JOURNEY TOWARD WHOLENESS (JTW) NEWS
GA Reports, Minimum Wage Raise & More
Dear JTW-News Readers:
General Assembly in Portland OR led to a lot of excellent organizing and networking among UUs. This issue of SAC-News will share GA highlights about our efforts for immigration reform and the new sanctuary movement, racial justice and truth and reconciliation, halting global warming and environmental racism and more.
Also in this issue:
I hope you are all having a great summer! In faith, Susan
General Assembly Reports
Immigration Reform, Immigrant Rights, and the New Sanctuary Movement
Fixing the broken immigration system that has 12 million undocumented people trapped, standing in solidarity with these immigrants, pledging with the New Sanctuary Movement, and speaking out were a large part of this year's GA.
A workshop with Interfaith Worker Justice (www.iwj.org) Exec. Dir. Kim Bobo and Chicago IWJ organizer Kristen Kumpf, along with UUA Board Member and Co-Minister of First Unitarian Houston Rev. Jose Ballester and First UU San Diego Social Justice Council Chair Jackie Statman was attended by over 300 people. You can view it at 3037 Welcoming the Stranger: A Just Immigration Policy Workshop (http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2007/presentations/31350.shtml) - RealVideo | Windows Media
Resources: For Once You Were a Stranger: Immigration through the Lens of Faith.
A 2007 Action of Immediate Witness to Support Immigrant Families—Stop the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Raids) was passed by a large majority.
Interfaith Rally on Immigrant Rights & Protest of ICE Raids
A rally in front of ICE Headquarters in Portland calling for an end to the raid featured President William Sinkford and was attended by many GA delegates. Listen to President Sinkford's remarks and see photos. And read 500 Protest 'La Migra' Raid in Portland.
Breaking the Silence: Truth, Reconciliation and Racial Justice
President William Sinkford and ministers from three UU congregations discussed ways that UUs can confront the history of racial injustice in which we are all entwined, speak the truth, and work for restoring right relations, reparations, and reconciliation.
President Sinkford also sounded this theme in his President's Report which can be viewed at 2004 Plenary II and Open Space Orientation - RealVideo | Windows Media - fast forward to 32:55 (or see http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2007/27648.shtml).
Breaking the Silence: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching
General Assembly 2007 Event 3019
Workshop Presenter Sherrilyn Ifill, civil rights attorney and a professor of law at the University of Maryland, and author of On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century (Beacon Press - http://www.beacon.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=1809) presented case studies of lynchings in the US and lessons from the South African Truth & Reconciliation process. See General Assembly 2007 Event 3019 (or http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2007/presentations/30802.shtml).
Witness for Earth Community
Over 600 UUs and community partners rallied outside the convention center for a witness to stop global warming and environmental racism and create earth community and environmental justice. UUs, Christian evangelicals, environmental justice activists, and elected officials, along with President William Sinkford and Rev. Marilyn Sewell, Senior Minister at First Unitarian Portland, addressed the crowd.View the Witness for Earth Community (or http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2007/presentations/32200.shtml).
A Just Recovery in the Gulf Coast
Leaders of congregation-based community organizations, including Rev. Steve Crump, minister of First Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, (the congregation was this year's winner of the congregational social justice Bennett Award), shared strategies for a national campaign for justice in the Gulf Coast, and lessons for how to cope with institutional poverty and racism in communities across the U.S. More info (or http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2007/presentations/31445.shtml).
At July 24 Capitol Hill Rally Let Justice Roll Leader
Calls For Making Minimum Wage A Living Wage
Note to JTW-News Readers: The UUA is an active member of the Let Justice Roll Coalition (www.letjusticeroll.org). Watch for more news as we build on this victory to work for a living wage, to raise the minimum wage in various states, to make this an issue in the 2008 elections, and to witness as people of faith against poverty in our nation. See link at end of this report for contact information for your state.
Let Justice Roll leader Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry joins Congressional and grassroots leaders in a: Capitol Hill Rally to celebrate the first minimum wage raise in ten years. Rev Sherry's statement appears below.
