Social Justice

“Voting is power. Who has it? And who is exercising their power?

“Oftentimes I use that word ‘exercise’ when talking about democracy. I say, ‘Democracy is like a muscle—it needs to be used in order to be strong.’ My question to you, to us: ‘Are you exercising all of your power—all of your power?’ It can be scary to acknowledge your own power.” (Karen Mitchell)

Deliberate, clear, powerful & empowering: League of Women Voters-Spartanburg President and UUCS member Karen Mitchell’s sermon On Sunday, August 30, 2020, calls us to use all of our power for this election season:

    1. Pay attention

      Is our state legislature making it easier for people to vote during the pandemic? (UUCS Voting Action Team: Look for our new wayside pulpit signs and banner, coming soon. The deadline to register online to vote is Sunday, October 4, 2020, or in person, Friday, Oct. 2nd. We’ll be moving from a focus on getting people registered, to getting out the vote. For the most inspiring presentation on the importance of voting and getting out the vote, watch Rev. Barber lead this program by the poor people’s campaign: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/?fbclid=IwAR09DlFQX7OgD7nt4rmdzZCm_mEqjGU2iHyT9RbbUqHXJQniDrwRiMe8M94)

    2. Talk about voting

      With someone different every day until the election on Nov. 3.

    3. Get out your calendar

      Mark the day when you will vote—and make time on that day for voting to be the priority, no matter how long it takes.

    4. Follow the instructions carefully when you vote

      Make it easy for the person counting to correctly count your vote.

    5. Vote early

      (Early Voting – UUCS Voting Team for Social Justice needs your political action on Early Voting! (Normally called “Absentee Voting”) In previous South Carolina elections (except the summer primaries) you had to have a reason to Absentee Vote. On September 15, 2020, the action call to get “no excuse” absentee voting for the general election has been passed! https://www.wltx.com/article/news/politics/south-carolina-passes-no-excuse-absentee-voting/101-aaf0f9a0-3611-4ff7-a4f5-6f2c8acfa4f3)

    6. Have patience

      Decide now that you will be patient for the results to come in. It will take days, and perhaps weeks, for the count to come in. Stay focused on the facts, and be patient.

Listen to the whole meditation here—it can move us from anxiety to power in this moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMe3LIUXdLE

Voter Registration

– Also we want to remind you to make sure your voter’s registration is up to date. If not, you can correct it through October 3, 2020. Just go to SCVotes.gov and you can:

    • Online Voter Registration
    • Check My Voter Registration
    • Update My Voter Registration
    • Get My Sample Ballot
    • Find My Polling Place
    • Get My Absentee Application
    • Check My Absentee Ballot
    • Check My Provisional Ballot
    • Contact My County Office

Vote411.org is another non-partisan source of information – sponsored by the League of Women Voters. It’s a fun, interactive site.

Questions? You can contact Ruth Stanton (ruthjstanton@gmail.com or 864-909-6027)

Volunteer with Voter Registration

– UUCS Social Justice Committee is working to distribute door hangers in conjunction with the League of Women Voters to educate and inform Upstate neighbors on how to register to vote. Email socialjustice@uucs.org to find out how you can help distribute these informational flyers in your area.

UUCS Social Justice News Blog

(September 17, 2020)

Congregational Dialogue: The Work of Consciousness

At our Annual Meeting in June, our congregation voted on a powerful new approach to Social Justice:

  • Once/quarter, we will gather as a congregation to do the work of consciousness through workshops and dialogues on becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppression, multicultural congregation. From this commitment to consciousness, four teams will work on four distinct projects in the areas of Immigration, Voting, Ecology, and Being a Neighbor.

We will host four congregational dialogues this year on becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppression, multi-cultural congregation. These will take place following Sunday services from 12:15 – 1:45 pm. These will be in a virtual Zoom format:

    • Oct. 4
    • Dec. 6
    • Feb 7
    • May 2

These sessions will strengthen how we work together and how we serve our community. They are for all of us as a congregation; they will change us all. Please plan to attend.

 

(September 16, 2020)

Voting Action Team:

Look for our new wayside pulpit signs and banner, coming soon. The deadline to register online to vote is Sunday, October 4, 2020, or in person, Friday, Oct. 2nd. We’ll be moving from a focus on getting people registered, to getting out the vote. For the most inspiring presentation on the importance of voting and getting out the vote, watch Rev. Barber lead this program by the poor people’s campaign: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/?fbclid=IwAR09DlFQX7OgD7nt4rmdzZCm_mEqjGU2iHyT9RbbUqHXJQniDrwRiMe8M94

MASK NEWSWe’ve made over 3,500!

In June, we donated over 200 masks to the Navajo Nation, so we rejoice especially in this news of its great progress in controlling Covid 19, from an NPR interview, (and the credit given to mask-wearing): https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/09/15/913246691/to-limit-covid-19-navajo-leader-says-listen-to-your-public-health-professionals
Our 16 member sewing circle has passed the 3,500 mark in our mask making!

Upcoming giveaway: PASOS event Saturday, Sep. 19th, PASOS event, with voter registration, census help, flu shots, and more in Boiling Springs. We will donate most of the masks we have for that event.

Recent giveaways:

Sep. 5th Mexican store: about 50 adult and youth/children
Sep. 1st and 10th Hope Center for Children: about 40 adult and 30 youth/children
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children

Why do we keep sewing?

For them—all the people we will never meet, who wear our masks and protect others from illness
For you—all our family and friends who are safer
And for ourselves—sewing can be a meditation and a way for each of us to know that we are contributing, saving lives, from the comfort of our homes.
Would you like to join us? Email socialjustice@uucs.org for more info.

