Harvest the Power Justice Convergence and Teach-in

Our committee participants were not able to attend all online sessions for the Harvest the Power Justice Convergence & Teach-in on November 22.  Libby attended three discussions and viewed several films.  One consistent theme was that the entire history of colonizing this country has been the effort to erase Native Americans.  Whether through confiscated and dishonestly “purchased” lands, destruction of communities, disease, enforced poverty, broken treaties, forced assimilation such as Indian Schools, Constitutional denial of both citizenship and Native sovereignty, or the concept of “blood,” the European white  population has tried to make the First People non-people.  Our task is to learn this history and identify how the practice continues today through cultural and political processes.  I think we will learn that our own well being on this shared planet is tied to the well being of Native Peoples.


We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân Documentary Screening & Discussion with Jessie Little Doe Baird is a beautiful documentary dealing with the restoration of the language of the Wampanoag  people of Nantucket and the connection to their land.  Highly recommended! Consider making a contribution to  Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) Language Reclamation Project.

Here is the link to watch the film:
https://vimeo.com/84780111
Password: wslh9uumfe9

The recording, the chat history and the closed captioning transcript for the discussion today with Jessie Little Doe Baird and Anne Makepeace are all viewable here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1em1mB6rr0KBWlfuzWchhQ7rbKWspx_gL?usp=sharing

This discussion was also live streamed to Facebook, here: https://fb.watch/1VEu3HA-rW/

And uploaded to YouTube, here: https://youtu.be/9zBepP7ywkE

Submitted by Libby Earle

UUJO 2020 Assembly

UUJO held its virtual Annual Assembly on Saturday, November 21. Samuel Prince’s opening words portrayed our democracy as being on fire and that only justice could put out that fire. He was followed by Rev. Connie Simon from First Church of Cincinnati. Rev. Connie spoke of the need to repair connections. How do we center the experience of the marginalized? How do we know what Justice looks like? How do we reach out to those so entrenched in a harsh conservative narrative they aren’t in a place to hear. We cannot speak only of racial justice because racial justice is climate justice, is economic justice, is criminal justice…

Following the business meeting Rev. Dr. Susan Smith, Crazy Faith Ministries of Columbus, Ohio spoke. Dr. Smith is a dynamic speaker. She said that like our infection with Covid 19, we are an infected nation. The seeds of racism were planted in our founding, in the Constitution, and like a virus, they never go away; they wait to spring up again. Dr. Smith’s latest book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America, published by Judson Press, 2020 would be an excellent choice for a Hopedale book report. See links below for videoed speakers. You won’t be disappointed!

• Morning Opening and Rev Connie Simon, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOHaoWXrzuM
• Afternoon with Rev Dr Susan Smith, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ochb8ozAtSA
• Business meeting, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVRF6n9lf5s

Please visit https://uujo.org/ to complete the UUJO survey on justice priorities for Ohio.

– Submitted by Libby Earle and Liz Woedl.

Oh NO! Not Again?

When House Bill 6 (HB 6) was first proposed nearly two years ago numerous advocacy groups warned about the many ways this bill would benefit the fossil fuel industry at the expense of the environment and electric ratepayers. The most well-known portion of the bill levied a surcharge on electric bills to raise over a billion dollars a year for subsidies to four electric generating facilities – two coal-fired and two nuclear powered – benefitting mostly one company (First Energy). These plants are so old and obsolete that it costs more to generate electricity than the selling price and they were scheduled to be decommissioned. They are highly polluting and/or unsafe. But the bill passed anyway and First Energy scrapped plans to close them. Earlier this year we learned that $60 million was spent on bribes to Ohio Legislators to help secure passage and, just last week, the Chair of PUCO (Public Utility Commission of Ohio) resigned after his office was raided by federal officials.

For months Ohio Legislators, Governor DeWine and members of his administration have been promising to totally repeal HB 6. But as of this writing it is still on the books, scheduled to go into effect January 1. A majority of the Ohio House and Senate from both parties have co-sponsored the repeal bills but the leadership has refused to put them up for a vote. As far as I know they are still sitting in committee waiting for hearings to be scheduled.

Every environmental group I belong to (and that’s not a small number!) has been trying to unblock the logjam. Citizen action right now is urgently needed. Since HB 6 is due to go into effect January 1 and holiday recesses are imminent, time is short. Since both current Oxford area representatives (Representative Candice Keller and Senator Bill Coley) voted against HB6 originally and neither is on relevant committees, they are not in a position to do much. But several Hamilton and Cincinnati area representatives are in leadership positions on these committees and contacting them and/or Governor DeWine, could be especially useful.

I attended two webinars about this recently and have contact information, voting records, etc., that I can pass along to anyone willing to write letters or make phone calls. Email me.

Thanks for your patience about this — it’s more than an environmental issue; it’s also a social justice issue. It is estimated that HB#6 will “only” cost the average household about $8 a month but that can be a lot to families that are already struggling, especially now. And most of the benefit goes to one large multimillion-dollar corporation!

