We can do better. We should do better.

Earlier this week, UU World published a problematic, hurtful, and harmful article. Instead of writing my own response, I am passing the mic. In their article on Medium, CB Beal “Centering the Marginalized: symphony and triptych” describes why the UU World article was so upsetting and how we can do better in the future.

“When we want to do justice, and I believe that UU’s do, we have always to ask ourselves “Who is this about, and where is their story?”” – CB Beal

Alex Kapitan also made a public response on Facebook. 

And here is the Response from TRUUsT : “Putting the “T” First: Public Statement on This Week’s UU World Article” written by the TRUUsT Steering Committee.

Please read them and share them widely.

 

Image Credit to Su’ad Abdul Khabeer from their twitter account @DrSuad.

2019 General Assembly Ware Lecturer Announced

General Assembly 2019
June 19-23, Spokane, WA

The Power of We

General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

The Ware Lecturer for this year is Richard Blanco.

“Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, which received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Directions to The Beach of the Dead, recipient of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center; and Looking for The Gulf Motel, recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of a Lambda Literary Award. His inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey. His latest book, Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States. A new book of poems, How to Love a Country, is forthcoming from Beacon Press in April 2019. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards of Silicon Valley, and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon bombings. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Wesleyan University. He serves as the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets.

The 2019 Ware Lecture is Friday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. PDT at the Spokane Convention Center. General Assembly registration is required to attend the lecture in Spokane. The Ware Lecture will be streamed live on uua.org/ga.”

 

Beloved Poet Mary Oliver, Who Believed Poetry ‘Mustn’t Be Fancy,’ Dies At 83

Here is Mary Oliver’s obituary. She was a lovely poet.

“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” – Mary Oliver

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/17/577380646/beloved-poet-mary-oliver-who-believed-poetry-mustn-t-be-fancy-dies-at-83

Unitarian Universalists offer homes to asylum seekers in caravan

Here is an article from Elaine McArdle published in UU World about the crisis at our border.

“Central American asylum seekers, fleeing violence at home, may be released from detention centers to sponsors’ homes.”

Photo Information:

“A volunteer lawyer informs migrants on what to expect when requesting asylum in the U.S., at an office in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, April 27, 2018. Close to 200 migrants from Central America, mostly from Honduras, arrived in Tijuana seeking to enter the United States. (AP Photo/Hans-Maximo Musielik)”

The Rustic Mechanicals Announce Cast and Tour Locations for Hamlet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Rustic Mechanicals Announce Cast and Tour Locations for Hamlet

The Rustic Mechanicals, now in their fifth season, have grown from a troupe of seven actors to this year boasting a roster of nearly thirty West Virginia artists.

Daniel Crowley headlines the production in the eponymous role of Hamlet.

“This is the most challenging role I have ever tried to wrap my mind around,” said Crowley. “Every time I encounter the text I discover a new motive, tactic, double entendre, or meaning. I completely understand why it is the Holy Grail for young actors.”

Audiences will also see Sarah Smith as Ophelia, Josh Brooks as King Claudius, Cassandra Hackbart as Queen Gertrude, John O’Connor as the doting Polonius, and Sean Marko as his son Laertes. Justin Grow and Kyle Stemple will appear as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as well as Marcellus and Barnardo. James Matthews is taking on the roles of the Ghost, the Player King, and the Gravedigger while Sarah Young will appear as Horatio. Rounding out the cast is Samantha Huffman as the Player Queen and a servant.

Young directs the production with Technical Direction by David Byard, Costume Design by Jason Noland, Fight Choreography by Millie Omps, Dramaturgy by John Shirley, and with Tommy Schoffler serving as the production’s Movement Coach and Celi Oliverto serving as the troupe’s Acting Coach.

2018 Action of Immediate Witness

The Unitarian Universalist Association expresses its strong support for the incarcerated people engaged in the nationwide prison strike.

On August 21, 2018, prisoners across the United States declared a nationwide strike in response to a riot in the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina. During the riot in this maximum security prison, seven prisoners died and at least 20 more were injured. According to the South Carolina Director of Corrections Bryan Stirling and accounts from several prisoners, prison guards and EMTs didn’t intervene until hours after the riot began.

The Unitarian Universalist Association Calls for Solidarity with the Nationwide Prison Strike

This Resolution was a result.

2018 Action of Immediate Witness

BECAUSE Unitarian Universalists recognize the humanity, worth, and dignity of all people within and outside of our membership;

BECAUSE UUs are called to uphold that everyone is worthy of love and justice;

WHEREAS, prisons for profit encourages longer terms of imprisonment and maximizes profit by minimizing services and rehabilitation;

WHEREAS, the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), under the influence of private prison companies that supply goods and services to prisons for profit, is a system of oppression that perpetuates and further criminalizes poverty;

WHEREAS, the PIC is an entrenched system of white supremacy where guilt and innocence are influenced by skin color and economic privilege, regardless of behavior;

WHEREAS, the federal prison system, thirty-five state prisons, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) charge for necessary medical care using private, for-profit medical companies;

WHEREAS, the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) membership includes 870 incarcerated people, many of whom have medical expenses but no resources to pay for care. Medical treatment must be paid before necessities such as soap, shampoo, stamps, and over-the-counter medicines can be acquired;

WHEREAS, incarcerated CLF members include 200 people living in Texas and Georgia prisons who receive no wages, but are still charged for medical care, leaving some unable to access adequate treatment. This perpetuates illness, debility, insurmountable debt, and chronic poverty. People in prisons are dying every day due to prohibitive medical cost;

WHEREAS the US Supreme Court ruled in Estelle v. Gamble (1976) that ignoring a prisoner’s serious medical needs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment; and

WHEREAS The Federal Bureau of Prisons is violating Rule 24 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules) that states, “The provision of health care for prisoners is a State responsibility. Prisoners . . . should have access to necessary health-care services free of charge . . .”

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 2018 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association denounces the predatory practice of charging medical fees to people in prison and commits to the following actions:

  1. Contact Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner urging him to sign HB 5104, which is currently on his desk. This bill would end medical fees for people incarcerated in Illinois.
  2. Contact Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and state legislators to demand an end to fee-for-service medical care in their states.
  3. Publicly oppose the practices of Corizon Health, which profits from privatized health care in Kansas, Missouri, and in twenty other states, as well as Wexford Health, MHM Services Inc. and other companies that supply health care for local, state, and federal prisons and ICE detention facilities.
  4. Insist the United Nations World Health Organization press the US to uphold Rule 24 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
  5. Ensure that in your state the medical treatment of prisoners conforms with Estelle vs. Gamble.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THE 2018 GENERAL ASSEMBLY ENCOURAGES UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS TO:

  1. Get more deeply involved in direct service prison ministry through such actions as beginning or joining local prison ministry efforts within your congregation or community organization; networking with others engaged in prison ministry; leading worship or small group ministry within prisons; becoming a pen pal; and welcoming post-incarcerated persons into your congregation.
  2. Continue to educate ourselves on the adverse impacts of prison privatization and the many injustices in the PIC such as a) grossly disproportionate impact on marginalized groups, b) solitary confinement practices, c) prison-based gerrymandering, d) voter disenfranchisement and e) employment discrimination.