This Week in Social Action

The Social Action Ministry (SAM) at First Parish comes from our Unitarian Universalist faith based on the values of love, justice, community and responsibility. We do this within the supportive environment of our broader church community and the mission of First Parish “…to act on our values to serve the larger community and create a more just and loving world.”

Economic Justice Advocacy

Last week First Parish’s Economic Justice Team met with Laura Wagner, UUMass Action Director, to explore areas of common interest. UUMass Action has been organizing and mobilizing congregations in the state since 2006. It gives effective public voice to our moral values. This, Laura explained, is different from “issue” organizing in that it lifts a moral umbrella under which a diversity of issues are acted upon. She noted that with this framework individuals might have a primary concern that they work on, but they also “show up” for other actions and events that support our values. This faith based approach, and the priority issues it works on (Immigration, Economic Justice, Climate Change, and End Mass Incarceration Together), mirror those worked on by many FP folks. The FP team looks forward to working closely with UUMassAction. To learn more about them visit their website here and hold the date of April 11 for UUMass Action Advocacy Day. Attending: Rev. Anne, Pete, Stephen Shick, Jane Beswick, Karolyn Eisenstein, Dave Pollack, and Bob Kvaal.

Criminal Justice Advocacy

The UU group, End Mass Incarceration Together (EMIT) has been working very hard on criminal justice advocacy over the past few years.  EMIT sent out the following good news indicating the possibility of some good changes this year coming from the State House.

“Thanks to your actions in support of justice and corrections systems reform in Massachusetts, we have scored a major victory. House Speaker DeLeo appointed a more progressive legislator, Rep. Claire Cronin, D-Brockton, as co-chair ( with Sen. Will Brownsberger, D-Belmont) of the joint Committee on the Judiciary of the Statehouse. This ​is worth celebrating because the House Co-Chair of Judiciary has a huge influence over what bills are heard, voted on and released from committee, to go before the whole Statehouse for a vote.”

This following action item appears in the UUMass Action newsletter. The original goal was to obtain 500 signatures by February 14th. That goal has been reached and upgraded to 750 signatures. Please read below and consider signing.
Sign on Letter for Ending Mass Incarceration
Led by the Coalition for Effective Public Safety (CEPS), a sign-on letter has been created demanding that state leaders make good on promises to improve fairness and outcomes for those in the system, reduce prison and jail populations, decrease recidivism, and cut prison costs. We also urge the Governor and legislators to take responsibility now in executive actions and legislation to address long-standing failings of the Department of Correction and the Parole Board.
Individuals and organizations are called to sign the letter which details what must be corrected in the criminal justice system.
We are also asking you to tell your legislators to call on Governor Charlie Baker, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg to address the clear and profound disparate treatment of people of color in our justice system and to address necessary justice issues spelled out in the letter. 
Click HERE to Sign Your Name

Other Social Action News:

Special Plate Collection Thank You

Donations received during last Sunday’s special plate collection for WATCH, a Community Development Corporation located in Waltham, totaled $1,251. The money will go for the important work that WATCH does in their community “by promoting affordable housing, providing adult education and leadership development, and empowering underrepresented residents through civic engagement.” Thank you for your generosity!

Black Lives Matter Boston: In Their Own Words

The First Parish in Brookline, UU, invite all to hear Black Lives Matter Boston activists who have been on the front lines talk about the context of black history and what the struggle looks like today! Discover how individuals and faith communities can make a difference. Sunday, February 26th, 3-4:30 pm, First Parish in Brookline, 382 Walnut Street, Brookline.