Mujeres En Acción
Each month the Social Justice Committee features one organization working on social justice issues. Information on the organization is displayed on our bulletin board, in the newsletter, and in the literature rack. All cash and specified checks from one Sunday's collection basket are given to the organization.
Plymouth Area Transition Town Initiative Becomes Focus for Social JusticeLast January the Social Justice Committee invited members and friends of the Fellowship to a potluck gathering to help decide the issue or issues to be the focus of SKUUF's social justice work over the next year or so. The response from that meeting was overwhelmingly decided in favor of working to create a Transition Town for the Plymouth area.
If you haven't yet attended one of the meetings held at our Meetinghouse to introduce this issue, we should explain that Transition Towns are being formed in communities to help make the changes that will be needed to transition from dependence on oil. The Plymouth area is strategically positioned to be a leader in this effort, as there are already many groups working independently to create a more sustainable community. As this newsletter is being prepared this week, another public meeting will be held at SKUUF on Earth Day, April 22 related to this important subject.
The Social Justice Committee has determined that it needs to help organize a steering committee composed of representatives from several organizations in the Plymouth area if the effort is to be successful. The Committee has been pleased with the initial enthusiasm of SKUUF members and friends and looks forward to engaging more folks this spring and summer. We are indebted to Committee member Sam Miller for introducing this topic to SKUUF.
There is a DVD available you may borrow from the Social Justice Committee explaining what this Transition Initiative is all about. There is also a book: "The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience" by Rob Hopkins.
SKUUF Contribution to Haiti Earthquake Relief FundMembers and friends of SKUUF contributed a total of $1,642.52 to the UUSC/UUA Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. The UUSC team is currently in Haiti, meeting UUSC partners to develop a mid- and long-term response to the devastation caused by the January 12 earthquake.
According to the information posted by UUSC on their website, their experiences in responding to crises has taught them time and again that in every disaster, groups of people are at particular risk of being overlooked or left behind in traditional aid programs. The UUSC has found that the best way of identifying and reaching these groups is through partnering with grassroots organizations working in the country itself. The UUSC works to support and strengthen these local partners who will be there doing the work long after the international relief agencies pack their bags.
The UUSC reports that it sends $0.92 of every dollar donated to support relief and recovery efforts on the ground. The remaining $.08 covers essential administrative expenses such as wire transfer fees to send funds, calls to partners on the ground, and temporary hires to support rapid response.
Seeking Additional MembersDo you know SKUUF's official Mission Statement? It is two sentences in length. Here's the second sentence: "To educate, encourage, and empower ourselves and our children to become committed to local, national, and global issues as they relate to the principles of the UUA."
The Social Justice Committee needs a few additional members to help lead our congregation in this important work. A new meeting time, early evening once a month, may be arranged if that proves to be best for all. Please contact Mimi Ford for more information.
Unitarian Universalist Association ActionsEach month, the UUA highlights one social justice issue for sustained congregational engagement. You can find information regarding this month's action, in addition to a host of other resources on the UUA Social Justice pages.
Reducing our Carbon FootprintWe are on our way to losing 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. The vegetarian dinner sponsored by the Social Justice Committee on November 14th, 2008 was the first step in inspiring a "carbon diet" for SKUUF members to consider and act upon. Several of us will be wearing badges besides our name tags which tells anyone looking at them to ask us about something we have tried or are doing. So far we have experience with insulation, driving more slowly, solar water heaters, hybrid cars, outdoor lighting, eating less meat, energy-efficient homes, a low water/low energy washing machine, and composting, gardening and recycling.
In January, we came away with following thoughts on reducing our carbon footprint.
- The EPA website (EPA.gov) probably contains the best carbon footprint calculator as it bases its information on where we live within this country.
- Tracking the average of kwh of electricity used, gallons or whatever quantity applies to the element we use to heat our homes, and average miles per gallon driven between fuel stops for our cars serves to motivate us to continue our efforts to reduce additional carbon.
- Eating and food shopping can be improved to a more environmentally-friendly approach.
The Social Justice Committee looks forward to learning what everyone accomplished over the summer and fall to reduce their carbon output. A vegetarian potluck is being planned to celebrate the completion of this year's goal in the early part of 2010. We will also use this gathering to help determine what efforts will be made to make additional strides in our collective effort to reduce the amount of carbon used in our daily lives.
Starr King Fellowship supports the concept that a liberal religious community embraces the fundamental commitment of living in harmony with the earth.
Interested in some ways you can personally help the earth?
- Have a look at our Ten Top Ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle at Home.
- Our Green Resources and Organizations page provides information and inspiration for living and thinking "green".
Community ClosetThe Community Closet can always use our help. There is a basket in the foyer for your non-breakable food contributions, and you may drop off canned or boxed goods anytime.
For the past two years the Social Justice Committee has promoted the development of a Restorative Justice program for juveniles in the greater Plymouth region. A restorative justice program seeks to heal the injury of crime and to rebuild the broken relationships in the community. It brings together offenders, victims and community members to discuss the crime and the injury caused, and to help the offender find ways to make suitable reparation for the crime. The Committee will continue to work with other groups in this region to make this alternative model of justice a reality.