There is much we can do to help one another and our neighbors through the pandemic.

Social Justice

We care for our community:

Our Social Justice team has reached out to our community partners, especially groups like TOTAL Ministries and PASOs, to ask what support would be most helpful at this time and going forward. We have also communicated with our City Manager and District Councilwoman to offer our help at any time. There will be many ways that we can help.

Please hold in mind and heart those who serve at the forefront of the pandemic–our medical and social workers, our sanitation and food distribution workers, civic leaders, and each person answering the call to serve.

  • Give blood: Usual blood donations have plummeted, and blood is needed for medical care. Special procedures have been put in place by The Blood Connection to ensure physical distancing and to sanitize the donation space after every donor’s visit. Sign up to give here: https://thebloodconnection.org/contact/south-carolina-centers/spartanburg-center-2/
  • Advocacy: All prior weeks’ advocacy calls have been mostly directly related to the pandemic and the public health concerns it has forced us to voice. However, we are now seeing an epidemic within the pandemic – systemic racism. For those paying attention, it’s a massively intertwined issue that the pandemic has only exacerbated. We see it manifested in how Black America has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The reasons are many. And the time to fight both the epidemic and pandemic is now.The question most of us are left with is how.In the words of Dr. Bernice A. King (MLK’s daughter and CEO of the The King Center), the answer is vast:“The work is offline.
    The work is online.
    The work includes presence.
    The work includes absence.
    The work is virtual.
    The work is in the streets.
    The work is in the legislative halls.
    The work is in art.
    The work is in policies.
    The work is at the polls.
    The work is where we are.”

    Let’s do this work together. Here are some ways to join in this month:

    • Participate in an Online Protest for Social Justice. This is a 7-day nonviolent livestream initiative happening daily at 7pm from June 2 – June 8 hosted and organized by The King Center in Atlanta. To attend, use this link: thekingcenter.org/onlineprotest/
    • Educate yourself and others within your social circle. You can find plenty of resources on this page intended for white allies and compiled just last month. Read also this article: “If you’re a white person wondering what to do during the George Floyd protests, I have some advice.” by Michael Crawford (MoveOn’s Cultural Director). These resources are designed to help you move from ‘not racist’ to becoming an antiracist. It may—and should—lead to some challenging conversations.
    • Join the work of vital Black-led and civil rights institutions, like Color of Change (whose petition for justice for George Floyd is linked here); the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which is on the ground in Minneapolis; and Fair Fight, the group led by Stacey Abrams to battle voter suppression and expand voting access. If you haven’t yet signed Color of Change’s petition, add your name, and then share it with friends and family.
    • Act locally and demand Spartanburg officials hold police departments in your city accountable. This is one place where local government can have powerful influence to make change. Demand restraint in the face of protests, oversight of police actions, advocate for de-escalation training and the de-militarization of our police forces. If you’re not sure what to ask for, see page 4 of this document for a list of demands being presented to Congress written by the Leadership Conference On Civil & Human Rights. They outline very specific changes needed in policing.
      Spartanburg Mayor Junie White – (864) 596-2019; juniewhite1937@gmail.com
      Spartanburg City Council – find your representative’s contact information here.
      Spartanburg Police Chief Alonzo Thompson – (864) 596-2376; athompson@cityofspartanburg.org
      Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright – (864) 503-4500; cwright@spartanburgcounty.org
    • Contact Governor McMaster – call (803) 734-2100, mail to: the State House, 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201 or click here to complete contact form online – to continue to advocate for increased contact tracing and protective equipment for all returning to work. As we’ve increased per capita testing, South Carolina is now back in a upward trend of increased cases – reporting over 1000 new cases in three days (May 29-31). Ask what the plan is for adjusting the state’s recommendations for any restrictions based on the tracing information.
    • Continue to demand COVID-19 funding legislation be a priority in the US Senate. The Senate has still not responded to the most recent “HEROES Act” passed by the House on May 15th. This legislation includes critical COVID-19 funding including stimulus checks to all taxpayers – including those with Individual Tax IDs (and not just SSNs) as well as extended unemployment benefits and “hazard pay” for essential frontline workers. Instead of even bringing this bill to the floor for discussion, the Senate spent the evening of June 1st voting to confirm Trump’s 197th lifetime federal judge. Remind our senators of the current priority in this pandemic and demand they act and vote accordingly.
      Tim Scott – 864-233-5366, mail to: 104 South Main St Suite 803, Greenville, SC 29601 or click here to complete online contact form
      Lindsay Graham – 864-250-1417, mail to: 130 South Main Street, 7th Floor, Greenville, SC 29601, or click here to complete online contact form.

