We at ERUUF make the world a better place through our Social Justice involvement and ministries.
Justice Council Ministries
El Centro Hispano
El Centro Hispano is a grassroots community-based organization dedicated to strengthening the Hispanic/Latino community in the Durham and Chapel Hill area. Education is the cornerstone of El Centro Hispano's work: preparing kids for success, and their parents for today's marketplace. To that end, ERUUF volunteers help Hispanic students in Kindergarten-2nd grade with homework and reading and math skills for 2 hours each Monday evening of the school year.
The ERUUF/Urban Ministries Homeless Action Partnership is one way in which ERUUF serves our low income and homeless neighbors. The work that we do helps change lives through the dedicated service and financial contributions of our members. The programs at Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) are only possible because of the work of volunteers. UMD relies on over 4000 volunteer hours each year to provide housing, clothing and food. Each year over 200 ERUUF members and friends volunteer at the homeless shelter to support the various programs of UMD.
Justice Work Takes 5 Forms Here
Learning - Increasing congregational awareness and knowledge about issues and opportunities for being involved and how to interpret an issue within the context of liberal religious values,
Serving - Implementing how an Action Group intends to carry out their program of justice ministry,
Transformation - Providing opportunities for participants to increase self-reflection, sensitivity, confidence, ability, and spiritual growth resulting in empowerment and organized ways to create change,
Witness - Sharing the convictions and contributions regarding a particular issue with the wider community, and
Advocacy - Contributing to public awareness or policy solutions by engaging with the legislative process and a wider public.
(compiled from the UUA ‘s Congregational Categories of Engagement and the Justice Transition Task Force summary report).
Justice Action Groups are defined as teams engaging with specific programs, initiatives, services, events, or relationships that are directly involved in justice work. Current examples are the Homeless Action Team, Earth Justice, San Ramon, and others.
Areas of Concern refer to larger categories within which reside specific Justice Action Groups that have common characteristics and intersecting interests. Current categories of Areas of Concern are: Alleviate Poverty, Advance Human Rights, Protect the Earth, Building Beloved Community, Partners for Justice.
A limited number of Areas of Concern have been proposed to sharpen the focus for congregation commitment and understanding and to develop communities of interest wherein partnerships among Justice Action Groups within ERUUF can increase program effectiveness of each group. Although monthly Area of Concern meetings are not envisioned, communication between Action Groups is encouraged.
An Area of Concern Liaison will be selected by members of the Action Groups within each area to serve as a member of the Justice Ministry Executive Committee.
The Justice Ministry Council (JMC) is a plenary group composed of all leaders and members of Justice Action Groups. The Justice Ministry Moderators (co-chairs) convene the Council that meets quarterly to shape Justice Ministry planning, review accomplishments, and discuss justice priorities and specific program matters.
The Justice Ministry Executive Committee (JMEC) is a subset of the Justice Council composed of 5-8 people convened by the Moderators monthly and is composed of coordinators with specific organizational assignments and Area of Concern Liaisons. The Executive Committee is a critical link between the congregation and Justice Ministry Leaders and is responsible for planning, budgeting, reviewing, and green-lighting justice proposals and opportunities.
Justice Ministry Associates are Fellowship members and families who have expressed an active interest in Justice Ministry activities. Justice Action Groups will alert this growing cadre of members to specific needs and opportunities. They may serve as consultants during planning periods and participate in justice program reviews. In addition, Associates may be invited to undertake limited assignments, give presentations, and offer testimony about justice activities.
Justice Ministry Council (JMC)
The ERUUF Justice MinistryCouncil coordinates action and activities for social, economic, and earth justice. The council is an umbrella committee, comprised of representatives from ERUUF Action Groups and other interested ERUUFians working to live the mission of the Fellowship. The Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 pm. The meetings are open to all interested ERUUFians.
For several years until June 2016, ERUUF funded the various justice projects that the Justice Council chose for continued long-term focus at ERUUF by periodically designating the collection plate offering for the Justice Council. Six Sundays of the year, the plate was given to the Justice Council to support justice ministry at ERUUF and in the broader community.
Stories of Justice
Saving Democracy with UU Values Workshop Inspires
The forty-nine people who participated in this very informative workshop on March 4 came away inspired and motivated. The workshop, as publicized, truly built “our capacity to seek truth, act courageously, resist oppression, and work individually and collectively to preserve our fundamental democratic institutions”. Starting with some humorous videos of comedians poking fun at politicians,
Successful Durham CAN retreat yields new potential action plans
ERUUF was well represented at the recent Durham Can Leaders Retreat held on 2/7/2017 held at Monument of Faith Church. Over 100 people attended the retreat, 6 of them from ERUUF. Amassa Fauntleroy shares this report:
UUA Common Read
The Third Reconstruction by Rev. Dr. William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
ERUUF's Adult Programs Team was excited to offer the UUA Common Read Book Discussions in February. Around 40 people who signed up were assigned to small groups, each with a discussion leader, which met three times. Unitarian Universalists were electrified at General Assembly 2016 by Rev. Barber's call for building and sustaining a movement for justice for all people. The Common Read selection committee believes that now is a moment for Unitarian Universalists to answer that call and provides a number of ways to do so.
Durham CAN Promotes Affordable Housing Downtown
Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN) has been advocating for affordable housing on property next to the Durham Station Transportation Center downtown (on Jackson Street). Members of CAN attended a Durham City Council meeting September 8th at which the City Manager presented the process for selection of a developer for the parcel. Jennifer McDuffie was one of those who attended and provided information for this report.
This year Pridefest is particularly important with a high level of anti-LGBTQ bigotry fed by certain politicians and discriminatory laws such as HB2. Triangle area UUs are joining together to create a float for the Pride Parade and having a booth at the festival to demonstrate that communities of faith can be affirming and welcoming.