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The human mind, in its desire to know, understand, and control, mistakes its opinions and viewpoints for the truth. It says: this is how it is. You have to be larger than thought to realize that, however you interpret "your life" or someone else's life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many possible perspectives. It is no more than a bundle of thoughts. But reality is one unified whole, in which all things are interwoven, where nothing exists in and by itself. Thinking fragments reality; it cuts it up into conceptual bits and pieces. The thinking mind is a useful and powerful tool, but it is also very limiting when it takes over your life completely, when you don't realize that it is only a small aspect of the consciousness that you are. Wisdom is not a product of thought. The deep knowing that is wisdom arises through the simple act of giving someone or something your full attention. Attention is primordial intelligence, consciousness itself. It dissolves the barriers created by conceptual thought, and with this comes the recognition that nothing exists in and by itself. It joins the perceiver and the perceived in a unifying field of awareness. It is the healer of separation.

— Eckhart Tolle, b. 1948

Posted Thursday, March 23

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.
NEWEST INFORMATION...

March 23, at 7 pm —

Whites Confronting Racism Share Their Stories

We are members of the planning committee representing a group of 18 white members of POWER who participated in a year-long Whites Confronting Racism program. We all came away with a deeper understanding of what white privilege is and enhanced awareness of our own behavior. We invite you to join us for an opportunity to hear about the impact of our year long journey together. Group members will reflect on how this experience increased their awareness and understanding of white privilege in themselves and in social systems as well as the role white allies can play in confronting racism.

"Whites Confronting Racism: Lessons Learned," a part of POWER's 100 Days of Faithful Resistance series, will be held on Thursday, March 23, from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Tilling Hall (6023 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19144). There is a parking lot - please enter the building through the entrance from the lot).

We are committed to continuing our connection with each other and giving back to POWER by sharing what we've learned and serving as white allies in the fight for racial justice. We're eager to share our learning with YOU! Please feel free to respond to this e-mail with any questions or requests for additional information.

Andi Moselle, Germantown Jewish Centre and Susan Wargo, Tabernacle United Church

March 25 at 5:30 pm —

May 21: Shalom Center Honor Event —

Restoration is Officially a Co-Sponsor of the Event

Philadelphia's Largest Cinco de Mayo Celebration Canceled
in Fear of Immigration Crackdown

One of Philadelphia's most prominent Latin American events, El Carnaval de Puebla, has been canceled this year because of what one organizer called "the severe conditions affecting the immigrant community."

The annual parade through South Philadelphia has taken place in late April or early May for the last decade and is the city's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration. Organizer Edgar Ramirez said as many as 15,000 gather from as far as New England and Chicago.

The decision to cancel El Carnaval, Ramirez said in an interview Friday, was "sad but responsible" in light of the immigration crackdown by federal authorities. He said the entire Mexican-American community, both those here legally and those undocumented, are disheartened by reports of large-scale arrests and detainments by officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Click to read the entire article...

Young Marathoner Loses Dad to ICE RaidM

She was training with her dad for the LA Marathon... then he was taken away by ICE.

LOS ANGELES-It took 13-year-old Fatima Avelica exactly six hours and 48 minutes to run all 26.2 miles of the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. She didn't struggle until mile 18. She says what got her through to the finish line was picturing her dad cheering her on and yelling, "You can do it!"

Fatima had trained with her dad, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, who often didn't get to bed until 3 am after working a restaurant night shift, but still dutifully got up at 5 AM to drive to the beach and ride his bike alongside Fatima and her sister as they trained.

"The training was fun because my dad was always there motivating us," Fatima told me ahead of the marathon as we sat in a lobby by the main entrance at her high school. That ended on Feb. 28, when Romulo was arrested by immigration agents moments after he dropped off Fatima's younger sister at school. Fatima's cries were heard around the world as she recorded the incident on her cellphone. Four days later, she and her sister went on a 22-mile practice run to prepare for the marathon-without their dad. They almost quit the marathon, but their father called daily from the immigration detention center and convinced them to continue training. Fatima says the practice run was hard and tiring, the longest distance she had ever run. Click to read the entire article...

The Root's Young Futurists of 2017 Will Put Your Life to Shame

Photo illustration by Elena Scotti/The Root/GMG

They are young, gifted and black. They are part of a generation that is poised to change the future. We know this because they are already changing the present. Meet The Root's Young Futurists of 2017!

