First Unitarian Church – Social Justice Council
Minutes of meeting held on January 10, 2018
Attendance: Evan Freud, Marie Cobbs, Allan Lindrup, Jean Hester, Ellen LaRue, Anita Orlikoff, Finley Campbell, Andrea Freerksen, Kennie James. Guests: Rev. David, Cheryl Wegner, Jim Proctor, Alex Swerdlow, and Mario Resario
The meeting commenced at 6:10 p.m. with a chalice lighting and opening words. Check-ins followed.
Alex Swerdlow and Mario Resario, of the Gather organization, presented. Gather is described as a centralized digital platform for progressive political and social justice activism. It organizes on college campus through lead Gather organizers (LGOs). The LGOs are monitored and have to give regular feedback. The platform is intended to allow progressive organizations and political candidates to connect with students. Gather generates a weekly electronic newsletter which highlights 5 events in each campus’ area. One can view the Gather platform at gatheractivism.com. There one will find a UTube video showing organizations how to post to the site. Calls to activism are listed on the site. Other events can be listed, and opinion pieces posted, but the focus is on activism, so other postings will generally be ignored. There is no cost for civic organizations to participate.
Evan thanked the presenters and said he would get back in touch with them after the SJC had made a decision.
Motion from Denominational Affairs Committee and Response from the Black Lives Matter Task Force
Andrea presented her perspective on what had transpired at the November BLM Task Force meeting. We went around the table to give our input. Finley moved the motion from the Denominational Affairs Committee, that no member of the congregation should be excluded from a meeting unless the person is disruptive. After extensive discussion Marie moved to table the motion. Andrea seconded this motion, with the understanding that the motion not be taken up again unless both Marie and Andrea area present. Marie accepted that amendment. The motion to table passed, but with some no votes.
Finley moved to adopt the minutes of the December SJC meeting as previously written and distributed (copies were also present). This motion was seconded by Andrea, who asked that the first and next to last sentences of the Denominational Affairs section be removed on any copy released for posting on the church website. The minutes of the December SJC meeting were approved with that understanding.
Allan said that there would be a need to have a substitute Secretary for the February and March SJC meetings, due to his upcoming Australian vacation.
Brief Task Force and Group Reports
Evan asked that, as much as possible, task force and group reports be submitted electronically.
Black Lives Matter Task Force: Andrea reported that this task force is leading a training on the Movement 4 Black Lives positions on Sunday, January 21, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Racial Justice Task Force: The Emancipation Proclamation Pageant will be performed at our church this Saturday evening, starting at 7 p.m., and on this Sunday, starting at 11:45 p.m.
Womens March – Chicago – 2018
Cheryl Wegner was present to report that there will again be a major Womens March in Chicago this January. It is being called “March to the Polls” and will take place on Saturday, January 20, with the crowd gathering in the late morning. The focal point of the gathering is at E. Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive. Finley moved that the SJC endorse this march. Andrea seconded the motion, which was adopted without opposition.
Andrea provided closing words at 8:30 p.m. We then adjourned
Minutes by Allan Lindrup, Secretary
Green Sanctuary Group Report
The Environmental Book Club, sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Group, continues to read and discuss Drawdown. The last two sessions on this book will occur on Mondays January 29 and February 5.
Richard Pardo has developed a plan for a recycling center in the northwest corner of Hull Chapel. He is sharing this with the Green Sanctuary Group members for comments before it is discussed with the Property Committee and church staff. He is also proposing that we be a styrofoam collection center for this neighborhood. Styrofoam is being recycled by Dart Industries, which has a facility near 7500 S. Kostner and we could transport the collected styrofoam to that location, as needed, for recycling.
Report of the Past, Present, and Future Activities of the Racial Justice Task Force, December 2017 to February 2018
I. Nature of racism course
A. In December we discussed the socio-historical nature of the Black Bourgeoisie, outlining its political economic characteristics as described in E. Franklin Frazier’s book The Black Bourgeoisie. They were three-fold:
- first, an emphasis on encoding capitalist modes of behavior into their sociocultural lifestyles; e.g., the cotillion balls and debutante parties;
- second, an economic focus on developing a variety of entrepreneurial, family-type, religio-economic, and corporate level business enterprises within the confines of racial segregation;
- third and most importantly, a major psychological commitment to the mythology of self-help, self-development, especially as shaped by capitalistic educational philosophies.
All these social historical factors found expression in the sense of frustrated entitlement created by the old Jim Crow racism which would in turn lead them* to become major leaders in the black working class – black bourgeoisie coalition. And it would be this coalition, which by 1968 would dismantle the final phase of white supremacy.
B. In our in January course, we will discuss how these characteristics would lead key sections of the black bourgeoisie to shift from de-segregation to re-segregation, from racial integration to racial separation, symbolized by the bourgeois led black power movement and their* participation in the rise and triumph of neo-racism, 1965 – 1975.
C. And, in our February course we will see how this triumph infected the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, both in the 60’s and later in the 90’s. We shall also show the film called Wilderness Journey that will document the impact of that infection.
