Category: Social Justice

News from the Social Justice Committee or related to social justice and posted by another group

Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis

Our next Climate Dialogue event will feature Dr. Fred Bass: “Some wisdom on the climate crisis: Jewish, Agnostic, Quaker, Buddhist”

Wed., May 11 at 7 p.m. 

Click here to load the stream in YouTube to join the chat.

Book your seat in the Sanctuary here: https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/May11ClimateEvent

All events will be available to join in person or online at ucv.im/FaithAndClimate

About the Speaker

About a century ago, Fred Bass’s Orthodox Jewish grandparents left Lithuania, Belarus, and Hungary for New York.  They spawned his parents who both were school teachers in New York City.  And they spawned Jon and Fred who headed for careers in chemistry.  Jon stayed on course and Fred strayed into medicine, enchanted with its statistical aspects.  Eventually, he focused on epidemiology and preventive medicine, as they applied to the pandemic of tobacco addiction.

In 1975, he recovered from addiction to academia (His name has 12 letters and his degrees have 11 letters). Then Fred migrated from the US with wife Judith and two kids Jenn and Ben to the Vancouver Health Department.  For 17 years, he worked with the BC Medical Association on tobacco addiction in BC and across Canada, promoting both clinical and policy interventions.

Concerns about global warming and social justice led Fred to serve two terms on Vancouver City Council.  Over decades, he joined many demonstrations – pipeline protests at Burnaby Mountain, arrested in 2014 and arrested for blocking a coal train in White Rock.  Fred now gives workshops to help people face ecological collapse.  He believes science requires spirituality and vice versa.

Fred, with his partner Roma, enjoys his semi-blended families of children and grandchildren, his political and non-political friends, the food of Vancouver, walking and bicycle-commuting, traversing BC’s beautiful terrain, Sunday spiritual ventures with Quakers and Wednesday spiritual ventures with the Soto Zen community of Mountain Rain Zen. He loves the music of Mozart, classical guitar, and Brazilian choro.

 

About the Series: Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis 

Every day we are reminded that we are in a climate emergency. Unprecedented heat waves, droughts, fires, extreme weather events, floods, refugees – the list goes on. Taken together with the current pandemic, it’s understandable that many of us feel frightened, overwhelmed, powerless.  Where can we find the individual and collective strength to clearly face the truth of the emergency, mourn the damage being done to our blue planet, and inspire ourselves and others to action?

The Vancouver Unitarians are hosting a series of talks by prominent Canadians from faith, spiritual and secular backgrounds to support us in answering that question.  They will educate, nourish, and inspire us, drawing on diverse faith and spiritual traditions including those of Indigenous peoples. They will delve into how these traditions and practices, and the values they represent, help them contend with the climate emergency and the actions they are taking.  And, in this way, they will help us engage more effectively with the crisis and create our way forward to a sustainable future – for ourselves and our families, our communities, our nation, and for the health of our loved ones and our planet.

Future events in the series

  • May 11: Dr. Fred Bass
  • June 8: Sameer Merchant

 

About the Format and Venue

The speaker series is being live-streamed from the campus of the Vancouver Unitarians to audiences online and in-person in the Sanctuary. Two Vancouver Unitarians are moderating the series – introducing the speakers, leading discussions after each talk, and providing continuity over the course of the full program.  The series will include occasional panel discussions of key themes and learnings from what we heard. 

All events in this series are being held in the Sanctuary at UCV. It is recognized as a remarkable mid-twentieth century architectural legacy – a well-received spiritual gathering place and a civic gathering place for events in the arts, public affairs, and discourse on the issues of the day.

 

Past Events in this Series 

Oct. 28, 2021: Seth Klein

Jan. 26, 2022: Dr. Carmen Lansdowne

Feb. 9, 2022: Rabbi Hannah Dresner

Mar. 9, 2022: Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning

April 13, 2002: Corina Bye, Catherine Hembling, Karl Perrin, and Tamiko Suzuki

Courthouse solidarity and Women’s Memorial March: Vancouver Unitarians take action

​U​CV ​members were out in numbers to support two downtown events on Monday.

