Table of Contents
Toward the Beloved Community: Updates from the Interim Co-Presidents

The Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Interim Co-Presidents, the Revs. Sofía Betancourt and William Sinkford and Dr. Leon Spencer, shared this message following their recent time together in Boston:
Click to read the entire article...

May 4, 2017

Posted Thursday, May 11

Stand Witness Against White Supremacy

More than ever, it is important to take a stand against white supremacy in all its forms. join us for our weekly Vigil in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives, every Thursday at 6 pm. We will speak out against white supremacy, especially as it played out in this election.

Sunday, May 21: 3:30 to 4:30 —

Shut Down Berks - Interfaith Witness

Berks County Residential Center
1040 Berks Road
Leesport, PA 19533

MORE INFORMATION AT marlieryvo@gmail.com

Good Government
A very exciting March on Harrisburg will take place from Independence Hall in Philadelphia to the Capitol in Harrisburg during the week of May 14 - May 21. A group of 50 committed individuals will be walking to Harrisburg to speak to our legislators about the need to end Gerrymandering in Pennsylvania and create Fair Districts in PA.

There are numerous events and speakers planned along the way. Check out the daily calendar. We are so proud to announce that the following Pennsylvania UU Congregations will be hosting the marchers by offering them a place to sleep in their church and permitting them to use their kitchens:

Thomas Paine UU (May 14)
UU Fellowship of Pottstown (May 15)
First Unitarian of Berks County (May 16-17)
Unitarian Church of Harrisburg (May 21-22-23-24)

Click to read the entire article...

Back to Top of Page


Sunday, May 21: Shalom Center Honor Event —

Restoration is Officially a Co-Sponsor of the Event

Monday, May 22 —

The Intersection of Race, Economics and Climate

March with Bill McKibbon, Philadelphia Black Clergy and faith-based organizations POWER and EQAT (details to be provided later)

Our goal is for PECO to commit to buy 20% solar energy by 2025 with a focus on local jobs and investment in places that need it the most such as North Philadelphia. We call on PECO to lead the way towards healthy jobs and affordable clean energy.

For more information: contact or the POWER office at 215-232-7697.

Thursday, June 1 —

POWER: NW Cluster Monthly Meetings

Members of faith groups in Northwest Philadelphia that belong to POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild) have been meeting once a month since January 2017, to build relationships and to share information and resources related to current campaigns (Economic Dignity, Education, and Live Free [anti-mass incarceration], and local interests. We are neighbors that share a passion for social justice, and we want to welcome and engage individuals, especially those who may be looking for ways to get involved and join their energies to make a difference. The NW Cluster met on April 27, at Chestnut Hill United Church to share stories in small groups, hear updates about POWER strategy teams, and plan outreach across the spectrum of faith groups in NW Philadelphia. The potential to hold a local weekend workshop toward the goal of developing anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural faith groups was introduced, and interest was expressed in coordinating with the white allies group within POWER.

Next NW Cluster: Thursday, June 1, 7:00 pm, at Mishkan Shalom, 4101 Freeland Ave. (Coinciding with meeting of Philadelphia Clergy Caucus)

Visit POWER's website for more information about upcoming events: powerinterfaith.org

June 10-20 & July 7-19 —

Whale Coast Alaska 2017

Dangerous Gun Bills

Call your Representative and Senator Today!

Voice your opposition to two gun laws now under consideration that will not make our communities safer.

A Perspective on the Legacy of Racism

"The racial identity formation of people of color is not the same as the racial identity formation of white people. We are pushed into a corner, and in that corner,
we create a racial culture."

Author Rev. Laura Mariko Cheifetz:
Racism kills. It dehumanizes us all, telling some of us we are less than human and rendering others of us incapable of having a decent conversation about it. It takes our best intentions and misshapes them beyond recognition; no matter what we do or what we mean to do, we move and breathe and live within laws and a cultural reality that is racist. But the one good thing racism has given me is Asian America.

Asian America is a social construct, not a biological one. It is a category I fall into by virtue of nothing more than my mother's ancestors. No person from Asia shows up in the U.S. and automatically feels linked to people from other Asian countries.

Asian American identity isn't about rice, although I've joked about this before. People of many races eat rice, and even rice within Asian American communities has great diversity. It isn't about any food or flavor, really, which means any dish or dressing labeled "Asian" is just asking for me to mock the ignorance of said dressing's manufacturer. I can settle for "Asian" if it means we avoid the dreaded, inappropriate, and colonial "O" word. Click to read the entire article...

