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The One True Response
by Marta Valentín
from "A Long Time Blooming: Meditations"

Life has been doing itself since it was created.
In the beginning, as it is now,
it has been about becoming...
What does the world wish to become?
Its magical secrets hidden among the leaves in the forest-
sitting, waiting, being,
yearning to be discovered by a fellow traveler. . . .

Desiring to be,
the world has been surrounded, cornered,
encroached upon by an army of doers,
relentlessly testing reality,
the sin of simply standing there like a forest tree unbearable, unimaginable,
yet inevitable,
a necessary rite of passage
requiring
only movement of the mind...
Spirit teaches every day that the act of doing
is based on being:
they are inextricable.

In the being,
the leaf falls gracefully to float along on the wings of wind,
letting itself rest on the forest floor
or be held by another branch,
letting itself move downstream
trusting the process,
remembering that Spirit is the host
and the leaf a guest in this life,
knowing in its being that its story
is its own history of salvation,
even amidst a million leaves in the forest.

God calls...
Spirit calls...
Life calls...
and the act of being is the one true response.

Posted Thursday, April 27

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...

Saturday, April 29 —

Please help us welcome the
Heartbeat Ensemble to Mishkan
this Saturday evening 4/29

Purchase Tickets at: https://mishkan.org/events/2017-04-29/heartbeat-concert-fundraiser


UU White Supremacy TeachIn

"On Sunday, April 30, or Sunday, May 7, join a large, growing group of Unitarian Universalists who will shift our regularly scheduled Sunday morning worship to participate in a teach-in on racism and white supremacy. On these two Sundays, you and your UU community will be participating with thousands of UUs around the country in this large-scale historic action. This call to action and worship comes from a growing network of UUs--religious professionals and lay leaders from both within and outside congregations — led by UUs of color and white UUs working together.

Over the past few weeks, many have been responding to calls by UUs of color to look critically *within* our faith communities--including hiring practices, power brokers, and cultural habits--for the ways racism, sexism, and white supremacy live.

"White supremacy" is a provocative phrase, as it conjures up images of hoods and mobs. Yet in 2017, actual "white supremacists" are not required in order to uphold white supremacist culture. Building a faith full of people who understand that key distinction is essential as we work toward a more just society in difficult political times.

For more information on what spurred this call to action, head to UUWorld.org and click the article "Critics decry white supremacy in hiring practices." It has become clear that, in order for us to be more effective at tackling the white supremacy beyond our walls, we must also identify ways in which systems of supremacy and inequality live within our faith and our lives.

The ask is simple, and challenging: During your Sunday worship time on April 30, or May 7, devote your program — youth group, children's chapel, all-ages sermon, Sunday morning forum, and so on — to explore white supremacy, and help your UU community commit to resisting it. In the coming days, there will be worship, religious education, and community-based resources available here to help your congregation take on this task.

Why change your worship plan? Many of us work in congregations, and know that such shifts require work and can challenge our comfort levels. That's precisely why we feel it's important. We believe that hundreds of UU churches signaling to their own members and to the larger community that "our faith takes racism seriously, especially within our own walls" will push our faith toward the beloved community we all seek.

Whether your UU community has dozens of members and children of color, or just about everyone is white, the commitment to combat white supremacy must be strong and urgent. Battling racism in its many forms is not easy. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it takes a commitment to disrupt business as usual."

http://www.blacklivesuu.com/uuwhitesupremacyteachin/

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

Tuesday, May 2 —

Intersection of Religious and Civic Life

With gratitude to the Free Library of Philadelphia for sponsoring this event out of their inclusivity series, we invite you to join us for an interfaith panel on the intersection of civic engagement and religious beliefs across various faiths. This FREE event is open to the public. There will be introductions of the participants, questions from the moderator, then Q & A from the audience.

Event Information:
Intersection of Religious and Civic Life: An Interfaith Panel

Moderated by: Rev. Nicole Diroff, Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia

Date: Tuesday, May 2 | 7:00 - 8:30 PM

Location: Parkway Central Library; 1901 Vine Street | Rooms 405/406/407
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.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/us/flint-water-blight-violence.html?emc=edit_th_20170426&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=18707173

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

Friend,

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.