Catherine Hembling at the Courthouse

At 9am we gathered under our banner with a crowd over 300 strong, on the steps of the courthouse to support the brave Brunette Six who were to appear before a judge for sentencing. The Six planned to plead guilty to breaking the TMX injunction and take whatever jail sentence would be meted out. 

​Led by Earle Peach, we​ sang uplifting songs, chanted our anger and resolve to keep up the fight against the oil and gas industry. On the steps, the Brunette Six read out parts of their court statements which expressed their love and concern for the environment and the future of future generations. One of the Six, Zane Haq gave an impassioned speech calling for more people to stand up because it was only when a mass of people get arrested that the government will change.

An overflow room was set up so people could listen in on the courtroom proceedings. Elizabeth posted at 3pm that Judge Fitzpatrick sentenced Jeannette, Ruth and Catherine to 14 days in prison. The other 3 would be sentenced on Tuesday.

UCVers at the courthouse: Cheryl Amundsen, Cynthia Lam, Elizabeth Dunn, Evelyn Pinkerton (W​​SAT), Hanno Pinder, Jane Kinegal, John Boyle, Karl Perrin, Katherine R, Leslie Kemp, Mairy Beam, Mary Lage, Melody Mason, Nan Gregory, Rob Dainow, Ron Gibson , Rory O’Brien, Rosey Cornell, Skye Richards, Tamiko Suzuki, Ursula Litzke, Yvonne Marcus, and Catherine Hembling.

 

Women’s Memorial March

A short time later, some ​UCV​ers joined a crowd of ​thousands at the ​Women’s Memorial March at Main and Hastings to bear witness to the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The stories that were told were unbearably sad and filled with so much pain. Some families have been looking for their mother, aunt, daughter or sister for  decades, fighting police and societal indifference, sexism and racism. ​Others have lost loved ones in the last few years showing that things have not changed​. One speaker’s words resonated with me when she said that the extractive industry and its assaults on the Earth were connected to the attacks on Indigenous women. The word ‘ecocide’ was used along with genocide. This reminded me of the Brunette Six who had spoken about how TMX was destroying the environment and contributing to the ultimate assault on our future, Climate Change. 

The march slowly walked their route through the DTES stopping at spots to drum and honour women who had died. Then we reached the intersection of Water St and Powell St and stopped in front of a group of young Indigenous activists who had thrown ropes around the statue of Gassy Jack Deighton. To the crowd’s frenzied cheering and drumming, they proceeded to pull the statue down, throw red paint on it and erect red dresses in its place. The statue had memorialized a  40 year old man who married a 12 year old Squamish child,  who made his money plying people with alcohol and whose name has been celebrated while hers has disappeared into obscurity. An Ode to Madeline Deighton. The anger was palpable as was the joy at the toppling of the statue which was one tiny act against a long history of racism and destruction. 

While some expressed discomfort with the destructive turn of events, there was no denying the impatience of the young to DO SOMETHING. It was just like Zane of the Brunette Six, who earlier had demanded we get out of our comfort zone and stand up. 

​UCVers at the Memorial March: Cynthia Lam, Hans Elfert, Hisako Masaki, Kiersten Moore, Leslie Kemp, Lynn Armstrong, Margo Elfert, Melody Mason, Nan Gregory, Nancy Barker, Skye Richards, Tamiko Suzuki, Yvonne Marcus.

 

Statement Condemning Violent RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory

The Vancouver Unitarians condemn the violent RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, including the arrest of over 30 unarmed land defenders and two journalists. The RCMP action is a direct violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories” (Article 10). In allowing this action, the BC and Canadian governments are abrogating their commitments to implement UNDRIP. The RCMP raid is also a violation of Canadian Supreme Court decisions, specifically Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, which affirms the Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership’s jurisdiction over traditional territory.