SOCIAL JUSTICE UPDATE

(August 25, 2020)

We’ve scheduled a general social justice meeting for Wed., Sept. 2nd, 7 pm, via zoom. We’ll go with q other month again, 1st Wed., 7 pm, so you can put that on your calendar. I’ll ask Anne to send a zoom link Wed. via email. IF you are reading this in the Happenings and want to join the meeting, email me at socialjustice@uucs.org so I can add you to the social justice email list.

Agenda: Update on Consciousness team, Voter team, Good Neighbor team, with everyone’s contributions throughout. Schedule team meetings.
You can get a head start on the updates on the voting outreach with LWV, the good neighbor/ mask project and the places they have merged, below. You can see how immigration is covered in both these projects. And we’re saving ecology for when the weather cools down a bit! Please contribute your ideas and actions– See you Wed.

Voter Registration Action

Nonpartisan Door Hanger

The voter registration nonpartisan door hangers created by Barbara Dorsey, Joan McPherson, and their friend, Andy Aulde have opened a lot of doors! See attachment “Door Hanger,” (English side). We shared these at the dedication of the Grimke Mural with LWV members and church members, and they spread from there. The first thousand were gone before I could turn around twice, the second and third thousand, to be delivered Friday, are mostly committed already. with perhaps some left over. Our emphasis here is reaching underserved neighborhoods and people often overlooked. Take a look at where they’ve gone and bring your suggestions to our meeting.

Developing List: Jeraldine Mack, 20 for black barber and beauty shops, Ruth Littlejohn 20, Susan Turregano, 110 ( put in food bags at Total Ministry), Lou Sartor 20 (Soup Kitchen, she will print more on paper as needed AND let folks use computer there to register), PASOS 100, 20 for Inman Mexican store, about 75 paper for Cierra Fowler for Little Africa township. Cierra, also, as Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authoritiy, 600 to put on all public housing apartments, Vera Jeter Jones, 40 for Black churches, Pam Stoll has given 100 to Kenneth Myers for S Converse Neighborhood, Ann Waddell, 20 (Upstate Grad Advisor/Upstate AKA Sorority, and she will print more as needed). Ana Walker (works for ex-felon program). Next up, ethnic restaurants! We’ll save some for Sept 19th, a Latinx event in Boiling Springs. We’re also encouraging others to print or copy as desired.

Face Mask / Being a Good Neighbor project

On AUGUST 16TH our 16 member sewing circle passed the 3,000 mark in our mask making. We’ve given away many,

Tula in Mom’s mask

many masks in ones and twos, or threes and fours for a family, or ten or twelve for a small group, but here are some of the–

Recent give-aways:

Aug 10 & 12th About 30 for church members and 50 for protesters in Greenville
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children
Aug. 18th Little Africa (township in northern Sptg county): 50
Aug. 18th Elementary school teachers 20
Aug 21st Three mask-making kits for Cierra Fowler, Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authority, who plans to start a sewing group.

Click links for printables:

On your own, or in your sewing circle, contact Alice to let us know how many masks you have made!

Mask News –  Updates, click here!

Upcoming:

We’re sending masks with those door hangers to those ethnic restaurants for their staff. We’ll circle back and see if the Hope Center needs more masks, too.

UPDATE: SOCIAL JUSTICE TRIPLE DIP

(August 13, 2020)

The Social Justice Triple Dip evolved into a Quintuple Dip! We collected over 1000 pounds of food donations for Total Ministries, from over 40 donors, in our Sunday and Tuesday events. Everyone at TOTAL Ministries is thrlled and so grateful for our donations for those in need in Spartanburg. Our mask makers provided 380 masks so our members had all kinds of choices. Members “bought” 30 masks (helping fund more mask materials) and also collected some for groups in need. We sent 50 for protestors in Greenville in coming weekends. We’ll send more to immigrant centers and check to see if Hope Center needs some more, too. We also sold most of our remaining Fair Trade inventory and UUCS Tshirts. And, finally, we welcomed the LWV which sold their beautiful notecards featuring our new mural. So, now you know what a quintuple dip is!

Pam-Selling-Tshirts
Pam-Selling-Tshirts

FOOD-DRIVE  HappyBirthdayTeresa

HappyBirthdayTeresaFOOD-DRIVE

SOCIAL JUSTICE TRIPLE DIP

Being A Good Neighbor:

Collect for TOTAL Ministries

Give out masks

Sell remaining coffee, tea, chocolate

(August 2020)

Have you missed contributing to the TOTAL food barrel? We have, too, so we are doing a “drive by” collection Aug 9th, 5:00-7:00 pm, and Tues., Aug. 11th, 10:00-Noon for UUCS members and friends only. Just put your donations in the trunk of your car and drive around Henry Place. We will have a couple SUV’s backed up in the church driveway— pop your trunk and a volunteer will move your donation from your trunk to SUV while another volunteer will offer you our cloth masks and ask if you want to buy coffee, tea or chocolate (cash or check only). Susan Turregano has been volunteering at TOTAL and shares this information: “The need for families to receive food assistance is very great in Spartanburg at the moment. With schools and many churches closed, the food drives that usually help stock the shelves at Total Ministries have significantly slowed. Total Ministries has been serving over 100 families each week with food assistance alone.”