    Thank you for your committed, unflagging advocacy for justice and mercy for all.

  • Buy Stamps. There are cool new Earth Day Forever stamps you can pre-order online by clicking here. Or find another cause or statement stamp by searching available options here. Purchasing a book of stamps now can serve as a “buycott”. Then, send a letter to someone who is isolated right now and needs a pick me up! It’s a win-win!
  • Litter Pick-Up: If you are taking walks for exercise, consider picking up trash as you walk. You can:
    • Do so as a spiritual practice, caring for yourself and for the ecological community of which we are all a part. Make safety during the pandemic part of your mindfulness practice:
      • Be sure to use gloves.
      • Be mindful of traffic.
      • Wash hands carefully at the end of your sweep.
    • Make this an act of advocacy. Data drives policy change. Become a citizen scientist by joining SC Aquarium’s April Solo Sweep Challenge. A solo sweep is a litter sweep where social distancing is respected. The sweep is conducted alone or with the family group you are distancing with and right in your neighborhood to observe the stay at home rules. How can you participate?
      • Pick up litter as you walk and note it on the Solo Neighborhood Sweep Form.
      • Download the South Carolina Aquarium Citizen Science app and join the Litter-free Digital Journal project
      • When you collect and log any litter during the month of April, go into the Litter-free Digital Journal project and click Add Observation.
      • Look for Events, and choose the April Solo Sweep Challenge.
      • Add your litter to the log and select Save.
      • If you like, e-mail Joyce Harrison (jharrison1253@charter.net) your trash count, and she will keep a running tally of total litter collected by UUCS.
  • Making Masks: A UUCS sewing team is making and distributing masks to members of our congregation, neighbors in South Converse, community agencies, and anyone who needs them. If you would like to help, have materials you can share, or need a mask, contact Alice Sutton (socialjustice@uucs.org). Click here for some suggestions for making masks. Interested in starting a mask-making sewing circle? Click here for sewing circle guidance. 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!
  • Share your actions: Let us know what you are doing to help—making masks, donating supplies, helping neighbors, supporting organizations. We want to create a list of what our congregants are doing to help, as a way to share ideas with one another, to empower each other to act, and to create a narrative of all the ways we are lending a hand individually and as a congregation. Even the smallest acts can have a large impact. Send notes of your actions to Social Justice Chair Alice Sutton at suttonak52@gmail.com. We will share these on our website to encourage and motivate one another.

Giving

We are in a time of financial uncertainty and strain. We share our gifts to benefit one another and our world, not to put any one of us at risk. Please give when and how you can, and never when you should not. All of our gifts–gifts of care, of time, of skill, of resources–have a vital purpose.

  • As many of you have already done, if you have a gift you feel would be of benefit that you would like to share–skill with technology, transportation, food, and much more–please reach out to our minister, Scott Neely (minister@uucs.org) or any of our church leaders. This has already been very helpful.
  • Many of you have asked how to give financially to the church during this time:
    • Support Immigrants in Spartanburg. In partnership with Alianza Spartanburg (previously the Hispanic Alliance) and the PASOs site in Spartanburg, UUCS 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: https://uucs.org/share-the-plate-contribution/ through May and here after May 31: https://uucs.org/support-our-immigrants/. All gifts will go to direct assistance for these families.
  • Additional Support