 

We stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and land defenders. We call on the government to drop all charges against the arrestees and respect Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ jurisdiction over their territories.

 

This statement aligns with UCV’s vision and our UU Principles:

Our Unitarian Principles and UCV’s vision call us to take action when we see injustice.

Issuance of a statement in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs aligns with four of the Unitarian principles. Specifically:

  • Principle 2: “Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations”
    • The militarized RCMP response against unarmed people is inhumane and unjustified.
  • Principle 6: “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all”
    • The government of British Columbia has approved legislation to implement The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). UNDRIP is a critical document that ensures Indigenous Peoples’ rights are respected including the right to live without persecution on their land. The RCMP raid, including arrests and burning of cabins, violates this commitment.
  • Principle 7: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part”
    • The actions taken by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters were to protect the land from devastation caused by the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline. Specifically, they are trying to preserve the water quality of the Wedzin Kwa which provides their drinking water and is their essential salmon habitat, and as such, is clearly connected to our interdependent web of existence.
  • Principle 8: “Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions”
    • Indigenous People routinely face disproportionate police violence and violations of their basic human rights. As a congregation that has committed to dismantling racism and systemic barriers, we must stand in solidarity with those  who are currently being oppressed.

 

Statement of UCV Vision: “Because we envision a more compassionate world, we seek to deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice”.

 

 

Taking Action: UCV contributes funding to supporting marginalized communities

Outreach Opportunities Fund donates $5000 to residential school survivors society 

From June to October of this year a portion of our Sunday collection was put aside for the important work of the IRSSS. It was the single biggest donation of the Outreach Opportunities Fund in the last 10 years. This is a modest contribution, and just one part of our commitment as an organization to dismantling racism and colonialism.

R&A Koerner Foundation Community Fund Award supports marginalized students at Langara College 

RAKFCF is funding a bursary programme for Langara College, comprising annual grants of $10,000 for three years for further education of marginalized youth in financial need, starting January 2022. One bursary of $2,000 each will be awarded to an Indigenous youth, an IBCOP youth, a youth with a disability and two bursaries of $2,000 each will be awarded to youths who are single parents.

Langara College will select students in accordance with its policies and procedures and the Langara College Foundation will administer the programme. Additional contributions to the RAKFCF’s bursary programme can be made by any person, society, or foundation: if any congregant would like to give additional funds to this programme, please contact Melody Mason.

Nov. 11: Let Peace Be Their Memorial – 6th Annual Ceremony

Join in a ceremony of remembrance for all the victims of war:

On November 11 at 2pm we will host the 6th annual “Let Peace Be Their Memorial” wreath-laying ceremony at the Sanctuary (949 W. 49th Ave.) 

Indoor seating will be limited, and masking and vaccination required.

Register to attend in-person here: https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/RemembranceDayNov11

The event will also be livestreamed at ucv.im/live and ucv.im/Nov11

Through an annual wreath ceremony and white lapel poppy campaign Vancouver Peace Poppies hopes to encourage Canadians to broaden their Remembrance Day focus:

  • to include the civilians who now make up 90% of conflict victims
  • to challenge the beliefs, values and institutions that make war seem inevitable
  • to urge our government to promote and fund effective non-military means of dispute
    resolution
White Poppies is an initiative for a more broadly focused Remembrance Day in Canada.

We want to encourage Canadians to broaden their Remembrance Day focus to include the civilians who now make up 90% of conflict victims; to challenge the beliefs, values and institutions that make war seem inevitable; and to urge our government to promote and fund effective non-military means of dispute resolution.

Seth Klein on A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency

Poster: Seth Klein on climate emergency

UCV Dialogues
Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis

Seth Klein the author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency will be the featured guest speaker in the Sanctuary Thursday, Oct. 28th at 7pm.

This Special Event will be the first in a new UCV-organized series Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis.