Greatest need right now is (not cereal, canned veggies or tuna):

Pasta and Pasta Sauce
Dried Beans or rice
Soups
Canned Beef Stew or Chicken and Dumplings
Canned Chicken
Mac and Cheese dinners for family of 4
Small jars of peanut butter and also jelly
Cornbread mix or boxed stuffing
Instant mashed potatoes
Canned Fruit

MORE MASKS FOR ALL CHURCH MEMBERS AND FRIENDS: Time moves so strangely in this strange time, but since we gave out masks to all church members we could in APRIL, it seems like we should do it again in AUGUST. So, if you are able to drive by and contribute to our food collection for TOTAL Ministries, we will use that opportunity to give you and your family new masks for as long as our supplies last! We do expect to have enough masks for everyone.

And, the last part of this “triple dip,” we are selling the fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate that we have on hand, cash or check only. Check the Happenings for a list of what’s available.

To volunteer to help curbside for our all-church drive-by, please email socialjustice@uucs.org and I will pass your email along to Susan Turregano and Pam Stoll, who are planning this. To donate, just buy food and put the date on your calendar—hope to see you then!

ZOOM SOCIAL JUSTICE MEETING Tuesday Aug.4th, 7 PM, open to all and focusing on being a good neighbor and more—check next week’s Happenings for a zoom link and agenda.

Our Sewing Circle (16 strong) has now made over 2500 masks! During July, we’ve given over 400 to Hispanic outreach efforts, adding to the 100+ given in June. We still welcome new members to our circle! We’ll be making over 100 to give to church members and friends at our Drive By collection for TOTAL Ministries. Why do we sew? Two reasons.

  1. Masks are the most effective tool we have against covid19 –“your life is worth my time.”
  2. Sewing, doing something positive, becomes almost a meditation. It soothes the soul.

Email socialjustice@uucs.org if you would like to join.

Alice Sutton, chair, Social Justice

 

February – March  2020 Social Justice Activities: Focus on Racism & Voting

All * events in UUCS Fellowship Hall. All are welcome!

In June, we’ll be voting for our focus issues for the coming year. Right now, we’re learning about them through our church services, programs, discussions, and actions. Participate in these as you can, and share your experiences with others in our congregation. Community activities by the League of Women Voters, the South Converse Neighborhood Assoc., and others give us many ways to learn, grow, and contribute!
Our six possible issues are listed at the end of this month’s activities.

Thursday, Feb. 6th, 6:00 Determined to Soar Art Exhibit. A talk by painter Nancy Corbin will open this exhibit of paintings celebrating the resilient and collaborative nature of women. Converse College, Milliken Art Gallery. Reception follows, and exhibit will be on display from February 6-27, 2020. The exhibition is located in the Milliken Art Gallery and is free of charge. Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 am-5:00pm, and Sundays 1:00-5:00.

The Drag Queen Story Hour Sun., Feb. 9th, 2:00-4:00, Fellowship Hall. We will have one or two police officers on site, plus a couple UU members to help direct traffic. Please wear your UU T-shirt (if you have one) and park by Hatcher House. Register to attend at https://www.facebook.com/events/204010243974171/

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 7:00 pmVoices in American Art: Lecture presented by the Johnson Collection, at Wofford College: Dr. Evie Terrono, Professor of Art History, challenges her students to see the vital intersection between ideas of American exceptionalism, and understandings of race, gender and politics in material culture and fine art. The presentation will be in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts on the Wofford Campus.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 12-2:00 pmLeague of Women Voters Birthday – 100 Years! Celebrate and Act! Join League members for coffee or tea and toast the LWV – and ourselves! Then we will act – writing postcards to our legislators telling them our state needs Fair Maps. Spill The Beans, 174 E. Main Street, Spartanburg (In the Aug Smith Building).

Saturday, Feb. 15th, 12:00. SCNA will meet in our fellowship hall to celebrate the unveiling of the two newest Lightbulb Art, in the South Converse Neighborhood. All are welcome!

Sunday, Feb. 16th. 12:15 Dialogue on social justice issues after our service led by Rev. Scott Neely

Mon., Feb. 17th. 2:00 at the main library, Barrett Room, or 6:00 pm at the CC Woodson Ctr. “The Other Boys of Summer”,a film that explores the history of Negro League Baseball. Spartanburg was host to the Spartanburg Sluggers from 1928 to 1952, a team in the Negro Textile League, and a number of well-known black players appeared at the Duncan Park Field. More at https://www.theotherboysofsummer.com/

ALSO Monday, February 17, 2020, 7:00 pmThe Life of Viola Desmond, Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond . Join us as John Abercrombie presents a lecture on the life of Viola Desmond, who is the face on the Canadian $10 bill. Hoechst-Celanese Room (downstairs) of the Spartanburg County Public Library.

Thurs. Feb. 20, 7:00. League of Women Voters’ celebration of 100th Birthday, Main Library.

Wed. Feb. 26th, 2:00 and Mar. 11th, 7:00 at Humanist Meeting. Film “Suppressed: The Right to Vote.” More about this important film at https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed

Mon., Mar. 2, 6:00 for potluck, 6:30 for meeting. Speaking Down Barriers, at Arthur Center, 400 E. Kennedy. Visitors always welcome! More info at http://www.speakdownbarriers.org/

Books, books: New at the library: “Amazons, abolitionists, and activists : a graphic history of women’s fight for their rights” by Kendall, Mikki. And info on more books at
https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/understanding-and-dismantling-racism-booklist-white-readers

The Social Justice Council has chosen our focus topic options for June 2020, a total of 3 local and 3 global issues for the congregation to learn about and consider between now and the vote at our annual congregational meeting in June 2020. The issues chosen will be our focus for the year July 2020-June 2021. There were many vitally important issues submitted by the congregation at our church service Nov. 3rd, at Social Justice (SJ) meetings, and also by email or notes on the SJ bulletin board. Our SJ meetings elicited intense discussions encompassing the passions of SJ members, the concern shown by congregational “share the plates,” as well as the recent collection of food and sundries for PASOS (Hispanic, poverty) and other actions such as the coat collection for the Atheists Helping the Homeless, the youth collections for animal welfare, etc. We also looked at which issues offered the best opportunities for action for our entire church community, i.e., what organizations we currently have connections with, for potential partnerships, and resources available from UUA. Our notes below begin to expand on the issues; we will continue to discuss ideas for actions and education for all of them.

