Social Justice Council – December 2017

First Unitarian Church – Social Justice Council

Minutes of meeting held on Dec. 13, 2017

Attendance: Evan Freund, Anita Orlikoff, Allan Lindrup, Ellen LaRue, Kennie James, Finley Campbell, plus Christine Herrell representing the Board of Trustees

We commenced at 6:10 p.m. with a chalice lighting and opening words. A round of check-ins followed.

Minutes of November SJC Meeting: The draft minutes of the November SJC had been distributed electronically. Some revisions had been received and discussed. A revised draft with an addendum was then distributed electronically and copies available for review at this meeting. Finley moved adoption of the revised draft minutes. Marie seconded the motion, which was then approved unanimously.

Task Force and Group Reports

Green Sanctuary Group– Allan reported that the Green Sanctuary Group report was submitted to the SJC Google Group email chain a couple days before this meeting.

BLM Task Force – This task force did not meet in December due to health problems its Chair was having. It is preparing for a First Forum on the Movement for Black Lives. Evan reported that he and Andrea Lee are on CRS’s Police Accountability Task Force. There are three lawsuits against the Chicago Police Department, seeking to implement the Dept. of Justice recommendations on what Chicago needs to do to have a credible system of police accountability. Some of those law suits may get consolidated.

Racial Justice Task Force – Finley summarized the subject matter of the November session of the Nature of Racism course and said that the December session would be on Dec. 17. The planning for and the 2018 Emancipation Proclamation Pageant sessions is proceeding and publicity has begun. The Afghan Womens Fund XMas Bazaar, which the RJTF co-sponsored, was able to sell over $5,000 in goods during its recent weekend in the Chicago area.

Criminal Justice Task Force – Its December meeting featured a presentation by criminal justice Prof. David Olson. A representative from the ACLU is scheduled to speak at the task force’s January meeting. No money bail remains the task force’s #1 issue. A UUSJ Interfaith Criminal Justice Task Force is scheduled to have its founding meeting at this church on Dec. 16, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Global Studies Group – Ellen reported that the Global Studies Group report was submitted to the SJC Google Group email chain the day prior to this meeting.

Spiritual Adventures – Third Principle Project – Anita said that the organizers are analyzing the survey responses before making further plans.

Denominational Affairs –The Denominational Affairs Committee adopted and brings to the SJC a motion that no member of the congregation should be excluded from a meeting unless the person is disruptive. This motion is based on our church’s covenant and the 7 UU Principles. Allan moved the SJC consider and in January vote on the Denominational Affairs Committee motion. Finley seconded the motion. Discussion followed. A vote was taken on the motion Allan had moved and all but one voted in favor.

Miscellaneous Reports:  Anita reported on the International Children’s Media – Global Girls Film Festival. Allan provided an update on recent progress in repairing the Ujima Youth Shelter after its fire last ML King Day.

North Korea: We discussed the request/inquiry from the South Korean group Woorihana, which is assisting North Korean young people who are refugees in South Korea. They appear to be looking for financial assistance and opportunities for young refugees to stay a few months in the United States, to improve their English, to speak in churches and other venues on what they experienced in North Korea, and possibly to work in some form of (probably unpaid) internship. We had some discussion and then the Global Studies Group was asked to discuss the request and possibly develop a position before it comes back to the SJC for consideration.

SJC First Forums

Jan,21 – Workshop on the Movement for Black Lives (sponsored by the BLM Task Force)

Feb. 18 – Community Violence Abatement (sponsored by the Criminal Justice Task Force)

Mar. 18 – Women’s Issues (sponsored by the Spiritual Adventures – Third Principle Project)

Apr. 15 – The Assassination of M.L. King Jr.: A Hero for Multiracial Unity (sponsored by the Racial Justice Task Force)

Apr. 22 – Earth Day Environmental Program (sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Group)

May 20 – Annual Meeting precludes a SJC First Forum

It was mentioned that a First Forum on the Poor People’s Campaign, particularly its campaign in Illinois, would be appreciated.

Community Renewal Society (CRS): Evan will seek to advertise the ML King Day assembly and the CRS task forces that First Unitarian Church members can get involved with since this church is a CRS member.

SJC Communications: There was further discussion of the SJC google group. In future months task force and group reports should be sent to rather than sent as a reply to an SJC google group email requesting reports.

Closing: For closing words Evan reread part of our church’s covenant. We adjourned at 8:03 p.m.

Minutes by Allan Lindrup, Secretary


Addendum – Reports submitted to the SJC Google Group prior to the Dec. meeting

Green Sanctuary Group

Allan Lindrup, Chair, reporting

In the last month the Green Sanctuary Group showed the movie “How to Let Go of the World” as the November SJC movie, with discussion following.

On Dec. 2 we held our annual Household Hazardous Waste and Computer Electronics collection. The event was a success, as we collected somewhat more materials than either of the prior two years, and substantially more by weight.

On Dec. 3 Richard Pardo lead a First Forum that updated attendees on all things new with regard to recycling in Chicago.

The Environmental Book Club has been reading and discussing (six participants) more of the multitude of ideas on saving and sequestering carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases presented in the book Drawdown. Most recently we covered the sections on Women and Children, and Buildings and Cities.

In the next month the Environmental Book Club will be reading and discussing (on Dec. 18) the ideas in the section on Materials and some of the ideas under Transportation.

How can the SJC be of assistance?  Ellen LaRue had the lead in developing an environmental justice project with international reach. She will find some good ideas in the book Drawdown, but other social justice activists are invited to send her suggestions for environmental justice projects where our church can have a positive effect in other countries.

The Global Studies Group is currently reading The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia, by Andrei Lankov. On Dec. 3 we met to discuss chapters 3 (The Logic of Survival (Domestically)) and 4. However we were able to finish only Chapter 3, which is a pretty in depth description of the economy and the reasons (mostly non-economic) the elite in North Korea cannot introduce greater reforms without having their positions threatened. A major takeaway from the reading is that the leadership of North Korea is not crazy and not stupid, and they have good reason (from their vantage point) for acting as they do. If anyone might care to read this book without joining the GSG for discussion, it is highly readable, actually enjoyable and recommended. The next meeting will be Sunday, Jan. 7, after worship service, exact time to be announced later. The reading for that meeting will be chapters 4-5.