Category: Social Justice

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

CUC National Voice Statement, February 2020

The recent RCMP raids of Wet’suwet’en land defenders in northwestern British Columbia has provoked widespread rallies, blockades and protests, world-wide media coverage, public statements by First Nations, politicians, industry, labour, and the public.  In view of these developments, we think it timely and important to restate the initial position taken by the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) on January 10, 2019:

CUC Pledges Solidarity with ​Wet’suwet’en

“The Canadian Unitarian Council has joined thousands of organizations and individuals pledging solidarity with the ​Wet’suwet’en​ Hereditary Chiefs, who are blocking the development of a Coastal GasLink pipeline on their traditional territories in northwestern British Columbia: 

  1. WE COMMEND the courage and vision of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their community of activists.   
  2. WE ARE WATCHING across the province, country and internationally.   
  3. WE DENOUNCE any attempt by Coastal GasLink Pipeline, the federal government, provincial government or RCMP to interfere in the rights of the Wet’suwet’en to occupy, manage or maintain their lands.   
  4. WE URGE that any and all actions taken by the federal and provincial government, industry, and policing agencies must be consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Anuk Nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en laws) and collective Title. 
  5. WE PLEDGE support to the frontline land defenders and affirm the collective hereditary governance of the Wet’suwet’en who are enforcing Wet’suwet’en laws on their unceded lands.”

Obviously, the situation has continued to evolve since last year. We recognise this is a complex matter and many of us bring strong opinions and passionate voices to the conversation—given our Unitarian Universalist principles and history, that is how it should be. We recognise, as well, quoting the Afro-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, that “if there is no struggle, there is no progress” for “power concedes nothing without a demand.”

While we reaffirm the January 10, 2019 CUC Statement pledging solidarity with Wet’suwet’en, we urge Canadian Unitarian Universalists to reflect on how we live our faith and convictions when interests and constituencies are polarized.  We urge each other to live our principles.  May our actions be guided by respect for each other’s dignity, by compassion and empathy, by the voice of conscience and reason, by a desire for justice and equity, and by a deep respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

We urge Canadian Unitarian Universalists to read and become familiar with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—our nation is a signatory to this Declaration; many of its articles clarify and promote the work of reconciliation and de-colonialisation which we dare hope is still alive in Canada today and will be for generations to come.

“Red Paper” published by the Yellowhead Institute

Please join the Reconciliation Working Group’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, January 29th at 10:30 in the Family Room. . We’ll be discussing the new “Red Paper” published by the Yellowhead Institute in Oct ’19. All are welcome. For info and to RSVP, please contact Lynn Armstrong or 778-835-2546.

More info about the “Red Paper”

1) Preface:
2) Full report:
3) Royal Proclamation of 1763:

New Outreach Opportunities Fund Recipient, Aboriginal Mother Centre

The Outreach Opportunities Fund Committee has selected a new recipient, the Aboriginal Mother Centre (AMC). It is dedicated to taking at risk mothers and children off the streets by providing housing  in 16 suites for mothers and up to three children under nine years old. The Centre is able to offer all the support, tools and resources a mother needs to regain and retain her child. These resources include counselling, advocacy, education, training, and spiritual and social support. AMC also carries out homelessness outreach, a family wellness program, licensed daycare and a community kitchen. Nominated by a congregant, AMC will receive funding from the Sunday Collections starting 1 February.

The Social Justice annual report is now available

Working towards social justice is a core value of Unitarians so most of us are involved in some way with action to promote democracy, high quality public health services, affordable housing, peace, human rights, fair trade, ethical investing, elimination of poverty, solidarity with indigenous peoples or other significant issues of our times.

Please read the full annual report of the UCV Social Justice Committee here:
SJC Annual Report 2019

Refugee committee update

An update from our Refugee Committee – December 27, 2019
  • The refugee committee continues its efforts to bring people to safety.
  • Jean B who has been attending our services regularly as a Unitarian is finally settled ,sharing a 2 bedrooms suite in Surrey with Jean Pierre a friend .They are both working full time at Amazone in delta.J B is registered for English classes .He is already at level 4 which means he has already a significant knowledge of English.
  • We were given 10 spaces for the last few months of  2019 to apply for sponsorships. We proceeded immediately to have a Syrian family of 5 plus their friend to apply . We have been accepted as their sponsor.
  • We also put an application for 3 Eritrean single young men and we also have been accepted as their sponsors.This is the first step for the file to go to the required embassies abroad (Aman and Tel Aviv respectively).
  • We had one spot left and we are sending an application for one young Syrian man refugee in the Emirates.
This complete our allocations given for this year to us as a New SAH (Sponsorship Agreement Holder). In 2020, we will be receiving some allocations. We do not know yet how many but we have to start fund raising if we are to continue bringing people to safety. It requires $16,500 for one individual to support them for one year which is what we are required to do minus some deductions if furniture etc.. is donated.
We are going to need everyone support in this endeavour. Julia has a table at church every Sunday.We will organize some events during the year. Everyone is welcome to bring their ideas and join the fund raising spearheaded by Catherine Stewart. We have wonderful refugee committee members dedicated .We welcome anybody who wants to join or know more about what we are doing.
For 2020, we would like to be able to bring our Unitarian Burundians refugees in Rwanda who are in a very precarious situation and precarious safety as the militia cross the border easily to target them .We have been recommended by Fulgence, Burundian refugee Reverend in Saskatoon who is now a permanent resident of Canada.
You can also always make donations to the Sheilah Thompson Refugee Fund in which case you will receive a tax receipt.
Thank you for all your help. A very special  thank you to Karen Brumelle who donated her art and raised funds for the refugee committee.
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.