LOCAL ISSUES:

  1. Racism. Address need to understand history from perspective of Native Americans, African Americans, and other ethnic groups. Activities: work with Speaking Down Barriers, join MLK Parade, work to put up lynching memorial/ remove any Confederate statue in Sptg, similar. Write letters to support legal actions. This ties into various poverty, education, and UUCS internal concerns. UUA and racial justice: https://www.uua.org/racial-justice
  2. Immigration and Hispanic Alliance. Treatment of refugees as well as children in custody. Many issues re changes of immigrants and longterm immigrants. We have many church members who are passionate about this, and overall support has been shown by contributions to PASOS food and sundry drive, share the plate for lawyers for immigrants and services for children in custody. We have an ongoing relationship with the Hispanic Alliance in Spartanburg. Actions could include more of above, English lessons for adults or homework help for children. Also relates to poverty, and more.
  3.  Being a Good Neighbor in our church community and in Spartanburg. More details on this one later.

 

GLOBAL ISSUES:

  1. Also Immigration and Hispanic Alliance. Treatment of refugees as well as children in custody. Many issues re changes of immigrants and longterm immigrants. We have many church members who are passionate about this, and overall support has been shown by contributions to PASOS food and sundry drive, share the plate for lawyers for immigrants and services for children in custody. We have an ongoing relationship with the Hispanic Alliance in Spartanburg. Actions could include more of above, plus visit to detention center, plus political activity (letters, more). Also relates to poverty, climate change, and more.
    Unitarian Universalist Assoc. and immigration issues: https://www.uua.org/immigration
    And 2018 https://uucsj.org/immigrationstudyguide/
  2. Citizenship Action and Get out the Vote. Although local actions, e.g., to register citizens to vote,encourage youth to vote, and to inform ex-felons of their voting rights, are important, they may seem not meaningful enough in this conservative state. However, local experience in voter registration may be practice for participating in voter registration in neighboring states. Also, citizen action, particularly phone calls and letters, can be effective in influencing legislation that affects many causes, including S.C. legislative action on the environment (local initiatives banning plastic straws and bags threatened by upstate legislators), work licensure for Dreamers, solar energy, marijuana legislation (criminal law reform), gun violence, education, etc. A monthly or bimonthly letter-writing + campaign could be a part of this, first, as part of the Congregational Education on Issues, and then, after the election of 2020 is over. Our strong ties with League of Women Voters would give us partners for this work, as well as our ties to WREN and “green” groups, and, of course, our own experience with Spartanburg Earth Day. This UUA webpage offers a way of pulling together a lot of our concerns about voting and citizenship: https://www.uua.org/justice/vote
  3. Environmental Action. We have just completed a 4- year focus on the Spartanburg Earth Day Festival, and as we partner with USC Upstate and become their junior partner.. we have ongoing actions that relate to the commitment underlying the festival. Our global concern is reflected in ongoing local activities with the SC Aquarium on working against single use plastics, and with professors at USC Upstate on a project to help restaurants in Spartanburg become more environmentally friendly. Wider global action could include phone calls, petitions, letters, and demonstrations supporting/fighting legislation. This is another issue with lots of information for action from UUA, including at
    https://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/climate_broch_short_edge.pdf

Click here for Previous Social Justice News/Articles

We have revamped the event originally planned for May 2020, now formatted to allow us to engage with one another safely during the pandemic. Each session will be recorded live for sharing after the event is over. All recordings will be posted to an LGBTQ Theologies website, for continual access and sharing.

We hope you will join us for this virtual event!

“The Bible as an Ally”
Featuring theologians Cody Sanders, Kristan Pitts, Davelyn Hill, Maria Swearingen, Sally Sarratt, Jim Dant, Tom Norrell, Ashton Michael Lee, and Shelton Ridge Love

Every Tuesday evening, September 29 through October 27
7:00-8:30 pm via Zoom

Sessions will be recorded and posted on our new website. We hope that you will attend live for dialogue with our speakers each week.

Register here: https://linktr.ee/LGBTQTheologies

Please share this event with all in your networks who would be interested in joining us.

Questions? Please contact us: info@lgbtqtheologies.org.

With gratitude for the world we are building together,

Rev. Tim Drum, Spartanburg Methodist College
Anne Garner, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg
Rev. Matt Johnson, Fernwood Baptist Church
Shelton Ridge Love, First Baptist Church, Greenville
Rev. Tom Norrell, Central United Methodist Church
Rev. Sue Perrin, Sacred Traditions and Rituals
Dr. John Simmons, Central United Methodist Church
Rev. Scott Neely, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg

Face Mask / Being a Good Neighbor project

Click links for printables:

MASK NEWS – We’ve made over 3,500!

