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.
Dear GCC Leaders,
GCC’s Pretrial Justice (formerly “Bail Reform”) Team is meeting on February 7th, 7 pm on zoom.
Please join us, with the link below.
• Since our last meeting in June 2022, we have learned much through research actions, interviews, reports and other sources.
• Our commitment to prevent unjust jail before trial meshes with the County’s concerns about a new or renovated jail and how many should be in jail.
• We need system change. We have a new County Executive and some new County Council members and some newly elected Judges. We have openings for that change.
We will meet on February 7th to refine our commitment and to plan that change.
Please register in advance using this link:
You will receive a link to join the meeting following registration.
Pretrial Justice Team
Over 934 GCC leaders and guests heard compelling information and facts from experts about Cuyahoga County’s overuse of Discretionary Youth Bindover, the process of transferring children under age 18 to adult court and, if convicted, sentencing them to adult prison.
A highlight of the evening was the testimony of Ronnie Cannon, who spent 19 years in adult prison after being bound over to adult court at age 16. “We talk about giving youth a second chance,” said Cannon. “According to my experience, we are not even given a first chance.”
A panel consisting of Cannon, who is now a Community Engagement Manager at Towards Employment; Gabriella Celeste, policy director for the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University; Leah Winsberg, staff attorney at the Children’s Law Center; Katherine Sato, assistant state public defender at the Youth Defense Department of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender; and TaKasha Smith, executive director and policy director at the Juvenile Justice Coalition; shared recommendations for changes in youth bindover policies and practice in Cuyahoga County.
The public hearing was also attended by Juvenile Judge-elect Anne McDonough and County Executive-elect Chris Ronayne.
GCC is scheduling meetings after the first of the year with Judge-elect McDonough, County Executive-elect Ronayne and County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley to discuss how to reform the practice of Discretionary Youth Bindover.
Here is a link to a recording of last night’s public hearing: https://youtu.be/8MagmHYWvJQ.
Here are the handouts from the meeting:
Here is WEWS Channel 5’s coverage of the action:
The Green Noble Project – The Noble neighborhood of Cleveland Heights has become a prime site for UUCC’s commitment to environmental justice. Bordering East Cleveland, this northernmost section of Cleveland Heights faces the challenges of resegregation and sluggish property values. The UUCC has responded with hands-on garden building with the goals of rebuilding both community and soil. This has led to restoration of the Oxford Community Garden, partnership with the Oxford Elementary School, the creation of innovative front yard pollinator pockets and a community orchard. Church members meet regularly with residents to foster environmental community.
For more information, contact Tom Gibson, [email protected].
The Racial Justice Leadership Team (RJLT) aims to lead the congregation in developing and living out an intentionally anti-racist identity in all aspects of church life, in line with the aspirations of the UUCC Strategic Plan and the adoption of the 8th Principle: “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
The RJLT sponsors opportunities for congregants to engage in personal learning and reflection, ideally in conversation with other members of the congregation. Among these have been an in-depth exploration of White Privilege and of the 8th Principle, and both in-person and virtual sessions of the Fahs Institute curriculum, Beloved Conversations. Other opportunities include encouraging participation in ongoing intersectional justice activities that help people understand the on-the-ground racism that pervades our society and organizations. We also are continuing an intentional exploration of what needs to be done to dismantle racism within UUCC.
Discuss your interest with any member of the RJ Leadership Team: Erika Brown, Pat Dillard, Christie Manning, Roschelle Ogbuji, Rev. Randy Partain, Suzanne Zilber and Nancy King Smith, Chair
Here are some opportunities:
· Join the Racial Justice Leadership Team
· Get involved with the Good Trouble Electoral Justice 2022 effort link
· Volunteer with Urban Hope, Impact, FD Roosevelt School, Noble Road Project, Unity in Community
· Participate in Greater Cleveland Congregations activities, including Get Out the Vote and Bail Reform https://www.greaterclevelandcongregations.org
· Sign up for Class Conscious: Class and Classism in Congregational Life, ARE course starting in October
· Join the Authentic Diversity Covenant Group (meets monthly)
· Participate in monthly 8th Principle Learning Community to learn how other congregations are taking action (2nd Wednesdays on Zoom)
· Register for the virtual Beloved Conversations course (scholarships available) https://www.meadville.edu/light/fahs-collaborative/beloved-conversations/
· Watch for regularly scheduled book or movie discussions exploring anti-racist themes
· Check out the resources on the RJLT page on the UUCC website
Resources for Exploring Anti-Racism
Books and Articles
· “Caste”, Isabel Wilkerson
· “The Sum of Us”, Heather McGhee
· “How to be an Antiracist” , Ibram X. Kendi
· “So You Want to Talk about Race”, Ijeoma Oluo · White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (umbc.edu)
· “White Supremacy Culture: https://www.cwsworkshop.org/PARC_site_B/dr-culture.html
Videos and Podcasts:
· Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice | TED Talk
· Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man – YouTube
Participate in an Online Course
· Beloved Conversations (UU Fahs Institute, next course in Spring): https://www.meadville.edu/light/fahs-collaborative/beloved-conversations/
· White Awake: https://whiteawake.org/online-courses/
· SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice: https://surj.org
· 8th Principle: https://www.8thprincipleuu.org
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 Austin, Pat Dillard, Pam Gibbon, Laurie Albright, Greg Nosan, Brandon Ruud, and Mark Weber.
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.