Racial Equity Action Leadership Team
REAL UPDATE AND SAVE THE DATE!
SAVE THE DATE of May 25 for the Racial Equity Action Leadership team’s final workshop with the YWCA this church year. You won’t want to miss this! More info to come.
REAL TEAM CHANGES
We mourn the departure of Gail Smith for her new job in New York, and welcome Ann McCallister to the REAL planning team. We also look forward to the return of our ministerial advisor Connie Grant from her sabbatical (April 1).
UPDATE ON ACTION INITIATIVES
After the initial workshop with the YWCA last October, we have started to put into practice several of the ideas expressed that weekend for action steps we at UCE could take. If you would like to join in the work of any of these initiatives, please contact the REAL liaison indicated in parentheses. The Action Initiatives that have taken root and their current status are:
ONE BOOK/ONE CHURCH
This initiative organized four different opportunities for us to discuss “Between the World and Me,” a masterful letter to his son by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at the Atlantic magazine. The remaining two discussions are Monday evening, March 14, and Sunday, April 3 after church. If you haven’t already joined the discussion, please consider it. The One Book Initiative is also joining with the Community Programming Initiative to bring a dynamite program (soon to be confirmed) to UCE on Friday, May 13. Save that date as well! (Martha Holman)
This initiative provides films, speakers, art and musical experiences and other programming centered on racial justice themes and open to all. It is hoped that these events will offer a way to bring people in the community together and to facilitate appreciation, understanding, and cooperation. The initial program will be at UCE on May 13. SAVE THE DATE. (Joan Retzloff)
REAL OUTREACH CONNECTIONS (ROC)
This Action Initiative is putting into practice two of the action ideas engendered by the YWCA’s October workshop: greater civic engagement and partnering with other racial justice groups. We are researching a variety of local (Evanston and Chicago) organizations to determine whether they are focused primarily on racial justice issues and would welcome UCE volunteers or partnership, and will make this information available to UCE members. We also anticipate providing a means for UCE members working with outside racial justice organizations to share experiences and support each other. Stay tuned. (Ann McCallister)
COVENANT GROUP CURRICULUM
This Action Initiative is exploring options for how to integrate race relation issues into our covenant group experience. Currently, we are looking into supplying “Soul Matters” (the source of monthly covenant group materials around particular themes) with readings and questions that can be included in the curricula they send out every month. We are also discussing the formation of a covenant group (or study group) that would exclusively focus on issues surrounding racial justice and race relations. The team welcomes feedback from the congregation. What do you think would be helpful to you and/or your covenant group? (Sarah Vanderwicken)
REPARATIONS STUDY PROPOSAL
After many of us read and/or participated in a discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 Atlantic article, The Case for Reparations, a proposal to bring this issue to the congregation’s annual meeting was drafted. Coates described legislation that has been introduced by Rep. John Conyers at the start of every Congress since 1989 to acknowledge slavery and racial discrimination, study their impact, and propose remedies. The resolution before UCE in May will be for UCE to express support for Rep. Conyers’ House Bill HR 40. A discussion of the proposed resolution will be part of the May 1 Town Hall Meeting and the matter will be on the agenda of the May 15 Annual Congregational Meeting. If the resolution is approved, UCE will inform elected representatives and others, and seek follow-up actions with the UUA. (Ann McCallister)
For more information check out the article in the Jan. 8 UCE Newsletter, and/or read Coates’ excellent June 2014 article. (Tom Hempfling)
The Rainbow Alliance meets 3rd Sundays of the Month at 12:30pm. Everyone is welcome!
For more information or if you are interested in being on the Rainbow Alliance Distribution list, contact Jennifer Mack – [email protected], 312-505-3038 or Chris Allender – [email protected], 773-368-1203
Peace and Justice
The Peace and Justice Program meets the 2nd Sunday of every month after the worship service (11 a.m. in the summer months). All are welcome, please join us. For more information, contact
Visit the UCE Social Action facebook page
NEWS FROM GREEN SANCTUARY – FEBRUARY 2016
A TALKING FARM UPDATE
SUBMITTED BY: JEANNE KERL
The Talking Farm (TTF) is a group of folks primarily from Evanston, Chicago, and Skokie who work on sustainable urban farming projects. UCE’s shared plate proceeds have funded TTF in the past, so we thought we’d update you on what TTF has been doing the past few years.
Here’s an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Huff Post recently:
“The Talking Farm (TTF) advocates sustainable agriculture and organic growing practices and runs the Edible Acre and Howard Street Farm projects. The organization was founded in 2006 out of the efforts of the Evanston Food Council.
The Howard Street Farm has been in existence since 2010, after the village of Skokie offered TFF, a 20 year lease on a 2 acre parcel of land right on the Roger’s Park/Skokie border. However, obtaining the land was only the beginning of getting the farm up and running. Over the next few years, The Talking Farm went through the long process of making it legal to have an urban farm in Skokie and sell the produce, which was the first of its kind in the area…
In 2015, TFF sponsored intern programs at their Howard Street Farm in Skokie, provided 285 hours of school instruction to Evanston Township High School, Y.O.U. (Youth Opportunity United) and the TOT Learning Center, 2498 hours of volunteer time were donated to help the Howard Street Farm operate. They now sell their produce from the Howard Street Farm to Local Foods in Chicago and several area restaurants including Farmhouse and Boltwood in Evanston. The farm continues to grow and flourish amidst the bleak industrial landscape surrounding it. Every September, they hold their annual Hullabaloo, which is a celebration of the farm and sustainable farming.”