(September 16, 2020)

In June, we donated over 200 masks to the Navajo Nation, so we rejoice especially in this news of its great progress in controlling Covid 19, from an NPR interview, (and the credit given to mask-wearing): https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/09/15/913246691/to-limit-covid-19-navajo-leader-says-listen-to-your-public-health-professionals
Our 16 member sewing circle has passed the 3,500 mark in our mask making!

Upcoming giveaway: PASOS event Saturday, Sep. 19th, PASOS event, with voter registration, census help, flu shots, and more in Boiling Springs. We will donate most of the masks we have for that event.

Recent giveaways:

Sep. 5th Mexican store: about 50 adult and youth/children
Sep. 1st and 10th Hope Center for Children: about 40 adult and 30 youth/children
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children

Why do we keep sewing?

For them—all the people we will never meet, who wear our masks and protect others from illness
For you—all our family and friends who are safer
And for ourselves—sewing can be a meditation and a way for each of us to know that we are contributing, saving lives, from the comfort of our homes.
Would you like to join us? Email socialjustice@uucs.org for more info.

 

Face Mask / Being a Good Neighbor project

(August 25, 2020)

On AUGUST 16TH our 16 member sewing circle passed the 3,000 mark in our mask making.

Tula in Mom’s mask

We’ve given away many, many masks in ones and twos, or threes and fours for a family, or ten or twelve for a small group, but here are some of the–

Recent give-aways:

Aug 10 & 12th About 30 for church members and 50 for protesters in Greenville
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children
Aug. 18th Little Africa (township in northern Sptg county): 50
Aug. 18th Elementary school teachers 20
Aug 21st Three mask-making kits for Cierra Fowler, Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authority, who plans to start a sewing group.

Upcoming: We’re sending masks with those door hangers to those ethnic restaurants for their staff. We’ll circle back and see if the Hope Center needs more masks, too.

Many More Masks for Immigrants!

(July 8, 2020)

During June and July, our UUCS sewing circle gave 200 masks to Navajo Nation and about 150 to the Mexican store in northern Spartanburg county, but our sewers weren’t nearly through! This week, we donated 150 cloth masks to PASOS for their efforts to help immigrants throughout Spartanburg County. Barbara Dorsey and I helped PASOS staff pack over a hundred bags with PPE, including the cloth masks, disposable face masks from BMW, along with instructions in Spanish on their use. Barbara and I left at noon, as staff were finishing up the packing. They moved on to distribution, and actually got many bags out that afternoon! One ESL (English as a second language) student phoned to thank the PASOS staff and church especially for the cloth masks. She works cleaning the hospital, and says the cloth masks will save her money!!

Kente Cloth Masks
Kente Cloth Masks

One of our sewers told me how her neighbors, who shrugged off the pandemic, had turned down her offer of masks. Sadly, they are now believers in the pandemic, and she has given them masks—their brother, a physician, just died of covid. Certainly, he would have been using masks, but that is not always enough. Although masks are not foolproof, read here for the latest on how important masks are in protecting us—how important our sewing efforts are!! Link: https://www.fau.edu/newsdesk/articles/efficacy-facemasks-coronavirus.php Email socialjustice@uucs.org to join our sewers and crocheters or one of our social justice teams. Saving lives feels good—and saving lives from the comfort of your home is a win-win! Now we’re sewing masks to give away at the covid testing event July 13th and 14th at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Spartanburg.

From Alice Sutton, chair, Social Justice Council

 

Mid June FACE MASK NEWS

(June 18, 2020)

We’re busy sewing, meeting our goals and setting new ones! This month, we’ve donated over 200 masks to Navajo Nation (207)! We also supplied UUCS AA groups with about 30 so each participant can buy a mask if they need one—they’ve got all they need for the time being. Safe Homes has sold about 35 of the masks we donated in one week (about 30 left), and would like some more. Altogether, we’ve given 147 to the Hispanic store that serves many immigrants—the owner is gratefully accepting our masks – and would like more. We’ll be getting more to PASOS families next week, too
Are you wondering what our new total is? Would you believe 1563? I love being part of such a fantastic group of sewers!

How do we keep sewing? Marion Dannert says, “I found that early in March, mask making became a kind of life line for me, a reason to get going each day, a psychological anchor in this uncertain time. Physically cut off from my usual community, church, and neighborhood gatherings and living alone as a widow, making masks became my way of adapting to my new isolation. Creating something of need for others gave me a comfortable sense of purpose, something important to look forward to each day. The possibility that my small efforts might even save a life further encouraged my work. Mask making in this time and place, has been a solitary activity. This solitude allowed and provoked thoughts of the lives of those who need these masks, especially those experiencing great need. As the stitching hummed on, my thoughts moved to imagining other ways of meeting critical needs and of creative opportunities for service.”

Summertime and the mask safety is easy! If it’s a hot sunny day, park your car in the sun with windows closed and leave your mask inside on the dashboard or even the seat. Come back in a few hours and your mask will be safe to wear! That high heat kills the virus!
For right now, we have all the fabric we need (thank you!). If you’d like to join our sewing circle or have questions, or need a mask, write me at socialjustice@uucs.org ~Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council

 

FACE MASK NEWS

(June 4, 2020)

Summertime and mask safety is easy! If it’s a hot sunny day, park your car in the sun with windows closed and leave your mask inside on the dashboard or even the seat. Come back in a few hours and your mask will be safe to wear! That high heat kills the virus!