This is one of our first events open for limited in-person seating in the Sanctuary. To attend in person, book your spot now.

All the events in this series, including the event on Oct. 28th with Seth Klein, will be livestreamed on Youtube.

About the Speaker

Seth Klein is the Team Lead and Director of Strategy of the Climate Emergency Unit (a 5-year project of the David Suzuki Institute that Seth launched in early 2021). Prior to that, he served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is the author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (published in 2020) and writes a regular column for the National Observer.

About the Series

Every day we are reminded that we are in a climate emergency. Unprecedented heat waves, droughts, fires, extreme weather events, floods, refugees – the list goes on. Taken together with the current pandemic, it’s understandable that many of us feel frightened, overwhelmed, powerless. Where can we find the individual and collective strength to clearly face the truth of the emergency, mourn the damage being done to our blue planet, and inspire ourselves and others to action?

The Vancouver Unitarians are hosting a series of talks by prominent Canadians from faith, spiritual and secular backgrounds to support us in answering that question. They will educate, nourish, and inspire us, drawing on diverse faith and spiritual traditions including those of Indigenous peoples. They will delve into how these traditions and practices, and the values they represent, help them contend with the climate emergency and the actions they are taking. And, in this way, they will help us engage more effectively with the crisis and create our way forward to a sustainable future – for ourselves and our families, our communities, our nation, and for the health of our loved ones and our planet.

About the Format

The speaker series will be live-streamed from the campus of the Vancouver Unitarians before a small audience. The speakers will appear in person or virtually. Two Vancouver Unitarians will moderate the series – introducing the speakers, leading discussions after each talk, and providing continuity over the course of the full program. The series will include occasional panel discussions of key themes and learnings from what we heard.

Unitarian Church. It is recognized as a remarkable mid-twentieth century architectural legacy – a well-received spiritual gathering place and a civic gathering place for events in the arts, public affairs, and discourse on the issues of the day.


UCV Enviro Team is Now a Member of the West Coast Climate Action Network

Enviro Page  →  Enviro Team now a member of …

Poster for Public Launch of the West Coast Climate Action Network


Join us at the Public Launch of the West Coast Climate Action Network Tuesday October 5th, at 7pm

Everyone Welcome

Register on eventbrite
Our Launch will be Live-streamed on YouTube
You can also watch our launch on Facebook
For more info click here

text image: A request. We would really value your help in promoting our launch. You can help us by doing the following


You can cut and paste this text


Guest Speakers, Musicians and Poets


Many thanks,

We need each other.

Come join us at our launch on Tuesday!

Guy Dauncey, Co-Chair

West Coast Climate Action Network

I am honoured to live on the traditional territory of the Stz’uminus and Snuneymuxw First Nations

Ladysmith, BC

250-924-1445

Logo for West Coast Climate Action Network

Some Options for Action

Reversing the climate crisis

Study these resources and then choose some to act on:

Project DrawdownClimate Solutions by Sector

“Project Drawdown’s mission is to help the world reach “drawdown”—the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline, thereby stopping catastrophic climate change—as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible.”

82 Partial Solutions

All We Can Save Project  – a feminist initiative

   “Our mission: To nurture a welcoming, connected, and leaderful climate community, rooted in the work and wisdom of women, to grow a life-giving future.”

Discussion circles

Emotional and mental health support

 

Photo: Sky smoky from forest fires near Osoyoos, BC, summer 2018.

 

 

 

Dismantling racism

In British Columbia:

Donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society

In Canada:

  1. Ask the CUC Board and Staff to describe the work that is being planned  to advance the strategic priorities approved by delegates at the 8 May 2021 AGM in these four areas of social justice:
    – Truth, Healing and Reconciliation
    Dismantling racism

    – Climate justice
    – Refugee support
  1. Encourage the CUC to continue to implement its 2020 strategic priorities, notably
    – Advance social justice initiatives, including truth, healing, and reconciliation amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples
  1. Ask the CUC to invest more resources in support of anti-racist work.