For the past six years, we have honored 25 of the best and the brightest young people, ages 15 to 22, in the fields of social justice/activism, enterprise and corporate innovation, arts & culture, science and tech, and green innovation.

What these 25 men and women have accomplished at such an early age will leave those of us who are twice as old asking ourselves, "What have I done with my life?" And what's even more amazing, they are just getting started. Click to read the entire article...

Victory! Charges Dropped Against Tyree Carroll,
who was beaten by Philadelphia police in 2015

On Thursday March 16, nearly two years after the beating happened, District Attorney prosecutors announced that they are not going to appeal an earlier ruling in favor of Tyree Carroll, and that they are dropping their case against him. Supporters say this is a clear victory for Mr. Carroll and his family and against racial profiling and brutality by the Philadelphia police department. Mr. Carroll still faces one violation of parole charge, and charges from a retaliatory arrest after he was out on bail.

In a strong rebuke of police involved in the 2015 beating of Mr. Carroll, Judge Kai Scott had ruled on February 15, in favor of Mr. Carroll's motion to suppress, or keep out of trial, drugs that were allegedly seized from him following an illegal stop by the same police that seconds after the stop began to beat him. Judge Scott had said that Mr. Carroll had been doing nothing wrong on April 3, 2015 when he was stopped by police while riding his bike and beaten by the three officers who illegally stopped him. These three officers were soon joined by about a dozen others, in an incident filmed by a neighbor that went viral and led to national and international outcry. Following the stop and beating, Mr. Carroll was arrested and eventually charged with possession of the drugs and two counts of aggravated assault against the police who were beating him. In a strongly worded and clear ruling, Judge Scott had said that Mr. Carroll had the right to leave and walk away from the police, and that the police had no legal right to restrain him. She ruled that but for the initial illegal police action, there would not have been any subsequent encounter leading to the alleged drug seizure.

Mr Carroll was encouraged by the ruling, but stated, "I'm still nervous. I don't want the cops to kick my ass again because I beat the case."

Attorney Michael Wiseman said, "I don't know what it's like to live in his neighborhood but to be riding your bike, stopped for no cause, then beaten and arrested is an outrage. I hope the Philadelphia DA and police learn some lessons and stop this from happening."

Professor Dorothy Roberts for the Justice4Tyree Support Campaign said: " This is a victory for Tyree Carroll and his family who have persevered against all odds in getting justice, for all who have faced police racism, illegality and violence, for other Black men and women beaten by police, and for the multi-racial group of supporters, women and men, who have come out to every hearing for almost two years and worked to get this in the public eye. This was a racist attack and part of an on-going pattern of institutional racism by law enforcement. We won't rest until the police who did this, and those who let them get away with it, are held to account so that this doesn't happen to anyone, including Tyree, ever again."
Justice4Tyree Campaign
 

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IN PAST ISSUES

Now through April 22 —

Commit2Respond Spotlight - News & Opportunities

Commit2Respond is a campaign for manifesting the vision of Unitarian Universalism as a leading liberal religious force for climate justice. Our mission is to foster collaboration, coordination, and collective action among UU groups, congregations, and individuals in partnership with frontlines communities and other people of faith, grounded in our awareness of climate change as a moral issue.


Here is a spotlight on some upcoming opportunities for activation, connection, education and inspiration:

ACTIVATION
Climate Justice Month 2017: March 22 - April 22

From International advocacy and witness at the United Nations climate talks to solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock, Unitarian Universalists continue to show up to calls for climate justice. Let's celebrate and uplift this commitment in our congregations.

Climate Justice Month 2017 will begin on World Water Day (March 22) and culminates on Earth Day (April 22). Commit2Respond will distribute weekly notices during Climate Justice month with tools and resources, reflections, and calls to action. UU Ministry for Earth will be providing the 11th Annual Earth Day Worship packet; the 2017 theme will be 'truth-telling.' Look for the resources to begin appearing on the UUMFE and Commit2Respond websites later this week.

Planning something at your congregation? Add it to the Commit2Respond event calendar!

http://www.commit2respond.org/events?utm_campaign=spotlight_3_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=c2r

Prepare for the People's Climate March - Webinar on March 23, at 7:30 pm EST

On April 29, 2017, Unitarian Universalists and people of all faiths will come together with hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of people for the People's Climate Movement - March for Climate, Jobs, & Justice.