On May 19th, we set some big goals to meet for June 1st: We had just donated 40 to the Inman-area Hispanic community and had 50 masks ready to send to the Navajo Nation. We planned to “double-up” for both those communities and make 50 for Safe Homes, all by June 1st –we did even more! We sent 46 more to Navajo Nation, 60 to Safe Homes for their thrift store customers, and 70 to the Inman area Hispanic community! Thank you to everyone who has donated their sheets and unused fabric, and who has purchased fabrics for us—we couldn’t do it without you.

Navaho mask by Alice
Navaho mask by Alice
Navaho mask by Joyce
Navaho mask by Joyce

We’ve now made over 1,300 masks. So, of course, we’ve set new goals: one more box of 50 or more for Navaho Nation, one more box of 50 or more each for Safe Homes and Inman Hispanic Center, and a box of 50 for a new cause (TBA). Our sewing circle has two new members this week, Renu Pariyadath, who says this is her first sewing project in 20 years, and Marion Dannert, who began sewing masks long before she found our group. Why do we keep sewing? I find it is a mindful activity, almost a meditation. Palma Eisner writes, “I found that making masks for specific groups and for my family was a way of feeling that I was helping during this difficult time. Even though it was frustrating at times when I had machine issues, I felt like I was making a difference. It uplifted my spirits. “ Kathy Dowling writes, “Even in isolation this activity helps me feel more a part of a group. And it is a mindful thing to do. Whenever my mind wanders, I make a mistake, so am practicing mindfulness! “

If you’d like to join our sewing circle or donate fabric or have questions, email me at socialjustice@uucs.org ~Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council

 

WE SEW BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS WORTH OUR TIME

(May 21, 2020)

May 19th Mask Production! Our team topped the 1000 mark last Saturday and is somewhere over 1075 now! We continue to give masks to our congregation and the numerous people we encounter in the community. In addition, we’re focusing on three groups for the remainder of May: the Hispanic community around Inman (40 masks donated there this week); the Navajo Nation, which is suffering greatly from the pandemic*; and Safe Homes Thrift Store, which will reopen June 1 and require all customers to wear a mask That means they may need to purchase a mask, and Safe Homes wants to charge $3 each and split that with us, so we can buy more fabric! We’re donating 50 masks to the Navajo Nation by the end of this week. Our new goal is to “double-up” for the Inman Hispanic community (40 more) and the Navajo Nation (50 more) and make 50 for Safe Homes, all by June 1st (140 by June 1) and I know we can do it!

BUT Our dedicated sewers need your help! Like the shirt off your back, maybe! Seriously, right now we do have enough T-shirts for filters but need flat 100% cotton, such as a bedsheet that is not worn thin or fabric some people have tucked away from a never-completed project. Please look in your linen cupboard and see if you have fabric to share! Email socialjustice@uucs.org

Lisa and Zoe with their masks

Lisa and Zoe with their masks  For New Day Masks for New Day by Joyce   

We sew two styles and three sizes. While workers who need to wear a mask for over 8 hours nonstop often prefer masks with soft fabric ties, most people wearing them for shorter periods prefer those with elastic straps to go around the ears. We are so lucky that, generously donated two full boxes of elastic to our sewing circle! Right now, you can’t get elastic for love or money, but we have plenty! Although sewing masks is not the most exciting or demanding sewing we’ve ever done, it is the only sewing we’ve done that saves lives, and that is really motivating! More at https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/05/18/navajo-nation-covid-19-infection-rate-sidner-pkg-vpx.cnn.

MASK MAKER, MASK MAKER

(May 14, 2020)

WE MAKE MASKS BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS WORTH OUR TIME! We’ve made over 725 masks for family, friends, church members, random people we meet, and particular groups, South Converse Neighborhood Assoc., Piedmont Care, New Day Clubhouse, Eden Terrace staff and residents, Pasos and the wider Mexican and Pakistani immigrant community, Hope Center for Children, and two more youth residences. We’ve mailed masks as far as New Mexico, Montana, and especially, many to New York City! We’ve crocheted headbands, enabling nurses to customize their masks so they don’t rub the skin behind their ears raw.

Kudos to our sixteen mask makers: Kathy Dowling, Palma Eisner, Neval Erturk and her mother, Nigar Erturk, Melissa Fritsche, daughter Marlies, and mom Joan Fritsche, Joyce Harrison, Ash Macnamara, Nicole Mathieu, Virginia McClean, Naomi Richardson, Ruth Stanton, Pam and Fred Stoll, and Alice Sutton; and to the headband team: Nancy Clark, Marilyn Coltrane, Abby Fowler, and Nancy Warner, and last, but not least, our delivery person, Lily Lancaster.

Marlies
Mariles and her waresNigar Niger ErturkPam Pam at work

Several of us met via zoom to evaluate our achievement and talk about where we want to go from here. The consensus was that we want to continue making masks, and serving the groups we have already helped, which all need additional masks. We’re also open to helping other organizations in Spartanburg County, as well as those people or organizations some of us have a connection with, such as New York City. Some recipients have wanted to pay for their masks, and we are using that money to buy more fabric. We hope some more sewers will join us, and we have fabric and elastic to share. Our next goal is the 1000 mask mark! You can email Alice Sutton at socialjustice@uucs.org or Joyce Harrison at jandc@uucs.org for more information!

In partnership with Alianza Spartanburg (previously the Hispanic Alliance Spartanburg) and the PASOs site in Spartanburg, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg has established a fund to provide direct assistance to individuals and families who will not receive federal assistance through the CARES Act because of their immigration status—even though they pay taxes. Even if only one family member is out of status, no one in the family will receive funds—even children who are US citizens. You may give to this fund here:

  • IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: The recipient of a mask must boil it for 5 minutes, then dry it, before putting it against their face. Masks should be washed after each use. Take care in removing the mask after using it, being sure to wash hands carefully after removing the mask and putting it in the wash.

