Category: Social Justice

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

BYRC–a little about who we support

Vancouver Unitarians have donated $12,000 to the Broadway Youth Resource Center towards a Food Security program for youth and their families. The funds donated come from grants received from Vancouver Foundation’s Robert and Anna Koerner Foundation Community Fund. Here is a little more about BYRC and their work:

Check our webpost here for more information about the Food program, and visit the BYRC website.

Action Evenings

Learn Together, Act Together! 

On Wednesday evenings 7 – 8 pm via Zoom, we reflect together on significant issues of our times. Topics are curated and prepared in advance with videos, speakers, slideshows, and discussion points. This meeting offers a chance for shared learning, thoughtful dialogue, and the potential for collaboration for taking action.

All members and friends of UCV are welcome!

How to Join and What to Expect

Log in to our Zoom room ucv.im/action early from 6:45pm on Wednesday evenings as we start right at 7. 

After 8, you are welcome to stay for a while to chat about the topic and exchange ideas for action.

You are not required to have any prior knowledge of the topic.

Upcoming Events

No Events

Past Event Recordings on YouTube

Click to see AE playlist
Click on YouTube to see Action Evening Recordings

 

Past Events

Wed, Feb 24, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Who’s Afraid of Antiracism ..and Why? Who’s Afraid of Antiracism ..and Why?
Wed, Feb 17, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening R&R- Music as Restoration! Action Evening R&R- Music as Restoration!
Wed, Feb 10, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Are Refugees Good for Canada? Are Refugees Good for Canada?
Wed, Feb 3, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening - Whales, and the Revolution They Inspired to Protect Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Action Evening - Whales, and the Revolution They Inspired to Protect Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound
Wed, Jan 27, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Migrant Workers' Rights Migrant Workers' Rights
Wed, Jan 20, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Moving to Deeper Honesty in Housing and Homelessness Moving to Deeper Honesty in Housing and Homelessness
Wed, Jan 13, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Irreparable Harm? Irreparable Harm?
Wed, Jan 6, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action "R&R" Evening Action "R&R" Evening
Wed, Dec 16, 2020
7:00 pm
Action Evenings - Activist R&R - Adapting to a Covid Christmas Action Evenings - Activist R&R - Adapting to a Covid Christmas
Wed, Dec 9, 2020
7:00 pm
Action Evenings - Amnesty International's "Write for Rights" Campaign Action Evenings - Amnesty International's "Write for Rights" Campaign
Wed, Dec 2, 2020
7:00 pm
Action Evenings - “Eco Friendly Endings: The Green New Deal of Deathcare” Action Evenings - “Eco Friendly Endings: The Green New Deal of Deathcare”
Wed, Nov 25, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening - Genderfluid Book Reading Action Evening - Genderfluid Book Reading
Wed, Nov 18, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evenings - All Genders Welcome with Morgane Oger Action Evenings - All Genders Welcome with Morgane Oger
Wed, Nov 11, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Let Peace Be Their Memorial
Wed, Nov 4, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evenings - Permaculture and Compost Action Evenings - Permaculture and Compost
Wed, Oct 28, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evenings - Is Canada on the Verge of Developing the Political Will to End Homelessness? Action Evenings - Is Canada on the Verge of Developing the Political Will to End Homelessness?
Wed, Oct 14, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening - What Can We Do About Robert's Bank Terminal 2? Action Evening - What Can We Do About Robert's Bank Terminal 2?
Wed, Oct 7, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening - Saving the Salmon-Nourished Ecosystem of Our Coast
Wed, Sep 30, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening - Reconciliation is a Massive Failure
Wed, Sep 23, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening - Evolving Pathways of Nonviolence Action Evening - Evolving Pathways of Nonviolence
Wed, Sep 16, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evening - Changing From Food Charity to Food Dignity Action Evening - Changing From Food Charity to Food Dignity
Wed, Sep 9, 2020
6:45 pm - 8:00 pm
Action Evenings: What’s This About Tree Sitters?

