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.
New congregational t-shirts are ready to order for ONLY $15! They have Side With Love on the front and our congregational logo on the back. The Side With Love logo is part of a national UU brand for use at justice actions. When people see lots of us in our yellow shirts, we have an impact and people get curious. We hope to use these for local actions as well as the Poor People’s Moral March on Washington June 18. Adult unisex sizes S- 6 XL. Shirt orders will be taken after services in the social hall through May 22 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, with your size order, and you will get instructions for payment.
On April 24, a handful of guests came inside The Storefront for homemade mac and cheese plus lunch bags and coffee. It was a hit! While John and Jean Martin served food, Jan Devereaux assisted guests in line for showers by passing out toiletries, towels and fresh underwear.
Have you been missing being at the Ohio City soup kitchen UUCC supports? The experience is both rewarding and energizing. Now, in addition to preparing food, there’s a need for a few people to help during our fourth Sunday turns. Mostly likely, your part would be to pass out food or help with showers.
The plans are a work-in-progress. For more information, write us at email@example.com.
— Jean Martin, Laurie Holmes and Jean Ellsworth-Wolk
The Urban Hope team serves on a task force that includes other area UU congregations.
We’re looking at the past, present and future, including brainstorming to see how we can make an even greater difference. We want to know what congregants think here at home. So, considering your involvement with UUCC so far, how are you feeling about this social justice project? What do you want to do in the future? Pick one, two or all the choices!
What? You haven’t yet had a chance to volunteer? Hop on board! We want to hear from you!!
Would you prefer to:
- Take a turn at making lunch bags
- Pass lunch bags on site at The Store Front (4241 Lorain Road in Ohio City). FYI, Masking required of everyone.
- Cook in the UUCC kitchen when we start dinners again (it WILL happen)
- Buy or donate food for the meals when we cook again
- Serve dinners at UH when we start again
- Do you have other ideas? We may be expanding our reach. Please let us know!!
Please email your thoughts to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jean Martin, Laurie Holmes and Jean Ellsworth-Wolk
Lunch bag meals are still the offering 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 at email@example.com
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 congregation 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 held 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.
Winter 2022 we sponsored a 5-week Adult RE class on the proposed 8th Principle and the UUA process of updating the current Principles. We are exploring UUCC’s adoption of the 8th Principle as part of that process and what the implications for action would be if adopted.
In addition to educational opportunities, RJLT advocated for the inclusion of racial justice as part of our new congregation’s strategic plan, sponsored a candlelight vigil for George Floyd, and supported the impetus to hang a Black Lives Matter, a Gay Pride Rainbow flag, along with an Earth flag from the front of the Building. We are reviewing our congregation’s progress in breaking down white supremacist structures with a Racial Justice Audit. We are encouraging every committee and group at UUCC to spend time exploring or doing an activity involving racial justice, and support other groups in the congregation to offer movies, book discussions and other opportunities to consider aspects of systemic racism. The Members of the RJ Leadership Team are Kerry Breitenbach, Erika Brown, Pat Dillard, Christie Manning, Roschell Ogjubi, Rev. Randy Partain 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 congregation’s 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 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.