Thursday, Feb. 6th, 6:00 Determined to Soar Art Exhibit. A talk by painter Nancy Corbin will open this exhibit of paintings celebrating the resilient and collaborative nature of women. Converse College, Milliken Art Gallery. Reception follows, and exhibit will be on display from February 6-27, 2020. The exhibition is located in the Milliken Art Gallery and is free of charge. Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 am-5:00pm, and Sundays 1:00-5:00.

The Drag Queen Story Hour Sun., Feb. 9th, 2:00-4:00, Fellowship Hall. We will have one or two police officers on site, plus a couple UU members to help direct traffic. Please wear your UU T-shirt (if you have one) and park by Hatcher House. Register to attend at https://www.facebook.com/events/204010243974171/

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 7:00 pmVoices in American Art: Lecture presented by the Johnson Collection, at Wofford College: Dr. Evie Terrono, Professor of Art History, challenges her students to see the vital intersection between ideas of American exceptionalism, and understandings of race, gender and politics in material culture and fine art. The presentation will be in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts on the Wofford Campus.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 12-2:00 pmLeague of Women Voters Birthday – 100 Years! Celebrate and Act! Join League members for coffee or tea and toast the LWV – and ourselves! Then we will act – writing postcards to our legislators telling them our state needs Fair Maps. Spill The Beans, 174 E. Main Street, Spartanburg (In the Aug Smith Building).

Saturday, Feb. 15th, 12:00. SCNA will meet in our fellowship hall to celebrate the unveiling of the two newest Lightbulb Art, in the South Converse Neighborhood. All are welcome!

Sunday, Feb. 16th. 12:15 Dialogue on social justice issues after our service led by Rev. Scott Neely

Mon., Feb. 17th. 2:00 at the main library, Barrett Room, or 6:00 pm at the CC Woodson Ctr. “The Other Boys of Summer”,a film that explores the history of Negro League Baseball. Spartanburg was host to the Spartanburg Sluggers from 1928 to 1952, a team in the Negro Textile League, and a number of well-known black players appeared at the Duncan Park Field. More at https://www.theotherboysofsummer.com/

ALSO Monday, February 17, 2020, 7:00 pmThe Life of Viola Desmond, Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond . Join us as John Abercrombie presents a lecture on the life of Viola Desmond, who is the face on the Canadian $10 bill. Hoechst-Celanese Room (downstairs) of the Spartanburg County Public Library.

Thurs. Feb. 20, 7:00. League of Women Voters’ celebration of 100th Birthday, Main Library.

Wed. Feb. 26th, 2:00 and Mar. 11th, 7:00 at Humanist Meeting. Film “Suppressed: The Right to Vote.” More about this important film at https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed

Mon., Mar. 2, 6:00 for potluck, 6:30 for meeting. Speaking Down Barriers, at Arthur Center, 400 E. Kennedy. Visitors always welcome! More info at http://www.speakdownbarriers.org/

Books, books: New at the library: “Amazons, abolitionists, and activists : a graphic history of women’s fight for their rights” by Kendall, Mikki. And info on more books at
https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/understanding-and-dismantling-racism-booklist-white-readers

We want to get to know you better, and we hope you feel the same! Learn, have fun, help, while you share your interests, talents & abilities:

Join us most Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm for a variety of activities, mostly in RE Wing, Room 4. Drop-ins welcome!

1st Wednesday, Reading and book club
2nd Wednesday, Crafts & Conversation
3rd Wednesday, Cognitive Dissonance Group (discussion of relevant books or topics)
4th Wednesday, Movie or film on a variety of social justice topics

(check the church calendar, as occasionally there are changes due to holidays, etc.)

  • Do you like being part of a small group for learning and discussion? Contact – covenantgroups@uucs.org
  • Do you like learning and participating in a larger group on topics that range from scientific to current political or environmental issues? Drop-in on the Humanists meetings, second Wednesday of every month, 6:30 for casual conversation, 7:00 for the program.
  • Do you like to entertain/host meals or events at church or in your home? Cook or help in the kitchen? If you’d like to help with cooking, a coffee hour or special events, contact Hospitality – hospitality@uucs.org
  • Do you have handyman/ painting/ maintenance skills that you would be willing to use in church buildings? Contact Buildings and Grounds – buildings@uucs.org
  • Might like to be involved teaching children and youth: Religious Education – recomm@uucs.org
  • Dramatic or musical talents: drop into our monthly Expresso Yourself Coffeehouse or contact our music director at music@uucs.org about joining the choir.
  • Artistic or interior decorating talents, such as decorating for events Aesthetics – aesthetics@uucs.org
  • Computer, sound system, office or other technical skills contact the Communication Team – publicity@uucs.org
  • Passion for Social Justice, environmental/ green actions, contact socialjustice@uucs.org
  • Would like to be on congregational health team – contact chp@uucs.org
  • Gardening or knowledgeable about plants? Would you enjoy taking a turn at summer watering? Contact socialjustice@uucs.org
  • Need a little help finding what’s right for you? Email Membership – membership@uucs.org – and Deb Williams, Karen Mitchell, or Abby Fowler can help you.

Remember to look at the UUCS calendar and upcoming events and join us in sharing our interests. talents, treasure, and time.

Leadership Directory lists committee chairpersons. You are welcome to email and inquire about how you can be involved. More on committees/teams and their responsibilities: UUCS Committees and Responsibilities.

