Social Justice Committee
Social Justice Committee Initiatives
UPDATED - 3/01/15
Family Promise of Ozaukee County
Cindy & Pat Kotecki are the new coordinators for UCN. Congregations who have made the commitment to house children and families will start up that process in the Fall of 2015. UCN is one of the committed congregations for on-site, overnight housing, four weeks a year.
Vicki Fuerstenau continues to load and transport non-perishable food items to the Bethesda Outreach Program in Milwaukee. The Food Barrel is located upstairs. You can contribute food at any time.
Mike Strauss continues to solicit and schedule food and a few serving-volunteers for contributing and serving meals at the Guest House (shelter for men without dwelling places) in Milwaukee. This service occurs 4x/year.
Rev. Marilyn Miller, chair of the MICAH Religious Leaders' Caucus and pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Milwaukee, was the pulpit guest on Oct. 26, 2014. She was well-received by the congregation, with many congregational responses after her sermon. Four UCNers attended the MICAH Prayer Breakfast and Black History Month celebration on Feb. 21st.
Ozaukee County NAACP
Monthly meetings are held at UCN on the 2nd Tuesdays of each month at 6:30 pm in the Emerson Room. This summer, UCN received a plaque commemorating out Silver Life Membership in the national NAACP. This plaque is displayed in the North Lobby. The Ozaukee Branch recently hosted the Quarterly State Conference of Branches.
Share the Plate
Jenny Goetz coordinates this project by receiving nominations from congregation members and presenting the nominations to the Social Justice Committee for discussion and decisions. One-half of the offertory for each month is given to the chosen organization.
Unitarian Church North Fund for Social Justice
This project, whose purpose is to build an on-going fund through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, has been in existence since 2000. Interest income is given annually to groups in the Greater Milwaukee Area who provide assistance in areas such as hunger, homelessness, lack of childcare, lack of affordable housing, etc.
With this new initiative, Stephanie Richardson currently is facilitating occasional discussions and get-togethers among the UU churches in the Greater Milwaukee Area. This kind of outreach is likely to be extended to the Mid-America Region of the UUA. It is felt that these connections can improve awareness of, and participation in, each church's projects and can facilitate a broader base of social justice support and effectiveness.
This sub-committee is currently not active, in a formal sense. Volunteers are needed in order to promote on-going welcoming efforts to LGBTQ people and their families and friends. See Jenny Elsner-Miller.
Submitted by Lucy Friedrichs
Past Social Justice Activities
Social Justice Committee sponsors screening of
“Inequality For All,”
a film on the shrinking middle class and its affect on the U.S. economy and democracy
Thursday, May 1, 7 p.m.
Free and open to the public
The American economy is in crisis. Enter Robert Reich: Secretary of Labor under Clinton, revered professor, charismatic pundit and author of thirteen books. “Bob” as he’s referred to in the film, is our hero and guide, shining a light on the urgency of this issue. Economic imbalances are now at near historically unprecedented levels. In fact, the two years of widest economic inequality of the last century were 1928 and 2007 – the two years just before the greatest economic crashes of modern times. What is the link between high inequality and economic crashes? What happened to the Middle Class?
As Americans, we’ve been taught that there is a basic bargain at the heart of our society: work hard, play by the rules and you can make a better life for yourself. But over the last 35 years, this bargain has been broken. Middle class incomes have stagnated or dropped over the same period during which the American economy has more than doubled. So where did all that money go? The facts are clear – it went to the top earners. In 1970 the top 1% of earners took home 9% of the nation’s income. Today they take in approximately 23%. The top 1% holds more than 35% of the nation’s overall wealth, while the bottom 50% controls a meager 2.5%. The last time wealth was this concentrated was in 1928, on the eve of the Great Depression.
What’s the big deal, you may ask? Didn’t the wealthy earn it? INEQUALITY FOR ALL is happy to acknowledge that. There is no vilifying of the rich here. The problem is that wide income divisions threaten the health of both our economy and our democracy. When middle class consumers have to tighten their belts, the whole economy suffers. We saw this in the years before the Great Depression just as we see it today. The middle class represents 70% of spending and is the great stabilizer of our economy. No increase in spending by the rich can make up for it.
This is the moment in history in which we find ourselves: unprecedented income divisions, a wildly fluctuating and unstable economy, and average Americans increasingly frustrated and disillusioned. The debate about income inequality has become part of the national discussion, and this is a good thing. INEQUALITY FOR ALL connects the dots for viewers, showing why dealing with the widening gap between the rich and everyone else isn’t just about moral fairness.
INEQUALITY FOR ALL allows viewers to start with little or no understanding of what it means for the U.S. to be economically imbalanced, and walk away with a comprehensive and significantly deeper sense of the issue and what can be done about it.
For more information about “Inequality For All” and to view the trailer,
please visit: www.InequalityForAll.com.
For your reference:
UCN Fund for Social Justice Presentation to Bethesda Outreach Program
The Unitarian Church North Fund for Social Justice check presentation was made to Bethesda Outreach Program on Tuesday, August 13, 2013, at their church, Bethesda Church of God in Christ, 2810 W. Highland Blvd, in Milwaukee. The amount of the disbursement was $709.44. The money will be used to supply food for the meal service that they prepare for approximately 80 people, three days a week. Presenting the check were UCN members, Vicki Fuerstenau and Ed and Lucy Friedrichs. Receiving the check was Mother L.P. Bates (seated), coordinator of the Bethesda Outreach Program for many years and spiritual mother to the congregation and many neighborhood individuals. The pastor of Bethsda C.O.G.I.C. is the Reverend Dr. R.V. Bates, Sr.