Join Rev. Karen Brammer (UUA Green Sanctuary Program Director) and Aly Tharp (Commit2Respond, UU Ministry for Earth, & UU Young Adults for Climate Justice Program Coordinator) in a webinar on MARCH 23rd at 7:30 pm Eastern to hear the latest about how Unitarian Universalist communities and activists around the country can participate in the People's Climate Movement - March for Climate, Jobs, & Justice. RSVP HERE for the CALL. https://docs.google.com/a/abington.k12.pa.us/forms/d/e/
1FAIpQLSfGURXsPHFqfjwN0ufF7ONrbrEAYn_3Ht_kf9enpLI3p7N5GQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

EDUCATION

March 22 - 24: Water Justice: Faith Communities can Help

Trinity Church Wall Street will present Trinity Institute 2017: Water Justice on March 22-24, 2017. This will be a global conference held in NYC and webcast worldwide. With sharp focus on the need for water justice initiatives in areas of access, droughts, pollution, rising tides, and flooding, Trinity Institute will offer actionable guidance for individuals, congregations, and the larger faith community surrounding these issues. Speakers include Barbara Boxer, Christiana Peppard, Winston Halapua, Thabo Makgoba, Katharine Hayhoe, Maude Barlow, David Toomey, Kim Stanley Robinson, and others. One unique feature of Trinity Institute is that you can register to be a Partner Site to live-stream the conference in your community for $100-$500. A site may already be registered for your area. More details HERE: https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/trinity-institute/2017/home

Thank you for reading!
Onward,
Aly Tharp
Commit2Respond Executive Team
Programs Coordinator, UU Ministry for Earth, UU Young Adults for Climate Justice

Sunday, April 30 —

2017 Peace Walk

14th Annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation
Listening in Humility, Walking in Strength

Sunday Afternoon, April 30, 2017 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

West Oak Lane Community of Philadelphia
Beginning at Masjidullah, 7401 Limekiln Pike

Sunday, May 7 & 8 —

Immigrant and Refugee Rights to Convene


https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-immigrant-and-refugee-rights-convening-tickets-31739432497

June 10-20 & July 7-19 —

Whale Coast Alaska 2017

A Priestly Letter to Speaker Paul Ryan

Dear Speaker and Congressman Paul Ryan,

As a priest who commemorates his 50th year in the priesthood this year (28 as a Roman Catholic and 22 as an Episcopalian), and as your elder, I am writing you this letter because I am worried about your soul.

We all know you take good care of your body, working out frequently in the congressional gym we taxpayers provide for those in Congress, and that is a good thing. But I am concerned that you are neglecting your soul. It too requires work-outs and practice to stay healthy.

You claim to be a good and a practicing Catholic Christian but I have serious doubts that you are. Our Christian beliefs include these words of Jesus after all: "What does it profit a person if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?" These powerful words are surely important for anyone serving in public office or any other places of responsibility, whether in government or business or church or wherever. Yes, they even apply to your close buddies the Koch brothers, upon whom you depend so fully for your income and ideas and campaigns and job. Click to read the entire letter...

Report from Member Sandy F. on Homelessness Hearing

On March 13, a very cold day when homeless persons are at maximum risk, Sandy F. represented Restoration's Justice Council in Room 400, City Hall for a hearing on the homelessness crisis, inspired by Councilwoman Blackwell. It began with a preliminary introduction of the subject to already favorable Councilpersons prior to the arrival of the rest of the Council at 10 am.

The purpose of the presentation was to convince the Council of the need for more attention and more money, to counteract the city's homelessness problem. About 90% of the women who become the sole support of their children are victims of partner abuse or abandonment, or of having to flee, but it has increased greatly since the 2007-8 Recession. Temporary shelters aren't a solution, and one speaker told stories of her and her children's time in shelters. There are punitive laws barring formerly imprisoned felons from public housing and laws unfairly favoring private landlords. Some Councilpersons seemed surprised to learn of laws permitting the practice of keeping a long-ago eviction on the books, which enables landlords to deny a tenant application or demand an excessive 4 months' rent as security. One speaker who has earned a college education and has long been employed at a good salary was denied because of an eviction during her early years of poverty. All of these laws need to be discarded. Click to read the entire report...

