Social Justice

Social Justice2019-05-06T09:01:03-05:00

For Unitarian Universalists, social justice means taking action. Our Social Justice Committee participates in an array of social action programs in order to lift up and contribute to our communities, locally, nationally and internationally.  We work for change from the ground up and we work to balance the scales of justice.

We welcome more participants to continue to move forward and we celebrate new initiatives!

The Social Justice Committee meets the 2nd Sunday of the month at 11:30am, in the Library. We meet to plan and touch base with the leaders of our current projects. All are welcome to attend.

Peg Dobrinska, Chair 

Upcoming:

Habitat for Humanity Needs Your Help!

Ken Riznyk islooking for a handful of volunteers to paint the interior of a Habitat house in Bellefonte on May 11th. He’s also looking for someone to cook a lunch for about 10 people, something simple like chili or sloppy joes. Contact Ken Riznyk at (kynzirnek@gmail.com) or 360-4436.

1st Sunday Plate Collection Nominations

It’s time to nominate charities for our 1st Sunday collections. Every month we designate a charity to receive a collection which averages about $1200/month. Please fill out the 2019 Charity Nomination Form  and send to Peg at mdobrinska413@comcast.net or drop off in the plastic bin attached to the office door. We will select the charities for the next six months at the annual meeting on June 2. Please don’t limit your nominations to local charities. There are 3.1 million people seeking asylum throughout the world.

Fair Districts and the Governor’s Commission

Thursday, May 16th, 4-7pm

Request for Citizen input The Governor’s Commission on Redistricting Reform is meeting in Altoona Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the PSU Altoona Devorris Downtown Center. Contact kynzirnek@gmail.com to carpool. You don’t have to speak but come and be counted as nothing we want from the PA legislature will ever happen without fair districts.

VOTE!

May 21st

Vote in the special election to replace Congressman Merino. Choose your primary candidates for November, too. There are no off year elections!

Fair Districts

May 21st

Help educate voters about the importance of passing legislation to create a Fair Districts Commission. PA is one of the most gerrymandered states in the US. The courts stepped in and redid the congressional maps but we need a new state map for our state government, too. Nothing we value will pass in PA until we establish Fair Districts. Contact Toby or Pam Short (theshortgroup@gmail.com).

General Assembly Spokane Washington

June 19th-23rd, 2019

UU’s from across the country gather once each year to attend to organizational business, hear from national leaders in many fields, plan and worship together. Great opportunity for new ideas and inspiration. Registration for each General Assembly (GA) generally opens on March 1, and pages are updated accordingly. Scholarships are available. https://www.uua.org/calendars/uua/general-assembly-2019

For Green Sanctuary information and events, please CLICK HERE.

Social Action Initiatives throughout the Year:

Do you know about Faithify?

FAITHIFY.org is the crowdfunding resource for all Unitarian Universalists. Faithify not only helps you raise money and fund great ideas; it helps you tell your story. Check the faithify.org website from time to time and assist other UU’s in realizing their dreams. If you want to start your own Faithify fundraising campaign, check with Peg or Ken for some fundraising strategies. To date there have been 360 fundraising efforts with 82% meeting their goals.

Prison Society

Many UU members continue to provide services, visits and programs to people incarcerated in Centre County.

Would you like to join the work of the UU’s who volunteer at the County Prison on the Benner Pike? Here are the many ways we support the inmates:

  • We and the inmates created a beautiful quilt that is framed and hangs in the visitor’s waiting area. It depicts the aspirations of the inmates.
  • We maintain the prison libraries on each cell block.
  • We offer classes in yoga, meditation, line dancing and arts and crafts.
  • We just received a grant to purchase materials for a parent training class that will allow inmates to have contact visits with their children. Eighty percent of the inmates at CCCF are parents. Some of us will be trained to be the instructors.
  • We advocated and succeeded in changing the clothing policy for each inmate to include warm long sleeve thermal shirts.
  • We video record stories read by inmates to their children and mail them to their families.
  • We meet with individual inmates at their request and advocate for their special requests such as glasses, orthopedic shoes, medication, and transportation after release, and contact with their children.
  • We participate in the weekly Prison Board meetings.
  • We updated the information guide given to inmates and their families.
  • We are supporting the effort to get an outside recreation area established. Right now there are no windows in the cell blocks and no outside time.
  • We participate in the ReEntry Coalition to reduce recidivism … ie. assisting our Centre County neighbors when they leave the jail to resume their lives.