Submitted by Peggy Branstrator

Beloved Conversations

Rev. Kierstin Homblette Allen (Congregational Coordinator for Beloved Conversations) from the Meadville Lombard Theological School participated in a Zoom conversation on 11/16/2020 with area members of UU Council Greater Cincinnati congregations to answer questions about the program Beloved Conversations. This is work that we as individuals and as a congregation need to do if we are to be effective partners with POC in building a just Beloved Community. The work is a major commitment in time and in money. We can probably find the money. The program work is defined as being within, among, and without.

The “within” consists of two semesters, both required before moving on to the next level of work. We will be joining the Spring semester and then the Fall semester. Time commitment: 6 lessons every 2 weeks about 8-10 hours of homework (reading, reflection, etc.), 6 discussions in pod groups of 1 ½ hours each, 4 large group facilitated meetings. You may or may not know the members of your pod. Each semester is $150 each. Each semester has two parallel groups: white folks and black folks because we need to do the  internal work separate before we can work together.

The program goes next to work “among” (among the congregation) and then to the work “without” (into the community). This is very much an evolving program.

Please give thought to participating in this program. There are many additional resources that we can use to broaden our understanding of anti-white supremacy work and our place in systemic white supremacy. Perhaps members who are interested in Beloved Conversations need to have a discussion.

Submitted by Libby Earle and Liz Woedl

Ohio HR 763 Data and Analysis

HUUCSJ is providing a link from the Citizens’ Climate lobby, to the analysis of HR 763, the Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act, and it’s effect on households. The data show the most benefit on low income and minority households, while producing very small increases in costs for high income households. https://huucsj.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/household_impacts_2020_for_ohio_district_8.pdf

Citizens’ Climate Change Lobby Action Request

This announcement from the Clark County (Springfield) chapter of CCL is relevant to Oxford since we share the same congressional representative:

Virtual postcards for the climate

     We’re asking volunteers to make virtual postcards calling for climate action. These virtual cards will be gathered into a single document to deliver to Congressman Davidson’s office. The postcard should include a statement in support of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, your name and hometown, and a photo of yourself. An example is shown below.
     The virtual postcard can be made using an individual PowerPoint slide. A template can be downloaded here. If you don’t feel comfortable using PowerPoint, send your statement and photograph to Steve Schlather at sschlather@sbcglobal.net.
     Be sure to keep your comments hopeful and respectful. We hope to have the virtual postcards ready by mid-November, but the sooner you can submit one, the better.

Recovery That Cares

Interfaith Power & Light reminds us that before the pandemic crisis clean energy was a big economic bright spot. “But since March, we’ve lost over half a million clean energy jobs. We can reverse those losses and create jobs right now by investing in clean energy tax credits.

“We also need to do more to protect the health of our communities, especially our most vulnerable. One way we can do that is by stopping utility shut-offs nationwide. All our neighbors deserve access to clean water and electricity. Especially during a public health emergency, we must make sure that everyone has what they need to stay safe and healthy at home. And in the longer term, we can lower utility bills, create jobs, and better care for Creation by investing in programs that improve energy efficiency in low-income households.

“Keeping our communities healthy also means addressing decades of environmental injustice. As we fight a virus that attacks our lungs, we know that too many neighbors – especially in communities of color – have been forced to breathe more than their fair share of pollution. We can work towards restoring the divine gift of clean air for all by investing in the EPA’s Environmental Justice grants, funds that cut pollution and create jobs through local community projects.

“Finally, we can create jobs by investing in the necessary transition away from the fossil fuels that make our communities sicker. Let’s start that process with the RECLAIM Act, a bipartisan bill to provide funding for cleanup and economic development in communities with abandoned coal mines. By including that funding in the next recovery package, we could both protect people’s health and provide immediate employment for hard-hit communities.”

Please take a moment today to urge your senators to support a recovery that cares for Creation and our most vulnerable neighbors.

Films and TV Series to Watch

• American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
• 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
• Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
• Blindspotting (Carlos López Estrada) — Hulu with Cinemax or available to rent
• Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
• Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
• Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
• I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
• If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
• Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
• King In The Wilderness — HBO
• See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
• Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
• The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
• The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Available to rent for free
• When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

(Excerpt from “First, Listen. Then, Learn: Anti-Racism Resources For White People,” Forbes, 06/02/2020)

Summer Sunday: Is This the Human Race?

July 19- ZOOM, 10:30-11:30am.​ A service for all ages and hands on simultaneous, creative ​​​adventure! For this fun adventure you will need the following supplies: several 81/2 x 11 plain white paper, pencils (or age dependant: pens, markers, crayons), scissors, and a flat working surface, https://youtu.be/21qi9ZcQVto. ​​Service Leader: Libby Earle, Storyteller: Bethany Smith, Creative leader: Liz Woedl.

Bonus: https://huucsj.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/uu-principles-tiny-book.pdf

This year, because the COVID-19 Pandemic, most of the services will be on ZOOM, Sunday mornings 10:30-11:30 A.M. For access to the Meeting I.D. and Password, please contact Libby at mearle1945@gmail.com .