Category: Social Justice

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

Outreach Opportunities Fund – New Recipient

The new Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient for October to January will be Sole Food. During the past seven years, Sole Food Street Farms―now North America’s largest urban farm project―has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land in Vancouver into street farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables.  It has empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources and addiction and chronic mental health problems by providing jobs, training, and community support.

 

Visit their website here https://solefoodfarms.com/

All Candidates Meeting – Oct 5, 2019 – UCV

 

Vancouver Unitarians hosted a successful and well-attended All Candidates Meeting on Sat Oct 5thin preparation for the 2019 Federal Election. Five of six candidates from the Vancouver-Granville riding (in which UCV is located) attended, representing the GPC, LPC, NDP and PPC as well as Independent JWR (current MP); the CPC candidate declined to attend.

The ACM was held in the Sanctuary from 7:00-9:00 pm, moderated with clear and articulate focus by Diane Brown. Cecilia Point provided a powerful Musqueam Welcome followed by a UCV Welcome from our Minister Reverend Stephen Epperson. Candidates and audience (approximately 250) respected the rules of procedure and decorum, including candidates speaking one at a time and within prescribed time frames – and no heckling from audience! There was very positive response to this format!

Candidates responded to prepared questions on the Climate Crisis, Indigenous Peoples, Refugees, and the Trans Mountain Expansion. This was followed by questions from the audience covering a variety of topics including: electoral reform; safe drugs and the overdose epidemic; fossil fuel subsidies; homelessness and the economy; the environment and the economy; Indigenous rights; taxing billionaires; and voting by conscience versus the party line.

Candidates met with the public in the Hewett Hall alcove for a half hour before and after the ACM. Candidates set up information tables, responded to questions and engaged in lively discussion! Candidate contact information was available to the public for any questions not answered during the evening.

Environment and Social Justice team members organized the ACM, with leadership and impeccable attention to detail provided by Karl Perrin. Thanks to the many who stepped forward with their particular expertise and timely dedication!

Here is a link to the Oct 5th All Candidates Meeting at UCV – with thanks to Marie Witt and videographer August.

https://youtu.be/IenG7r2Ou5s

 

Vancouver Unitarians Join Sept 27 Global Climate Strike

Unitarians from all four Greater Vancouver congregations – including three Unitarian ministers – gathered under the Vancouver Unitarians banner at the start of the Global Climate Strike in Vancouver on Sept. 27, 2019. The event was organized by students and we proudly joined with 10s of thousands of them to fill the length of Cambie Street on our way through downtown Vancouver to the CBC building at West Georgia and Hamilton streets.

It was exhilarating – and reassuring – to be a part of this massive mobilization of Canadians.

Police estimated that 100,000 people participated – perhaps the largest march ever in Vancouver.

10s of thousands at City Hall for Sept 27 Climate Strike

 

Would you like to join us for future rallies, marches and activities? Learn more about our team here or contact environment@vancouverunitarians.ca

Refugee committee update

An update from our Refugee Committee
  • Two refugees received their Canadian citizenship recently. This was very moving as they were Palestinians and stateless their whole life.
  • One Syrian family of three (mom, dad and 3 year old daughter) are finishing their sponsorship year. The father is working. They are continuing their English lessons.
  • We have sent applications for an Iraqi family of four
  • And for one young Iranian LGBT woman refugee in Turkey and one Iranian LGBT young man.
  • We are waiting for the arrival of Jean, a Unitarian Burundian refugee in Rwanda but we do not know when.
  • We also welcomed four single young Eritrean refugees in Israel this year. They are all working in the daytime and learning English in the evening‎.
  • The four young Eritrean‎ men refugees in Israel who arrived at the beginning of last year have completed their sponsorship year at the beginning of 2019. They are all working full time.
  • We are preparing an application for a single mom and her young daughter from Iran refugees in Turkey who have family in Vancouver.
If we get extra spaces we will be preparing applications for a family of five and a family of four‎ as long as we can raise the necessary funds.
– from Huguette.
See also the group that Paul Prescod is involved with supporting.
Stop by the Refugee Committee‘s fundraising table any Sunday or contact the committee to support, donate or ask questions.

Genders – a new discussion group

Our Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) is pleased to announce a new group forming.

Gender is an important aspect of our lives, whether we know it or not.  We often live in some relationship to gender roles that are expected of men or women; sometimes we spend our lives breaking free of the conditioning that supports these roles and expectations.

Our sense of what it means to be a man, woman or other gender is usually shaped by key people in our lives as we grow up: parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers, and role models in popular culture.

The gender discussion group will give each of us a place to share the influences on our gender identity and expression. We will explore whether our models were sufficient for us: both how they were and how they were not.

Participants will be invited to tell stories about their journeys involving gender identity and expression – how these were shaped and how they are continuing to evolve. What have been some of the challenges and some of the victories?

The facilitator is Glenn Deefholts, an English instructor at Langara College, who has been teaching for twenty-five years. Glenn also leads the monthly singing group. 

The GSA is also looking at possible VIFF films to attend and a play Trans Scripts at the Firehall Arts Centre in the new year.

As we have for the past year, we’ll also host a potluck dinner before the January and June Out in Harmony Concerts.

Contact gsaucv@gmail.com if you’d like to know more about our group and our gatherings.