The Green Sanctuary folks are hoping to organize a UCE work day this spring or early summer combined with tours of the Howard Street Farm. Stay tuned. We also want to celebrate the amazing work done by this local organization with the support of UCE.
Fair Trade At UCE
Look what’s at the Fair Trade Cart!
French Roast , Breakfast Blend, and Decaffeinated coffees,
All are either whole bean or ground for your best coffee maker.
English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Chai, Green, and Chamomile teas.
A large variety of organic chocolates and cocoa.
A variety of soups and chili from Women’s Bean Project in Colorado.
Honey and honey based skin products from Sweet Beginnings in Chicago.
Tru Bloom natural floral scents in regular and purse sizes.
Scarves, coin purses, cute animal tape measures, and scrunchies
Warm gloves, mittens, hats, scarves and a few surprises.
All products are produced in accordance with fair trade standards.
All proceeds go to help Evanston families.
SUPPORT FAIR TRADE AND SUPPORT FAMILIES IN NEED IN EVANSTON
Want to buy good organic foods and beautiful hand made products from around the world?
The Fair Trade Cart (next to the Book H) offers fairly traded coffees, teas, chocolates and other products every Sunday. All our proceeds help families right here in Evanston. Fair Trade uses no child labor, and ensures a living wage, safe working conditions and sustainable production methods to those who make what we sell.
NEWS FROM THE FAIR TRADE CART AND F.A.S.T.
The Fair Trade Cart and F.A.S.T. are happy to announce that we are now supporting a new enterprise at Chute School here in Evanston. This is in addition to our yearly donation to help selected Chute families at the holdays. Our contact is UCE member Randy Barrengos who is a social worker at the school and here is what Randy wrote to us to describe this project.
“For the past couple of years, Chute has had a garden club led by two or three dedicated teachers, that had about 12-15 kids attending each week for part of the school year. This year we decided to expand the student’s work in the Chute garden to include other healthy lifestyle activities. Hence, we have renamed our club, Actions For Healthy Eagles Club. (Eagles are our school mascots). At the first meeting, we had 25 students attending. Our club activity that day was picking kale from the garden, and preparing the kale and other ingredients to make healthy smoothies. The kids were totally into it and I was personally surprised how they took a risk and actually drank their smoothies that had healthy kale in them!!!! We also had the students fill out a survey about what they would like to do in the club. We are very excited about our new club and some of the great activities we are putting on the calendar which includes having guest chefs cook with the students, professional yoga teachers for yoga classes, nature walks to the lake, and our list goes on.”
Randy tells us now that the club meets three times each month and averages between twelve and twenty students at each meeting. They have already had sessions with a cook and a yoga instructor. She welcomes ideas, donations, and volunteers who can share a healthy living skill or talent with the students for one or two class sessions. Contact Joan Retzloff at [email protected] to share your ideas for the club.
FAIR TRADE PRINCIPLES IN THE USA
The Fair Trade team is hoping to find additional socially responsible vendors who pay fair wages and subscribe to sustainable production standards in the US. The vast majority of Fair Trade efforts are focused on helping people in developing countries, but we think we need to support responsible American enterprise too. We now sell Women’s Bean Project soups from Colorado and the perfumes produced in Chicago community gardens. We have sold soaps and personal items from a women’s group in Chicago too . We are now adding “Sweet Beginnings”, a Chicago company that employs and trains people to produce and sell products made with honey from their own hives. If we can find more groups like this, we would like to support them and tie that support into the UUSC income inequality project. These groups pay fair wages and focus on providing good jobs and training for disadvantaged communities and that is something we can all get behind! Watch for new products and give us your ideas at the Fair Trade Cart.
View videos from Fair Trade USA
MITTEN TREE STARTS NOVEMBER 8 WITH MITTENS FOR FOOD GIFTS
This year, because Music Sunday and Ornament Sunday are a week early, we will start passing out mittens for food gifts on Sunday, November 8. On Sunday, November 15 we will have mittens ready for the other gifts.
Because of the change in schedule, we will have three weeks to collect food gifts and only two weeks to collect the gifts of toys, clothing, and housewares. All gifts are due on November 29 or any weekday up to December 5. We will sort all gifts on December 5 and wrap them at Ornament Sunday on December 6. A reminder that all gifts must be new.
The charities we are supporting this year include Curt’s Café North and South interns and children (Curt’s South) (45 people), Hillside Pantry (16 Christmas Dinner boxes), Connections for the Homeless Permanently housed families (about 15 people), Children’s Home and Aid Society (12 children), YEPP Young Adults (15 people), John and Clyde (college students we have been helping) and siblings (5 people), Cleaning Supplies for Connections (10 families), Sheet Sets for Connections (10 families), AND Kerry Heckman’s School for Operation Snowball Scholarships.
We are still looking for volunteers to help at the Mitten Tree tables on Sunday’s and to work at sorting gifts, wrapping and delivery. If you wish to volunteer please contact Melanie Kirtchner ([email protected] or 847-563-8828). If you have questions about Mitten Tree please contact Carol Nielsen ([email protected] or 847-869-1177).