Please contact Janet Irons at ironsjanetc@gmail.com or Peg Dobrinska at mdobrinska413@comcast.net if you are interested in learning more about our work at the Centre County Correctional Facility. We do our work under the guidance and structure of the Prison Society. The Prison Society was founded by Ben Franklin and is protected by law in Pa. It guarantees citizen access to the prisons in Pennsylvania. This is an important safeguard for inmates, staff and our community.

First Sunday Plate Collections

Twice a year the congregation selects 6 charities to receive all the funds given at the first plate collection of each month.  The UUFCC donates about $16,000 each year to various local, state and national charities. Recent and upcoming recipients include Park Forest Preschool, Schlow Library, Children’s Advocacy Center, Women’s’ Resource Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, and many other deserving organizations.

First Plate Collections approved at 2018 Mid-Year Meeting

January – Out of the Cold
February – Centre Helps
March – Meals on Wheels
April – Habitat for Humanity
May – InterFaith Human Services, Money Management Program

June – Split plate between Youth and RE chosen charities

Green Sanctuary  

Click here for more information on the Green Sanctuary

The UUFCC is now a fully accreditation Green Sanctuary. The program involved examining our current environmental impact and developing sustainable practices grounded in Unitarian Universalism. In pursuit of accreditation, we pursued study, reflection, and action for today’s environmental challenges – including climate change and environmental justice. Successful completion has resulted in Green Sanctuary accreditation: a formal recognition of our service and dedication to the Earth.

For more information on Green Sanctuary, or to get involved, contact Dorothy Blair   ey6@psu.edu

Out of the Cold

UUFCC is part of a team of 12 area churches used as overnight housing sites for those in our community who don’t have a place to live during the winter months. Hot meals, packed lunches, hygiene kits, blankets, and cots are available for anyone who needs a place to stay. If you want to be a part of this outreach ministry team, Out of the Cold will provide the necessary training and hands-on opportunities to serve.

For more information, contact Peg Dobrinska (mdobrinska413@comcast.net)

RESIST Table in Fellowship Hall

Be sure to stop at the SA table after services on Sunday. We will attempt to have a weekly update asking for you to contact your legislators in favor of or opposing proposed legislation. This is very easy to do and we have sample scripts. We will have petitions and other information for you. If you want the congregation to respond to something that is troubling you, send to mdobrinska413@comcast.net

The November elections show that anger can motivate a lot of people to become politically active. Putting that anger into action can create change. All across the US, new candidates emerged, particularly women, and many were successful. In PA we may have a Supreme Court that will support an end to gerrymandering. We need to keep pressure on our legislators to do what’s right to protect our Democracy.

Troy Frank has joined the Environmental Justice Team and will keep us informed of legislation that we will support or we will oppose.

UUPLAN

UUFCC are active members of UU Plan (www.uuplan.com), the statewide UU Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network that supports legislative action on a variety of justice issues. The current political trends in PA are directly threatening to UU values regarding the rights and dignity of individuals, the democratic process, caring for our environment, and the rights of women and people of color.

We have chosen to advocate for justice on seven key issues:

  • Economic Justice  (Ken Riznyk)
  • Environmental Justice (open)
  • Immigration  (Elaine Jurs- temporary)
  • LGBTQ  (open)
  • Mass Incarceration  (Peg Dobrinska)
  • Preventing Gun Violence in PA  (Libby Gage)
  • Reproductive Justice  (Michal Stump)
  • Good Governance  (Ron Simpson)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ANY OF THESE TOPICS OR WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE CONTACT KEN, ELAINE, PEG, LIBBY, MICHAL, FRANK, OR TOBY.

Mayan Families- Service trip to Panajachel, Guatemala 

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For the past several years, we have made service trips to Panajachel, Guatemala. In the Spring of 2017, we constructed a very basic two bedroom house. We also developed a preschool lesson in Spanish to present in all the preschools and left enough supplies for it to be repeated throughout the year.

For details on upcoming service trips, contact Peg Dobrinska (mdobrinska413@comcast.net)

A look at one of our past trips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou2lFcsrzOc&t=405s

Interfaith Power and Light- Weatherization

Our Weatherization Teams work together with Interfaith Power and Light.  This program enables low income families to get help with the weatherization of their homes, saving them money and reducing energy consumption.  

Our clients are people who receive financial heating assistance. Contact Ken Riznyk at kynzirnek@gmail.com

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Who We Are

We are brave, curious, diverse and compassionate thinkers and doers who believe in doing good.

What We Are Doing

Standing for love, justice, and peace since 1865, we gather for worship, programs, events and more.

Get Involved

Bring your passion and desire to see change. Be prepared to exercise your mind and open your heart.

Location

We'd love to get to meet you. Please join us for a meeting or stop by our main meeting place.