 

Sign-Up for Updates and Reminders!

If you would like to sign-up to receive email reminders, meeting links, and updates about this recurring event, please sign up for the Action Evenings Updates below:

Keeping Our Ethical Base Strong – UCV & the World

At the UCV Partner Church Sunday Service on 22 Nov 2020 and at the subsequent forum on Unitarian Social Involvement in African Contexts we gathered together virtually with fellow Unitarians from Burundi and some of their supporters elsewhere in Canada. The connections UCV has had in this work are interesting. We’ve been meeting and corresponding with Rev Fulgence Ndagijimana for a number of years now, beginning with emails of support when he was imprisoned in Burundi and we joined other international voices of concern that helped have him released. He eventually made his way safely with his wife and son to Saskatoon as refugees, where he finalized some of his UU Ministry Association credentials, and established Flaming Chalice International (FCI), a Canadian Registered Charity. (That means Canadians can make donations directly to FCI and obtain a charitable donation receipt for income tax purposes.)

Rev Fulgence was the founder of the Burundian Unitarian Church in 2002 and is active in the International Council of Unitarian Universalist (ICUU). He recently moved from Saskatoon to Ottawa (“mon pays…c’est l’hiver!”) where there is a larger Burundian community. He remains active with FCI as well as supporting other community initiatives including the emerging Rutana Burundi / Vancouver Canada Partner Church Relationship.

This week, Rev Fulgence told me about a UU connection that I didn’t know about, namely, the support for Burundian community economic initiatives by Spirit in Action, (their slogan is “micro grants, major change”), an inter-denominational US-based charity that began in the mid twentieth century, and whose current Executive Director is Tanya Cothran, a Unitarian. Tanya lives part time in California and part-time in Toronto where she is a member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.  Tanya also served for several years as Treasurer of the Canadian Unitarian Council She travels regularly to Africa to meet with grant recipients and potential new recipients, and in 2017 she co-authored with Jennifer Lentfer the book Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

The deep message, for me, in these supportive connections is the value of our Unitarian Principles and Sources, particularly Principles #1, #2 and #6 which state:

“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”

I’ve intentionally included lots of links in this story (ten, I believe) to highlight the complex and surprising interdependent social and ethical web of which we are a part. That web needs on-going attention as old links end and new engagements emerge. That’s what steady organizations like Vancouver Unitarians, Toronto Unitarians, and the Canadian Unitarian Council provide. When we give to charities like FCI and SIA that provide direct support for people in need, whether they be refugees or people working hard to build better lives for themselves in their own countries, we should also remember to give, I believe, to some of the organizations that act to coordinate and facilitate that support. So—I hope you’ll donate to one of these boots-on-the-ground enterprises, and also to Vancouver Unitarians for our members, minister, and staff to use in
keeping our ethical base strong.

 

Photos:

Left – Tanya Cothran, Executive Director, Spirit in Action (SIA).

Top – Rev Fulgence Ndagijimana, Flaming Chalice International (FCI).

Trans Day of Remembrance – Nov 20

We will be acknowledging Trans Day of Remembrance on November 20th.

There are two events to mark in your calendars:

We are very happy to have Morgane Oger present on trans rights in the workplace for our November 18th Action Evening: All Genders Welcome

In addition, for our November 25th Action Evening, Glenn Deefholts will read from his recently published book Genderfluid: A Way of Being

Please click the links above for the action evenings Zoom link and additional information about our speakers. See you there!

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Our UCV Board approved a motion that Vancouver Unitarians become a signatory to a national campaign calling for a fundamental reassessment of Canadian foreign policy. Our federal government is widely criticized for it’s continuing support for controversial mining companies, indifference to International treaties, anti-Palestinian positions, climate policies and militarism. And, this may be why Canada lost two consecutive efforts to gain a seat on the UN Security Council. Big thanks to the Environment Team for bringing this motion to the Board.
 