II. Emancipation Proclamation Pageant Report
The committee consists of Finley Campbell, Joan Staples, Richard Pardo, Alan Lindrup, Kennie James, and Mr. Savage, our pianist. During December we finalized the script in order to make the performance somewhat shorter; we initiated our publicity campaign to reach out to high schools, newspapers, various communication networks as well as posting flyers throughout the Hyde park area. We still need to reach out to the members of the Hyde Park / Kenwood Interfaith Council. But most importantly, we have consolidated our key participants while bringing in a few new people, all representing a wide variety of racial groups, genders, church members, and friends. So here are the participants: Cindy and Richard Pardo, Joan and Chuck Staples, Marie Cobbs, Aneesah Ali and Jim proctor, Allan Lindrup, Grace Latibeaudiere-Williams, Finley C. Campbell, Phiefer Browne,
Cheryl Wegner, Jane Browne, Courtney Loring, Sonya Rich, Sophia Watson, Joe Hrodoba, Bobbi Lammers-Campbell, and Mr. Savage, our pianist.
Since Mr. Savage is a major part of the musical side of our pageant, we are giving him an honorarium of $300 to cover his three evening participation. We need to raise funds to pay this amount.
The schedule is as follows:
- Friday January 12, 6 – 9 pm is the dress rehearsal,
- January 13, 7 – 8:30 is the Community performance,
- and January 14 11:30 am – 1:00 pm is the Church performance.
Betty Holcomb and Reggie Scott have agreed to coordinate the Freedom Brunch as a fundraiser for the Sea Scouts on that Sunday beginning immediately after the church service. The brunch traditionally consist of pancakes, sausage and/or bacon, coffee, and orange juice.
In light of the political significance of the year 2018, stretching back to the 1868 election of the Black Republican government of former Union General Ulysses S Grant and the 50th anniversary of the year 1968, we’re hoping to attract a large turnout for this event is as a major part of the Martin Luther King Junior weekend.
III. Multiracial Unity Outings
As usual, a very small group of us went to see the following movies: LBJ, the Darkest Hour, and Dunkirk. And even though the movie A Nativity Story was advertised as a Christian movie, it turns out that it was very multiracial, with a bi-racial black Australian young woman playing Mary, a racially integrated trio of Wise Men, and a powerful celebration of the agricultural side of the ancient Jewish culture. We actually need a person to focus on creating a multiracial unity subcommittee, with a priority of doing a survey of the kinds of outings people would like.
And we also had no films for our Friday showings. But beginning in February, we will reinstitute our Racial Justice Film series with the movie Lincoln dealing with the congressional struggle to pass the 13th amendment.
Of course the big outing is the Martin Luther King Jr birthday celebration sponsored by the Chicago Sinfonietta. This is also combined with the First U Men’s Group pre-concert dinner. This will be on Monday, January 15, 2018 at Symphony hall. All special tickets, 18 in all, have been purchased, but other discounted tickets are available. However, Grace Williams has a ticket she would like to sell if at all possible. Call 773 230 3883 for details.
IV. Co-sponsored events
We also co-sponsored the Unitarian Universalist Multiracial Unity Action Caucus Annual Afghan Women’s Fund Xmas Bazaar, featuring UUMUAC member Sister Fahima Gaheez, director of the Fund. We had three sites for the bazaar: the University Church of Hyde Park, First Unitarian Church, and the first Unitarian Universalist Church of Hobart Indiana. We raised over $5000 for the women’s fund and had a wonderful activity at the Hobart church where Sister Fahima gave the Sunday service sermon. Due to mismanagement on my part, we were unable to have our Afghan discussion on Saturday, but nonetheless we did manage to reach out to scores of scores of people about the situation in Afghanistan in an informal manner, including to the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Sister Tony Preckwinkle who bought an expensive rug.
So that’s it from the Racial justice Task Force of the Social Justice Council of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago.
Dr. Finley C. Campbell, Scribe, program coordinator
Ms. Kennie James, chair
Global Studies Group report for SJC meeting, Jan. 10, 2018
We met after worship service on Sunday, Jan. 7.
After checkins, we discussed the request/inquiry from the South Korean group Woorihana which is assisting North Korean young people who are refugees in South Korea. The SJC had asked GSG for our opinion about the request. We decided that we didn’t know enough about the group itself or what they wanted from us to recommend anything to the SJC and the Congregation. We recommend asking for specific information. We also plan to reach out to the Korean Christian Congregation which meets at the Hyde Park Union Church. Even if they know nothing more than we do, reaching out could open something up.
Then we discussed chapters 4 and 5 of the book The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia, by Andrei Lankov. The discussion of these chapters was especially interesting because of the description and analysis of the back-and-forth between North Korea and the U.S. and other world powers in the past. It’s happening again, in a very similar fashion.
In subsequent general discussion it came up that certain aspects of the impasse could be reduced if there had ever been a peace treaty signed at the end of the Korean conflict. We will try to find out if there is a movement for a peace treaty.
Our next meeting will be the first Sunday of Feb., after social hour.