House GOP Revives Raft of Controversial 'Law and Order' Bills

Over the past week, PA House Republicans have doubled down on a string of controversial law-and-order bills, many of which failed to clear the Legislature in years past. The new bills cover topics including sanctuary cities, mandatory minimums and concealing the identity of police involved in shootings.

Many of the bills have previously attracted opposition from legal groups, Democrats and some Republicans.

On Monday, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe summoned reporters to an unusual midday press conference where he and a slew of House colleagues trumpeted a package of bills targeting what the House member described as an "illegal alien invasion" of the commonwealth. Click to read the entire article...

EPA Environmental Justice Leader Resigns, amid White House Plans to Dismantle Program



Mustafa Ali of the Environmental Protection Agency speaks on human rights and the environment during a Wilson Center event in Washington last June. Chris Cruz Wilson CenterEnvironmental Change and Security Program

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/09/epas-environmental-justice-leader-steps-down-amid-white-house-plans-to-dismantle-program/?utm_term=.fcdbbaf2d61c

A key environmental justice leader at the Environmental Protection Agency has resigned, saying that a recent budget proposal to defund such work would harm the people who most rely on the EPA. Mustafa Ali, a senior adviser and assistant associate administrator for environmental justice, has served more than two decades at the agency, working to ease the burden of air and water pollution in hundreds of poor, minority communities nationwide. He helped found the EPA's environmental justice office during the early 1990s and became a key adviser to agency administrators under Republican and Democratic presidents. Click to read the entire article...

Health Bill Would Add 24 Million Uninsured but
Save $337 Billion, Report Says

Tom Price, center, the secretary of health and human services, with Mick Mulvaney, right, President Trump's budget director, denounced the Congressional Budget Office's findings on the Republican health bill on Monday. "We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out," Mr. Price said. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

Tom Price, center, the secretary of health and human services, with Mick Mulvaney, right, President Trump's budget director, denounced the Congressional Budget Office's findings on the Republican health bill on Monday. "We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out," Mr. Price said. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON - The House Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of people without health insurance by 24 million by 2026, while slicing $337 billion off federal budget deficits over that time, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

Republicans had been bracing for what was almost certain to be a bleak accounting of the legislation's projected effects. The American Health Care Act, as Republicans call their bill, was already facing widespread criticism from health care providers, some conservatives and a united Democratic Party.

The much-anticipated judgment by Capitol Hill's official scorekeeper did not back up President Trump's promise of providing health care for everyone and was likely to fuel the concerns of moderate Republicans. Next year, it said, the number of uninsured Americans would be 14 million higher than expected under current law.

But it also provided talking points for House Republican leaders who need the support of rebellious conservatives to pass the measure: lower deficits, reduced federal spending and tax cuts.

wmcid:2517F65C-5156-4632-9E73-839F2C5AA159
Document: C.B.O. Rates Republican Health Care Plan

The Trump administration immediately denounced the budget office's conclusions. Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, suggested the report offered an incomplete picture because it did not take into account regulatory steps he intends to take, as well as other legislation that Republicans plan as part of their multistep strategy to repeal and replace the health law.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/us/politics/affordable-care-act-health-congressional-budget-office.html?emc=edit_th_20170314&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=18707173

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/13/us/politics/document-CBO-Health-Care-Cost-Estimates.html

Member Report from Paul M. on Power Live-Free Campaign Meeting

I attended the March 9th POWER Live Free Action Team meeting and following is a summary of the issues covered:
  • I attended the meeting to inform the action team about the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration to help build mutual support between the two groups. The team invited CADBI to inform them of future actions which they could support.
  • Most of the meeting focused on the Philadelphia District Attorney's race. The team has had research meetings with four of the candidates and is working to arrange meetings with the others. The results of the research meetings were reported on and discussed.
  • The team plans to develop a set of yes/no questions and send a written questionnaire to each of the candidates. Based on the responses, the team will produce and distribute an information report card based on the candidates' responses.
  • A hearing was scheduled by Councilman Curtis Jones for March 13th on the proposed use of body cameras by the police department. This is most likely the first of two or three hearings.
  • Two main points arose from the discussion of the hearings. First, as the hearings are now organized, they will consist of academic and other "expert" testimony, and POWER will push for an opportunity for community representatives to speak. Secondly, concern was raised about the degree of FOP influence in developing regulations governing the use of the body cameras. For example, it was reported that the FOP wishes the regulations to allow the officer to view the body camera recording before writing his or her incidence report.
  • The action team will meet again on March 21st as part of the POWER meeting on March 21st.
Paul M.