Onward,
Team March for Science & Team 314 Action
 

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IN PAST ISSUES

Sunday, May 7 & 8 —

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...

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.

June 10-20 & July 7-19 —

Whale Coast Alaska 2017

The Intersection of Race, Economics, and Climate

God's creation is threatened by the growing crisis of climate change and racial and economic abuses that hurt the most vulnerable of our community. Join in building power towards the creation of Green Jobs, claiming economic opportunity in renewable energy and efficiency: "Building Power at the Intersection of Race, Economics, and Climate" Saturday, April 22, from 6 to 8:30 pm at the POWER office (1429 N 11th St., Philadelphia 19122). The training will also organize people into roles for the spring escalation of our Power Local Green Jobs Campaign.

Entrance to the office is through courtyard building to the back and right of the church. Pizza will be available at 6 pm. Free childcare is available by contacting ygimenez@powerphiladelphia.org with the names, age, and number of children attending before April 15. Please bring age-appropriate entertainment.

PLEASE SAVE THESE DATES:

April 22 Training (see above): Original documentary by POWER shown for the first time, art project for all ages, learn about solar energy jobs from an expert.

May 22: 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: Paula paulajp1012@gmail.com or the POWER office 215-232-7697.

Madres Berks Closer to Deportation

U.S. high court denies petition by women held in Berks immigrant detention center [updated]
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review a petition by two dozen Central American women and their young children to have their asylum cases considered outside of federal immigration courts. The decision is an enormous setback for the plaintiffs, who sought to have their cases heard in front of a member of the judicial branch, rather than immigration judges, who work for the Department of Justice, a process immigrant rights advocates say is slanted to favor the government. Click to read the entire article...

Philadelphia's Unemployment Sky High

White People Own Nearly 4 Out of 5 Businesses in Philadelphia

Pew Charitable Trusts released its annual "State of the City" report (http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/assets/2017/04/pri_philadelphia_2017_
state_of_the_city.pdf
) this month, which gives us a snapshot of Philadelphia's progress in categories like the economy, education, housing and the arts.

In its ninth year, the report found that Philly is still battling some long-term problems like unemployment and poverty. But Pew also found that the Philadelphians they surveyed believed the city was moving in the right direction, and more respondents believed this than in any other year of the survey.

Here are seven business-community related takeaways from Pew's report: Click to read the entire article...

A Muslim Teen went Viral for Flawlessly Shutting Down
some Islamophobic Nonsense

Lamyaa, a 17-year old Pennsylvania teen, was in a heated group chat discussing politics when she called out Donald Trump's treatment of Muslims. Shortly after, a friend of a friend asked her to stop defending her religion.

"Stop defending Islam Bitch," the message read according to screenshots Lamyaa posted on Twitter. "You couldn't take that scarf off or your dad would beat your ass." To prove how ignorant that assumption was, Lamyaa texted her father and told him she wanted to take off her hijab.

"If it's what you feel like you want to do, go ahead," her father said in response, according to screenshots posted to Twitter. "I'll support you no matter what." Lamyaa then posted the two screenshots side-by-side on Twitter.

(Lamyaa, who did not give me her last name, told me that the person who made the original ignorant comment didn't respond to the screenshots of the messages with her dad).

The post has gone viral, with over 143,000 retweets and 314,000 likes. Lamyaa has used the attention to call out Islamophobia and ignorance.

Many people tweeted in support of the teen, but some users pointed out that while Lamyaa is not being forced to wear the hijab, there are women who still are.

"Yes, a lot of women are forced to where the hijab. That's horrible and I have [been] one to point that out numerous times," Lamyaa said in a follow-up tweet. "That oppression however is not what the hijab symbolizes, it's not why women wear it. I personally chose to wear the the hijab, for myself and for god."

