Members of the church attended a conference in Washington, DC April 3-5 titled “Healthcare as a UU Value”. At the conference they heard from Sister Simone Campbell, one of the “nuns on the bus,” about the importance of telling our stories and from author and activist Chuck Collins, who’s just written a book titled ‘Born on Third Base’.
The conference was co-sponsored by UUs for a Just Economic Community (UUJEC) and the DC chapter of UUs for Social Justice (UUSJ). It included speakers who highlighted the importance of bringing our spiritual values to our activism work and experts from Americans from Tax Fairness and Nurses United who presented details on the current health care plan. On the final day of the conference, attendees met with 22 US Senators and their staff to lobby for the rights of every American to affordable and effective health care.
When the delegation from Illinois met with Sen Durbin and Sen Duckworth’s staff, they presented numerous letters from Illinois churches, including ours, stressing that health care is a human right and that care for needs to be strengthened and not eliminated for those least able to pay.
According to Amirah Sequeira of National Nurses United, even with the Affordable Care Act 28 million Americans still have no health insurance. She told the group that Sen John Conyers has introduced HR676 the “Medicare for All” bill; it now has over 80 co-sponsors.
The group also met with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal from the 7th District in Washington state, the only UU currently serving in the US Congress. She criticized Trump’s proposed health care bill as a “huge transfer of wealth”; it would have eliminated the higher tax rates for the wealthy and for large corporations put in place to help pay for the subsidies of Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Rep Jayapal was especially concerned that Republicans might turn to state courts to try and cut-back the Medicaid subsidies now in place in many states.
As follow-up to the conference the UUJEC is planning to create a multi-session curriculum on improving healthcare in the US and how it relates to the growing problem of income inequality. The group also is considering holding regional conferences on the health care to continue efforts to mobilize congregations around this issue.
“Living the Interdependent Web: Earth Day” – 9:15 and 11:00am
It is both scientific fact and spiritual stance that we humans are part an interdependent web, together with all living things. Reflections for Earth Day on what it means to respect, revere, and participate in the interdependent web. A worship service for all ages. Rev. Connie Grant leading.
“They Who Follow” – 9:15 and 11:00am
To find the historical Jesus, one may turn to the core teachings found in his parables and sermons. What do they say to us free thinkers? How can they help raise our spirits from the depths of despair, and help those hungry for healing and wholeness? Rev. Bret Lortie leading.
On Saturday, March 25, the REAL team presented a program titled “Women Making Change” to focus on the accomplishments and the stories of the African American women in this community. It was attended by at least one hundred twenty people who enjoyed a hearty meal and engaged in lively discussion.
The program was designed to offer a chance for all citizens in Evanston to join together in sharing a meal, which was the particular goal of Gretchen Brewster, to discuss their ideas about the issues facing women and to hear the ideas and experiences of local African American women of note.
Dino Robinson, of Shorefront Legacy Center, opened the program with a brief history of some of the Black women leaders in Evanston. Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, a prominent activist and educator, then expanded this history to a wider community and time. She was joined by JoAnn Avery of Family Focus, and Karli Butler of Curt’s Café, who shared their experiences and ideas for change in a panel discussion. Following their presentations, Representative Jan Schakowsky joined them and offered a few comments.
Information about various community programs and their needs are available for the asking. Check out the REAL bulletin board above the Lending Library cart for some ideas, or ask a REAL team member.
As always, we are indebted to the staff (who went above and beyond) and volunteers at UCE who helped make the program a success. They are: Liz Eason and Kathy Talmage, Kristi Anderson, Jane Bannor, Dana Deane, Heike Eghardt, Liz Goodwin, Paula Giroux, Lynn Kendall, Jeanne Kerl, Shannon Lang, Gay Menges, Jinny Niemann, Chris Peterson, Kate Poole, Gini Sayad, Michael Skilton, Joan Taylor, Jan Valukas and Betty Walker. Thank you!
“The Radical Dr.Seuss, and What He Can Still Teach Us” – 9:15 and 11:00am
March is the birthday of Theodore Geisel, better known by his middle name as Dr. Seuss. Before he became a famous children’s author, he was an editorial cartoonist. Ministerial Intern Kevin DeBeck will show some of this artwork and what their images mean for us today, 70 years later.