Preview: Art for Refugees on Twitter

Art for Refugees is a silent auction of artwork by Karen Brumelle with all proceeds to the refugee committee. The art is on display in the Fireside room from December 1 to 22.

Preview: Art for Refugees (@UnitarianUCV) – click on that link to see tweets with images of art for sale in the silent auction. (You do not need a Twitter account for this.) Twitter may crop images, so always click on an image displayed with a tweet to be sure you see all of it.

The image featured in this post is displayed with this tweet.

An image of another painting in the silent auction is displayed with this tweet.

And you can scroll through all such tweets to preview some of the art on sale in Fireside.

Come view the actual artwork and write your first bids when the exhibit opens on December 1.

You can review bids and bid or rebid on any day. Bidding closes at 12:15 pm on December 22.

Support the wonderful work of the refugee committee – get some art for yourself or as a gift.


notes and links

featured image from silent auction

artist’s website:

in these notes, DuckDuckGo bang commands (!?) link to search results for words they follow when the commands are in parentheses, for words they precede when they are not:

!ucv refugee committee / a search on the UCV website

!tw “Art for Refugees” (@UnitarianUCV) / a search on Twitter

the Merriam-Webster definition of a silent auction (!mw) notwithstanding, the written bids in Art for Refugees are not sealed but displayed with the art

Gift bags for Mothers Offering Mentorship and Support Program

MOMS (Mothers Offering Mentorship and Support) is supporting struggling young people in East Vancouver.

The programs run by MOMS, located at Grandview Church, make an incredible difference in the lives of those experiencing poverty, social isolation, familial instability, and health challenges. In past years, MOMS has organized the “Coldest Night Walk” to raise money, but this year MOMS will hand out Christmas bags.

UCV has been asked to help prepare  gift bags filled with daily necessities, like grooming and food items, or even with some toys. MOMS is hoping for about 20 bags, big or small.

Here is a list of items that may be placed in the bags:

  • toiletries,
  • candles,
  • scarves/gloves,
  • coffee gift cards,
  • small games,
  • stamps and greeting cards,
  • tea towels,
  • simple jewellery, or
  • chocolates.

The bags will be collected by Ursula on the Sundays Dec. 8 and Dec.15, before and after the service in Hewett Hall.

MOV Exhibit: There is Truth Here: Creativity and Resilience in Children’s Art from Indian Residential and Day Schools.

Check out the Museum of Vancouver exhibit: There is Truth Here: Creativity and Resilience in Children’s Art from Indian Residential and Day Schools. Four UCV’ers accepted an invitation from Canadian Memorial to join a dozen others at the exhibit Nov 26 for an explanatory talk by the curator, Dr Andrea Walsh. All found it a powerful, deeply moving experience.

More information about the exhibit:

April 5, 2019 – January, 2020
There is Truth Here: Creativity and Resilience in Children’s Art from Indian Residential and Day Schools.
There is Truth Here focuses on rare surviving artworks created by children who attended the Inkameep Day School (Okanagan), St Michael’s Indian Residential School (Alert Bay); the Alberni Indian Residential School (Vancouver Island) and Mackay Indian Residential School (Manitoba). The focus of the exhibition is not on the schools themselves, but upon witnessing the experiences of the survivors as conveyed through their childhood artworks – for some the only surviving material from their childhoods.

Are you worried about overdose deaths? Forum in January will address what more can be done about harm reduction.

According to the latest figures for 2019, there were 2.6 drug toxicity deaths every day in BC.

This horrifying number is despite there being Overdose Prevention Sites, mobile needle exchange programs, the Insite program for treatment of drug users, and other services. If you want to know more about what can be done, come to the Social Justice forum on January 12, to hear Micheal Vonn, CEO of Portland Housing Society (PHS)

She will be discussing the Society’s harm reduction programs and further actions she would like to be taken to reduce the number of deaths and provide treatment and other services to drug addicts. Micheal has recently been appointed CEO of PHS and was previously the Policy Director for BC Civil Liberties Society. Prior to that she worked on developing BC’s HIV/AIDS program.


Support Sole Food Street Farms

The 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