods.
GCC is a Congregational membership-based organization, so individual people cannot belong (although they can certainly contribute individually!). So, by default, anyone who is a member/friend of our congregation can participate in GCC activities.
Laurie Albright is the official delegate from our congregation and Pam Gibbon is our alternate delegate. UUCC’s Core team members presently are Vern Sackman, Bev Austen, Pat Dillard, along with Pam and Laurie.
Urban Hope is an Ohio City storefront soup kitchen that area Unitarian churches support. In non-Covid times, UUCC volunteer opportunities include buying ingredients, communally cooking (in the church kitchen), and serving the meal, plus donating other items. Volunteers are always welcome. Our congregations turn is the 4th Sunday of each month.
Please contact us to get involved
The Urban Hope Team:
Jean Martin, Laurie Holmes, Jean Ellsworth-Wolk
The IMPACT Youth Enrichment Program is an afterschool prevention program for Shaker Heights Middle School 7th and 8th graders in collaboration with UUCC and the Shaker Heights Youth Center. The program promotes leadership, service, wellness and academics, and runs in Fellowship Hall on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30. The program is always looking for church volunteers to share a talent or lend a hand to the 20 or so youth who participate.
Please visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/impactyouthenrichmentprogramshakerheights
For more information, contact Program Director Sandy Troupe, firstname.lastname@example.org
FDR Partners – Since February of 2017, UUCC has had a partnership with Franklin D. Roosevelt Academy to bring youngsters and oldsters together in service to students’ academic achievement and social-emotional growth. Congregants have participated in a variety of efforts:
- Tutoring in the MOSTS (Mentoring One Student to Succeed) program
- Supporting parent engagement
- Supporting the annual musical production
- Fund raising for school uniforms and 8th grade trip to Washington DC are some of the many opportunities available.
For more information contact MaryEllen McNulty, UUCC FDR Tutoring Coordinator.
The Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail is a group of community activists organized to demand change and accountability from elected officials responsible for conditions at the jail. The group attends official meetings, organizes protests targeted at specific concerns, and promotes a list of demands. Newcomers are always welcome. The coalition meets monthly at the Khnemu Foundation Lighthouse, 966 E 105th Street, Cleveland, OH 44108.
For more information, contact Laurie Albright.
Authentic Diversity Covenant Group – Each of us lives in a culture of conscious and unconscious ways of being in the world. Now more than ever, we need to build relationships effectively across difference – including race, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, and more. This requires each of us to understand our own culture and how we can connect across difference. This covenant group, meeting on third Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., creates space to support each other in doing the personal and congregational work to manifest the Beloved Community that welcomes everyone.
For more information, contact Jeremy Holmes, email@example.com.