"I will always stand up for others and it breaks my heart to know that some women do not get to make a choice in what they do with their OWN bodies," she added. Despite her father's supportive response and the current Islamophobic climate, Lamyaa said in a tweet that she does not plan to stop wearing her hijab.

http://fusion.net/a-muslim-teen-went-viral-for-flawlessly-shutting-down-s-1794393604?utm_source=fusion_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2017-04-17

It's Long Past Time to End Solitary Confinement for Juvenile Offenders

Children are not small adults. That is why we have, among other age-specific accommodations, an education system to nurture young minds and children's hospitals to treat growing bodies. Our justice system also recognizes the distinction, with separate procedures and facilities for processing juvenile cases and detaining youth offenders.

Still, relics of a less enlightened past remain. The time has come to address one such relic in our justice system: the use of solitary confinement for young people. Click to read the entire article...

Call to Action from the National Council of La Raza

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the law of the land. However, the fight to protect and defend our health care is not over.

That's because certain Members of Congress want to revive the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that would cut Medicaid by $880 billion over 10 years and leave 24 million Americans - including Latinos, children, and seniors-without health insurance. Just 17% of Americans support this bill, yet some members want to make it even worse!

Lives are on the line, and the time to act is now!
From now until April 23, members are in their districts for the April congressional recess. While they're back home, they need to hear from YOU.

Here's what you can do TODAY to make sure your representatives reject the American Health Care Act (AHCA), permanently!

  1. Turn out to town halls or other events. Find out if your member is holding a town hall or other public event (https://www.resistancerecess.com/event/resistance-aprilrecess/search/), and tell them that your health is too important to gamble on. No town hall? Set up a district meeting (http://familiesusa.org/product/how-set-meeting-your-member-congress).
  2. Get your member on the record. Access to basic health services is on the line. Tell your member to recommit to opposing efforts to cut health coverage, increase costs, or eliminate basic services - like cancer screenings and prescription drugs. You can get some ideas for questions (http://familiesusa.org/sites/default/files/documents/April_Recess_Townhall_
    Questions.pdf)
    .
  3. Hold your member accountable. Nearly 100 members came out in support of taking coverage away from millions of Americans. They need to hear directly from you about what that means at public events, letters to the editor (https://www.facebook.com/SEIU521/posts/10154235846150028), calls to their offices, and social media. If your member opposed this effort, make sure to thank them and encourage them to keep opposing this bad bill.
  4. Need some help with what to say? Here are some talking points (http://familiesusa.org/sites/default/files/documents/April_recess_Talking_points.pdf) to get you started. We must protect and defend against these threats to our health care. Tell your representatives to permanently reject the AHCA today! ¡Adelante!
Steven Lopez
Manager, Health Policy Project

Wolf Administration Clashes with Lawmakers,
Advocates over Mandatory Minimums


Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold - who is also president of the state District Attorneys Association -
speaks at a pro-mandatory minimum rally at the Capitol. (Katie Meyer/WITF)

A substantial part of the state legislature wants to reinstate laws that let prosecutors push for harsh, mandatory minimum prison sentences in certain crimes. But others - including Governor Tom Wolf and his head of corrections - oppose such a move because they say it won't actually cut down on crime.

The conflict originated in 2015, when the state Supreme Court ruled most of the commonwealth's mandatory minimum sentences unconstitutional. Since then many lawmakers, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, and groups like the Crime Victims Alliance of Pennsylvania have been trying to get them back.

Speaking at the Crime Victims Alliance's annual event in the Capitol, Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold said that's the smartest move. "Mandatory minimums, as a fact, remove the most dangerous criminals from our streets," he said. Republican Representative Todd Stephens of Montgomery County, who sponsored the bill, elaborated in a phone interview.

"Mandatory minimums came into being in the 1980s, and the 1990s saw the most dramatic reduction in crime that we've seen in a generation," he said. But opponents like Corrections Department Secretary John Wetzel interpret the situation - and the data - differently."Every study we've done on this shows no enhancement of public safety by using mandatories," he said, adding that keeping criminals in prison longer is a drain on resources for the already-beleaguered Corrections Department.

A proposal to reinstate the minimum is slated for a House vote this week, and is expected to pass. It's unclear how it will fare in the Senate. Governor Tom Wolf has said he strongly opposes it.

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/102804-wolf-administration-clashes-with-lawmakers-advocates-over-mandatory-minimums

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