Outreach Opportunity Fund Nominations

Every year, the OOF Committee selects three recipients to be given 25% of the funds from the Sunday collection. The Committee would welcome nominations from individuals or a group in the congregation for the next recipient of OOF funding. Nominated organizations must comply with the selection criteria: priority is given to local organizations undertaking social justice, refugee support and settlement and environment sustainability, with a focus on vulnerable or marginalized communities. For more information go the UCV website, or check the notice board in Hewett Hall for nomination forms.

Please click below to fill in form.

OOF Nomination form

You can submit the form to Melody Mason or leave it in the OOF mail box in the UCV office.

Contact Melody Mason with any queries.

Prepare for Pride – Info Table and Photo Booth

Prepare for Pride

Drop-in to the Genders and Sexualities Alliance table to prepare for Pride. In the courtyard before and after the service.

You can

  • paint a rainbow on a rock
  • take a selfie in front of our Welcoming congregation banner
  • pick up the GSA brochure and rainbow book mark
  • add your preferred pronouns to your name tag
  • get a rainbow or trans button or bracelet – by donation
  • check out new Welcoming Congregation mugs
  • ask anything at all

UCVs Genders and Sexualities Alliance was formed in the summer of 2018.

In the past year, we’ve

  • had two potlucks at UCV prior to attending the Out in Harmony choir concert (January and June)
  • hosted a forum with representatives from Qmunity
  • two other potluck/discussion/planning sessions
  • planned a worship service with Lorimer Shenher
  • created GSA brochure and worked with Communications team on principles bookmark
  • hosted a film screening of She’s a Boy I Knew
  • developed our group to include liaisons from other Metro Vancouver Unitarian congregations.

64 Red Dresses – Thank You!

Thank you to all who contributed red dresses and cash! A total of 64 red dresses were collected from UCV members or purchased from thrift stores using donations by UCV members.

These dresses were delivered to the BC Union of Indian Chiefs and will be hung along the Trans Mountain pipeline route in Sepwecemc territory.

This red dress collection drive at UCV  was sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and supported by the Environment Team and other individuals.

Background on Honour the Women Project:

The recently released report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls states that there is a correlation between resource extraction and violence against Indigenous women and girls. Work camps/man camps built for resource extraction projects are implicated in higher rates of violence against Indigenous women at the camps and neighbouring communities.

At the Stop Trans Mountain Pipeline rally at Creekside Park on June 9, 2019, Doreen Manuel, Secwepemc Nation film maker, and sister of the late Chief Arthur Manuel, announced that she is collecting red dresses (the symbol of missing and murdered Indigenous women) for her “Honour the Women project”. She will hang red dresses along the route of the pipeline in Secwepemc Territory both as an art installation and as a reminder to all who the victims are.

For more information about this project, please contact Doreen Manual at: honourthewomen@gmail.com

Youth Taking Action with Rallies for CBC Leaders’ Debate on Climate

Vancouver Unitarians rallied once again in support of climate justice. This time it was on July 17 at CBC Vancouver. The rally was organized by Our Time, a national campaign of young people, in order to push the CBC to broadcast a federal leaders’ debate focused on climate change and a Green New Deal for Canada (see The Pact for a Green New Deal

What would a Green New Deal for Canada look like?
A cohort of over 30 young persons led the rally with speeches, songs, and cheers.
We were several hundred in Vancouver and we were joined by many hundreds more in over 20 cities across Canada.
We were proud to stand with these committed and inspiring young people.

Vancouver Unitarians standing with the youth leading the July 17 rally to get a CBC federal leaders’ debate on climate and the Green New Deal

https://our-time.ca/gnd/

A Green New Deal for All – Cross Canada Tour in Vancouver

At least ten Vancouver Unitarians were among the 350 person sell-out crowd on June 21 at the Canadian Memorial Church to participate in the Vancouver stop of the Green New Deal for All cross-Canada tour.

All the presenters were passionate, well informed, and inspiring. It was a great event, part of the grass roots movement that started with over 150 town hall meetings across Canada – including a full house event with about 100 people at UCV on May 24.

Support for the Green New Deal (GND) is rising up across this country with the intention to become a powerful voice in the coming federal election.

The entire Green New Deal for All event was videotaped and is available online here. The table below shows the time for each presentation to help you navigate through this nearly 3 hour long video.

Intro slides 00 – 7:15
MC Anjali Appadurai 07:15 – 9:00
Chief Reuben George, Manager of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative 9:00 – 18:40
Green New Deal video 18:40 – 21:00
Anjali remarks 21:00 – 26:40
Youth-led chant 26:40 – 41:20
David Suzuki 41:20 – 1:04:30
Kanahus Manuel, Indigenous activist and spokesperson for the Tiny House Warriors 1:04:30 – 1:24:00
Harsha Walia, outspoken South Asian activist and writer, graduate of UBC Law 1:24:50 – 1:45:10
Youth-led chant 1:45:10 – 1:47:30
Kim Mortel, poet, spoken word artist, singer 1:47:30 – 2:10:10
Avi Lewis, Co-Founder (with spouse Naomi Klein) and Strategic Director, The LEAP 2:10:10 – 2:42:35
Presenters’ tribute 2:42:35 – 2:44:00