'He Was Not a Thug': Questions of Language Trail Police Killings

Labeling a high school freshman a "great kid" with "awesome parents" and a 3.5 grade point average would usually be the ultimate compliment. But when it comes to an unarmed black teenager who died at the hands of the police, such remembrances become fraught with questions over how black victims are perceived. That is what happened after a police officer in suburban Dallas fatally shot Jordan Edwards, 15, late Saturday night. Jordan was sitting in the passenger's seat of a car that was driving away from the officer who fired at it, Chief Jonathan Haber of Balch Springs said, adding that the shooting "did not meet our core values." In the aftermath, those who knew Jordan well were quick to laud the person he was.

"Awesome parents," Chris Cano, the father of a friend, told a local television station, WFAA. "He was not a thug. This shouldn't happen to him."

Those comments were published in a New York Times article, and readers were critical of the narrative that such a quotation painted.


Philly Police Stop-and-Frisk Troubles Diminish,
but Illegal Stops Continue

Stopping men for hanging around a corner.

Investigating a group who appears to be "miscreants."

Questioning pedestrians who look like "vagabonds." These are just three of the unconstitutional reasons Philadelphia police officers gave for stopping civilians in the city last year. A report released Tuesday morning indicates that one out of four of the 140,000 stops police officers carried out in 2016 did not meet the legal standard for having "reasonable suspicion." It is the seventh report prepared by civil rights attorneys and filed to the federal judge overseeing changes in how officers stopped and frisked tens of thousands of Philadelphians last year following a 2011 settlement in which the Philadelphia Police Department agreed to reform its use of the practice. Advocates of reform found some good news in the report: The total number of pedestrian stops dropped by more than one-third, compared with 2015. And police officers more often made legal stops. The number of lawful frisks also went up. It is significant progress measured against the first report submitted to the court, in February 2012, which showed that more than half of all stops were made illegally. Click to read the entire article...

Trump Will Reportedly Sign an Anti-LGTBQ
Executive Order after All

When Donald Trump spoke before the Republican National Convention this past July, he swore that "as your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens." Now, as president, Trump appears poised to use his power to do the opposite, and essentially sanction discrimination against the LGBTQ community. According to two senior administration officials who spoke with Politico, Trump is reportedly set to sign an executive order on "religious liberty," allowing groups, individuals, and businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to people on religious grounds. Such measures have widely been viewed as thinly veiled attacks on LGBTQ rights.

The order's signing would reportedly come on Thursday, to coincide with the National Day of Prayer. The news comes nearly three months after the Trump administration's first stab at an anti-LGBTQ order, a draft of which leaked to the press in early February and whose extremism shocked people. That order was abandoned after Ivanka Trump and husband Jarred Kushner allegedly worked to scuttle the effort. Following that attempt, Politico reported, a cadre of administration officials lead by Vice President Mike Pence began working on a revised draft of the order-one which Politico's source suggested will not be substantively different from its predecessor. "The language is very, very strong," the source said.

Pence's own history with discriminatory religious freedom legislation should provide a cautionary tale for the administration. While governor of Indiana, Pence signed into law a statewide religious freedom bill, prompting a swift and severe blowback among LGBTQ rights groups and allies, at least $60 million in lost tourism revenue in Indianapolis, and an excruciatingly awkward gubernatorial press conference. That law was eventually amended to include additional protections for LGBTQ people. Responding to reports that the Trump administration may roll out its anti-LGBTQ order this week, the American Civil Liberties Union promised it is "ready to sue if [the White House does] something that authorizes discrimination."


Reports from Climate March, Interfaith Peace Walk,
and May Day... Thank you Sandy!

(1) Saturday's Climate March and Panel at First UU Church officially began at 1:30 in Tom Paine Park, and I got there about 45 minutes early. In that case, I usually I say hello and thank the police who guard our routes. I know some of them by sight if not name after all these years. They are usually cheerful and friendly. But before Saturday's Climate March in Tom Paine Park a few were verbally hostile and told us who were early birds to go home since the rally was canceled. Nobody believed that, the hostility was something I'd never seen before, and wasn't entirely from tired feet. Two white male officers railed at me and an elderly white man for wearing Black Lives Matter buttons, and talked nonstop about their dangers and their own rights, never allowing a chance to reply. Did anyone else encounter that? When they formed a circle to give the speakers a space I was down in front, enabling me to get photos and hear the single loudspeaker. The people farther back couldn't see or hear any of the speakers, who were introduced by an African American woman, a veteran of Standing Rock and one of the group of Standing Rock activists who coordinated the Climate March in Philadelphia. It's not a large group, but aside from lacking money to provide multiple loudspeakers they did a great job. The pre-march speakers were largely Lakota activists (some who live in Philly) and African Americans concerned with climate injustice, plus a brief campaign speech from a young, progressive Chinese-American woman running for political office. When the march began the heat was so oppressive I dropped out quickly, took a bus to Walnut and 21st and walked to First UU Church on Chestnut, where I was one of the earliest for the crowning event of the rally--a panel of speakers, all of them people of color. Ultimately the church looked to be about half full, although I saw no one else from UUCR. Despite the heat outside, the non-air conditioned church was pleasantly cool. The first to appear was a Lakota rapper from a reservation in the Dakotas (now a senior or grad student at Penn) who uses the professional name BazilleDx, who gave us a 20 minute rap on the bigotry against Native Americans. Click to read the entire article...