WHEN: 1:30 pm EST, July 24
WHERE: Upper Senate Park, 1st and Delaware Avenues, NW, Washington, DC
STATEMENT BY REV. PAUL SHERRY
This is a good day, isn't it? After ten long years, America's low wage workers and families are getting a break. It's about time -- and Let Justice Roll is very glad to be part of it. Let Justice Roll is a nonpartisan coalition of over 90 faith-based, community-based, labor and business organizations united around one single goal -- working together to establish a living wage for all of our country's working people.
We have worked alongside many others to raise the minimum wage in a growing number of states -- Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. We have worked in support of city and county-wide living wage ordinances. And we have worked in support of the federal legislation we celebrate today. All with one purpose: reaching a living wage for all of America's working people -- a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.
We believe that a job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.
With Martin Luther King, we believe, "There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American (worker) whether he (or she) is a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid, or day laborer."
And with the prophet Amos, we envision a renewed society wherein "justice rolls down like living waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream." That is the very definition of a good and decent society.
Yes, today is a good day. But, even as we celebrate, we know that we have a long way to go if justice is to be done for America's low wage working people.
Even at $7.25 an hour in 2009, the minimum wage, in inflation adjusted dollars, will be more than $2 below what it was in the year 1968 -- four decades ago. We do have a long way to go.
In the meantime, low wage working families will continue to struggle mightily with the ever increasing costs of health care, housing, education, and so much else.
When the Fair Labor Standards Act was established, way back in 1938, the Act was designed "to eliminate labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for the health, efficiency and general well-being of workers." The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at which Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, called for a national minimum wage act that will give all Americans a decent standard of living. How far we are from those noble and visionary goals. We do have a long way to go.
A just minimum wage is not only ethically right; it is also economically right. A just minimum wage is good for workers. A just minimum wage is good for business and the economy. Speaking of business, nearly 800 business owners and executives representing every state in the nation have signed a statement endorsing a minimum wage increase at www.businessforafairminimumwage.org.
A just minimum wage is good for our common future. So, we dare not and we will not cease our efforts until all working people receive a living wage.
Let Justice Roll will work, along with many others, in support of future federal legislation to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. We will work in support of minimum wage legislation at the state level and for living wage ordinances at the local and state level -- places like Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma and Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
We will continue to make the case that raising the minimum wage is a central moral and economic issue of our time. Morality demands that a job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.
Yes this is a good day, a day to celebrate. On this day, even as we celebrate, let us look forward to an even better day. A day when all working people will receive a truly living wage -- a wage that will give all of America's families a decent standard of living. On that day, justice will roll down like living waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Let's do it!
Rev. Dr. Paul H. Sherry is the founding national coordinator of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage campaign and the co-author of "A Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future."
Let Justice Roll state contacts can be found at http://www.letjusticeroll.org/stateminimumwagecampaigns-contacts.html.
Let Justice Roll is a national, nonpartisan coalition of more than ninety faith, community, labor and business organizations. For more information, please visit www.letjusticeroll.org.
Peace Actions -- Upcoming Dates and Deadlines
Aug 24: Deadline for Stories/Suggestions for Muslim/UU partnerships
Aug 25: Peace Rally and March in Kennebunkport, ME featuring UUSC President Charlie Clements!
Sept 11: Anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon
Sept 15: Deadline for UU Funding Program
Oct 8: Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day - Interfaith Fast for Peace
Oct 11: National Coming Out Day
Oct 14: Association Sunday
Nov 11: Armistice/Veteran's Day
Looking For UU Peacebuilders
The Unitarian Universalist Association's Washington Office for Advocacy, in relationship with the Peacemaking Congregational Study Action Issue Core Team, is looking for volunteers who are interested in enriching and elevating the UUA's organizing and activism for peace, focusing first on organizing around an October 8th day of interfaith fasting, witness, and advocacy against the war. If this interests you please contact Alex Winnett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 296-4672 ext. 20.