White Supremacy Groups Recruit on Campuses

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Lone Star State is the worst in the country when it comes to hate groups recruiting on college campuses.

The claim comes from an Anti-Defamation League report looking at the white supremacist presence at different colleges.

As of March 6, the ADL logged 107 instances of white supremacist groups posting hateful fliers at campuses across the country during this school year alone-with the vast majority of those incidents happening since January. The ADL, which calls the recruiting effort "unprecedented," reports that Texas, along with California, has seen the most activity.

Looking at Texas provides some insight into the deliberate, organized nature of the recruiting. One of the most prominent white supremacist groups in the country, Vanguard America, announced a "Texas Offensive" last month, a "mass poster effort" that targeted seven Texas universities, including Texas State University, Rice, and most recently, Texas Christian University. Louisiana State University was also included in the offensive, despite, you know, not being in Texas. Click to read the entire article...

Action on the Environment from UU Youth

The proposed federal budget includes seriously dangerous budget cuts to environmental justice and climate programs for the EPA, NOAA, and NASA. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the proposal "shows the Trump administration doesn't hold the same American values for clean air, clean water and healthy land as the vast majority of its citizens... Our health comes before the special interests of multibillion-dollar industries." (Source: AP, 3/3/17)

Here are some highlights of the budget cuts to the EPA:
The Environmental Justice program budget, which has historically supplied grants to 1,400 frontline communities, would be cut 78%, from $6.7 million to 1.4 million. Mustafa Ali, the director of the program for 24 years, resigned last week, saying "My values and priorities seem to be different than our current leadership and because of that I feel that it's best if I take my talents elsewhere." Funding for restoration work in Puget Sound, the country's second-largest estuary, would be cut from $28 million to $2 million.

Funding to combat algae blooms, invasive species and other water pollution problems in the Great Lakes, the world's largest group of freshwater lakes, would be cut from $300 million to $10 million. Funding for restoration in Chesapeake Bay, the country's largest estuary, would be cut from $73 million to $5 million.

The EPA's work studying endocrine disruptor chemicals that can interfere with the body's reproductive and developmental systems would drop from $7.5 million to $445,000.

$9.5 million of EPA funding for state testing of bacteria levels at beaches around the country would be 100% eliminated.

$8.7 million annually for children's environmental education programs would be cut to $555,000.
(Source & More Info at: OregonLive.com, 3/2/17)

Proposed NOAA budget cuts endanger climate science research and data collection, and coastal resilience programs meant to help coastal communities adapt to the increased risk of extreme weather and sea level rise. "NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would lose $126 million, or 26 percent, of the funds it has under the current budget." (Source: Washington Post, 3/3/17)

COMMIT2RESPOND: Call your congresspersons in the House and Senate, and tell them:

"As a person of faith, I believe we have an obligation to protect the web of life and the human rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and a livable climate. I support the important work of the EPA, NOAA, and NASA, to help us restore ecosystems, study climate change, and support communities disproportionately impacted by industrial pollution. I am against budget cuts to government environmental justice, climate research, and climate change adaptation and mitigation programs."

The Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region invite congregations all over the country to incorporate letter writing into their climate justice advocacy. Volunteers with UUSJ's Advocacy Corps will deliver your congregation's letters on Capitol Hill. Visit their website for a toolkit and more information.

Special thanks to Jan Dash, UU-United Nations Office Climate Portal volunteer editor, for his research and work bringing this call forward.

Thank you,

Urgent Action Alert from UUPLAN

From UUPLAN's Economic Justice Team

Things You Can do Today

  1. Call Rep. Patty Kim. Thank her for proposing legislation to raise the minimum wage. Currently she is considering a two tier raise, with larger businesses going to 15/hr and smaller to 12/hr by 2023. We think that all workers need to go to 15/hr. Please ask her to consider final proposal to include only a single minimum of 15. Her number is 717-772-3570
  2. Call Senator Christine Tartaglione and thank her for SB 12 which proposes a 15/hr minimum wage by 2021. Her wage for tipped workers is 70% of that. Ask her for a single fair minimum wage of 15/hr. Her number is 717-787-1141.
  3. Find constituents of Senator Street. We need to meet with him to oppose payday lending.

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