November 2019 SJ – Short Notes…

By request from UpLift, we’re continuing our used magazine collection-please drop yours into the box under the social justice bulletin board. https://upliftoutreachcenter.org/  They will be used for an aspirational art project.

We concluded our winter clothes drive with USC-Upstate students.  The A.Bevy students took our donations, as well as their college collection, to  Athiests Helping the Homeless (AHH) on Sunday the 17th, and stayed to work with them that morning.  The A.Bevy group will return in January for our MLK day activity. This is packing toiletry kits for the homeless for UW and AHH, and our January share the plate  will fund much of this.

Building and Grounds subcommittee, “plants” has planted 7 small trees and 3 shrubs-can you spot them?  These are all natives and should enrich our grounds for many years, for wildlife as well as people!

Our December Share the Plate will be for the UU Service Committee’s Guest At Your Table, to go with the youth activity.  You can learn more about this at https://www.uusc.org/resources/congregations/guest-at-your-table/

October 2019 SJ – Short Notes…

Share the Plate for October is for landmine clearing. Our services this month focus on death and baseball. Landmines are little instruments of death and destruction, hidden, silent, just waiting– a symbol of death. there are an estimated 110 million anti-personnel mines in the ground, Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined areas in the world, from US action during our war in Vietnam through their long civil war, with estimates of from 4 to 10 million mines. Our STP for October is the Landmine Relief Fund to support the mine-clearing work of Cambodian Self-Help Demining (CSHD), a Cambodian NGO founded by ex-child soldier and CNN hero Aki Ra (Alice visited this program and was deeply moved). More info at www.landmine-relief-fund.com/
Food Barrel – For September and October, we’re filling the food barrel for PASOS, a school-based program in Spartanburg Co. Items most needed are:

  • Canned: corn, peas, mixture of vegetables, fruit, beans, tuna, milk, and tomato sauce
    Dry beans, rice, pasta, cereal, pancake mix, peanut butter, jelly, sugar, cooking oil, baby food
  • Diapers size 4-5 are the most demanded but any size is welcome, baby wipes
  • Toiletries, soap, shampoo, toothpaste

For more information on all that Pasos does, see www.scpasos.org

Pride Festival – Oct 25-Nov 2: Our first Fall Community activity! Sign up to volunteer with Stacey Jackson and Mary Underwood at pride@uucs.org. Plan to wear your UUCS T-shirts!!!

T-SHIRT SALES: Larger sizes have been ordered for those who signed up and should be delivered in time for Pride Festival! We’ll distribute them after church Oct. 27th (remember to bring cash or check).

For the month of October, the Social Justice Council solicits your proposals for both local and global focus issues!

For almost ten years, we have used the “Gardiner/Rollins Model for Social Justice” (with modifications) for UUCS. This UU model was developed because of the serious problems in our city, our nation, and our world can seem overwhelming. We may ask how we can have any impact in the face of the enormity of need and suffering. And how can we summon the energy and the ideas to help make our world better? This model gives us a structure to focus our energy, our enthusiasm, and our work so that we do make a difference.

We commit to one or two issues by vote at the annual congregational meeting and then focus on those issues for one or two (or four) years. Then, we bring that focus to a close and begin the process again by choosing new issues to study through the winter and to vote on at the spring meeting.

The Earth Day Festival has been our 4-year focus, exciting, challenging, and a major investment of church time and energy. We won’t be hosting a community festival next year, but we will stay engaged with the earth day issues in a smaller way (with USC-Upstate) while we re-focus on different issues.

We, the Social Justice Council, solicit your proposals for possible local focus issues and global issues for the next one to two years (beginning June 2020). We can work together to make a change in our community with local issues, e.g., volunteer at a youth group, speak up at city council meetings, participate in a Habitat for Humanity build, hold a food drive, join League of Women Voters’ voter registration activities, host an MLK day activity, offer tutoring at a group home for ex-cons., etc. With global issues, it can be harder, but not impossible, to have an impact. But you can network and plan local activities that do have a wider impact. Where would you like to put your time, your talent, your work, to use? What issues matter most to you?

Cambodian children receive free books from Roadscholar guide

Immigration justice? Child detention?

Homelessness? Hunger?

Deaths by gun violence, including suicide. Safety for children, for women, for everyone.

Citizenship and voting rights

Our criminal justice system? Have you heard of the campaign to “End Money Bail? On any given night, more than 450,000 people in the United States who have not been convicted of any crime are locked up in jail simply because they don’t have enough money to pay bail. From who is arrested, to who is incarcerated and for how long, to how ex-cons are treated, our system of justice is a series of injustices. For a little info, go to www.uua.org/loveresists/end-money-bail-0

For many more ideas on the UUA and UU Service Committee issues and campaigns, go to https://www.uua.org/justice. Tell me what matters most to you and why– email me at socialjustice@uucs.org All this month, we are soliciting ideas from the congregation.

At our next SJ meeting, we’ll discuss all the ideas. Our meeting Wednesday, Nov 6, 7:00, in the fellowship hall at UUCS, is open to all, but if you want to share an idea, please email and ask for a spot on the agenda! We’ll have a couple additional meetings to choose which ideas to present to the congregation. From January through April, our minister and our SJ Council will present Sunday services, educational sessions and articles as well as mini-activities to prepare for the congregational vote at our annual meeting in May. Then in June, we begin the work of implementing our plans. This is an exciting and energizing way to make our community and our world a better place!

Work Is Love Made Visible ~Khalil Gibran

Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council