Photo: Sculpture by Virgil Smoker Marchand at the Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, BC. 2018

IBPOC is back – Fall plans are underway

The IBPOC Caucus is back! (IBPOC = Indigenous, Black, People of Colour)

After taking a break for the summer months, the IBPOC (aka BIPOC) caucus is meeting again, feeling rejuvenated and ready for the Fall.

We are continuing to share our lived experiences of being IBPOC in a White society, which is the main focus of our group. We are also discussing what else we would like to do. Ideas include inviting in refugees, IBPOC artists, or social justice organizations as guest speakers, and working with our “IBPOC+Allies” group to put on congregation-wide events such as Heritage celebrations, film nights, and FUNdraisers.  (All in-person plans subject to the latest pandemic regulations of course).

October is Latin American Heritage Month.

Currently we have IBPOC members from UCV, Beacon, and North Shore congregations. We also have inquiries from Unitarians as far away as Victoria and Calgary. Some of our members have connected with the BIPOC caucus in Ontario and DRUUMM, the UUA People of Color Ministry and anti-racist collective in the US.  Zoom has been one of the bright spots in the Pandemic as it gave us the ability to bring individuals and small groups together despite the distance!

Get involved!

If you are a UU IBPOC and would like to join us, please contact Tamiko at bipoc@vancouverunitarians.ca

If you are not IBPOC but would like to support IBPOC events and initiatives, contact Derrick at moc@vancouverunitarians.ca and we’ll add your name to the IBPOC+Allies email group to be alerted when help is needed.

 

 

 

Prepare for Pride 2021

As Vancouver Pride approaches, you may be thinking of how to celebrate this year. 

The Vancouver Pride Parade is taking a decentralized approach this year, and we are going to be part of it! We’ll be gathering safely outdoors and doing our own mini Pride Parade around the UCV campus on Sunday, August 1, starting at 12:30 p.m. All members and friends are welcome to attend. Wear something colourful and/or creative – show your Pride however you feel like it!

We’d love to put rainbow colours all around our corner sign at 49th & Oak. We’d love to hear your ideas–and then get your help.  https://vancouverpride.ca/festival-parade/parade-entries/

Welcoming Congregation Recertification update

We’re almost there! 

To renew, a congregation has to already been certified (for us that was way back in 1995–one of the first) and do one worship service related to LGBTQ+ issues. Check!

A third requirement is to support an organization who works in this area. We’ve worked with Rainbow Refugee to support refugees, donated money from the Outreach Opportunities Fund and their founder Chris Morrissey will be speaking on Sunday, July 25. Check!

With a lot of support from Rev. Lara and the worship services committee, we’ve lifted up more than the required six “welcome days of observance.”  Check!

The next one is Non-Binary Day which is July 14th and that brings us to a request for assistance with our final requirement which is to offer an educational event that at least 10% of the members of the congregation attend.  So far 14 members (maybe more) have watched Mairy Beam’s play “What Difference Does It Make?” about coming out as non-binary and another 10 or so were at the panel discussion with cast and crew on June 12th. Could you please watch the play and the discussion and then complete a feedback form?  We need at least 30 members to watch and complete the form. 

Here are the links:

Play from Haven Theatre: YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQU6WT6Igs8 

Discussion: https://youtu.be/-t9IuuMu-mk

Then send an email to Debra at debrasutherland8@gmail.com and Debra will send you a link to the survey we need to ask for in order to complete the requirements. 

Forum: Sunday, July 11

What Does Non-Binary Mean? On July 11, Mairy Beam and other members of the GSA will host a forum after the worship service on what non-binary gender means. This is an “ask us anything” forum and we’ll share some anonymous polls to see what your questions are and respond to those. Sign in as soon as you have had your bio break after the service. This shortlink will take you there: ucv.im/gsa