New Orleans Removes First of Four Statues
Deemed Racially Offensive

(Reuters) - New Orleans on Monday removed a statue that the mayor said glorified a 19th-century attack on police by white supremacists, the first of four monuments that the city will relocate to send a message of "diversity, inclusion and tolerance."

Authorities took down the statue honoring the so-called Battle of Liberty Place, acting without notice and under the cover of darkness for security reasons, and will move it to a museum or other facility, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. A federal court cleared the way for its removal in March.

Erected in 1891, the monument commemorates an 1874 attack on the racially integrated city police and state militia by the white supremacist "Crescent City White League," the mayor's office said. "The statue was put up to honor the killing of police officers by white supremacists," Landrieu told reporters in front of the city's memorial to fallen law enforcement officers. Click to read the entire article...

On This Block, Worries Run Deeper than Flint's Tainted Water

FLINT, Mich. - One resident of Zimmerman Street has trouble sleeping from the gunfire that crackles through the air at night. A married couple down the block has heard squatters camped out in an abandoned house next door. A grandfather across the street cannot find steady work in the city, getting by with odd jobs that pay less than $9 an hour. If anxieties over the water in Flint have eased, they have been replaced with different ones.

On this block of crumbling bungalows on Flint's west side, residents said that life in Flint is as precarious as ever. Many are still distrustful of their tap water, though it now comes from Lake Huron, not the notoriously polluted Flint River. The government has just promised to replace lead pipes in houses throughout the city, another step to help people in Flint out of the three-year-old water crisis. But there has been no relief from some of their most entrenched though less-publicized problems. And many of those have grown worse because of the tainted water that poisoned residents and further eroded their city's reputation and property values.

Look down the block and you see what we're dealing with, said Loyd Thomas, 70, a veteran of General Motors, standing on the front porch of his white bungalow. Continue reading the main story

The house next door has burned down, like so many others in Flint. Often the fires are set by arsonists, bent on vandalism or insurance fraud, who are never caught. He points to the sloping surface of Zimmerman Street, a block pockmarked by craters and deep ruts that never seem to be fully fixed.


White Florida Principal Requests Segregation of
White Students so They Can Feel Comfortable

Christine Hoffman, principal at St. Petersburg, Fla.'s Campbell Park Elementary, was removed from her school after asking teachers to segregate white students from the black students so the white students could feel comfortable, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Last week, Hoffman emailed her staff stating that white students, who are all between 5 and 10 in age, should be in the same class. Campbell Park Elementary's student population includes 606 students, and 49 are white. After sending out the email, Hoffman sent another one apologizing for her bad judgment, but it was too late. Once parents got wind of the email, they requested her firing. Click to read the entire article...

Tell Climate Deniers You'll Stand up for Science


Tens of thousands of you just made your voices heard for science. And if we've learned anything these past few months, it's that your voices truly make a difference. When we stand together for what we believe, it's impossible for anyone that seeks to deny science to ignore us.

Now, take the first step in continuing the fight for science by signing the petition to tell the climate deniers in Washington: It's time for climate policy based on evidence and science, not ideology and talking points.

This isn't a partisan opinion or a talking point for the pundits on television. It's a fact -- and it's one of the reasons why we marched on Saturday. We marched because we know our country and our planet cannot afford to deny science any longer. It's time to send the science deniers a clear message: If you continue to deny the effects of human activity on climate change, we will hold you accountable. Science plays a crucial role in our daily lives, and will continue to help us shape the future of our world. We took the first step on Saturday for science -- now it's up to us to continue the fight. Add your name to the petition and join the team making it clear to the climate deniers: We marched to make our voices heard, and we're not going away.

Team March for Science & Team 314 Action

Back to Top of Page