Here is a link to the campaign where you may sign on as an individual. And here is more information about the campaign for endorsers.

Sign your name to support this campaign:

Endorser Guide:

Wild Salmon Rallies and Street Theatre — Sept 2020

Contact the Enviro Team | Join the Enviro Email Group

Above: Rally and street theatre outside the offices of the DFO in downtown Vancouver calling for an end to fish farms in the Discovery Islands

From the constituency office of Liberal MP Terry Beech, to a Wild Salmon Die-in outside the DFO, the Wild Salmon Action Team joined a call by one hundred and one BC First Nations to remove fish farms in the Discovery Islands

(more…)

Anti-Racism Resources

In recent days, we have witnessed a surge of public response in support of Black Lives Matter as well as a call to uplift and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of lives that are continually devalued in racist systems. As Unitarians, we are committed to justice, equity, and compassion in all human relations. With this in mind, it is important for us to take accountability seriously and look deeply into the ways racism shows up in our local communities, in our congregation, and indeed within ourselves.

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver knows that antiracism is in alignment with our Seven Principles, we are committed to racial justice and equity and strive to be antiracist. On June 3rd, our Board released a statement which can be read here. As well, the UUA held a #wecantbreathe prayer vigil which can be viewed here. However, we also know that words are simply not enough and it is only through consistent effort and action as a community, that we can ensure we are diligent in our efforts to contribute to lasting change and justice.

Below is a beginning list of resources from various angles for us to use in our anti-racism efforts to learn about dismantling systems of oppression wherever they appear. If you would like to add resources to a permanent “Antiracism Learning” page please email communications@vancouverunitarians.ca

Anti-Racism Statements and Resources

Unitarian Universalist Statements

  1. Statement on Anti-Racism from the UCV Board
  2. Canadian Unitarian Council Statement on Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour
  3. Black Lives Matter Statement by Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
  4. A pastoral letter to Black UUs by Rev. Lauren Smith in UU World, 6/4/2020
  5. Stop Calling the Police and Start Eradicating Anti-Blackness UUA statement and call to action, with links. June 2, 2020
  6. An Awful, Magnificent Truth by Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel in UUA’s Braver/Wiser Inspiration
  7. UUA Prayer Vigil #wecantbreate YouTube Video

Vancouver-Based Mental Health and Self-Care Resources for BIPoC Congregants and Friends

  1. Black Lives Matter Vancouver has a detailed and comprehensive list of legal, community, mental health and wellness services here
  2. Healing in Colour provides a list of therapists who have agreed to a statement of values
  3. Mental Health Issues Facing the Black Community free health guide from Sunshine Behavioural Health
  4. Alica Forneret provides mental health by and for PoC
  5. Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society provides inclusive, accessible, and culturally-based healthcare and social services.

Ally Learnings for White Congregants and Friends

  1. Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
  2. The 8th Principle project of Unitarian Universalism
  3. Black Lives UU Spiritual Subscription Box
  4. The Church of the Larger Fellowship an American UU congregation “without walls”
  5. Resources based on your current stage of racial identity development

Anti-Racist Parenting

  1. Antiracist Education Resources compiled by Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  2. “How To Be An Antiracist Parent” recording from Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  3. Resource roundup for parents
  4. Anti-racism resources for white people and for parents to raise anti-racist children
  5. Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids from the Center for Racial Justice in Education
  6. The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story pushing awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers.
  7. A fabulous list of children’s ebooks from the VPL called “Stand Up! Racial Identity, Racism, and Resistance for Grades K-7”

Canadian General Anti-Racist Resources

  1. Systemic Racism Explained in under 5 minutes
  2. The Story of Slavery in Canadian History at the Canadian Human Rights Museum
  3. The Canadian federal government page of anti-racism resources
  4. Vancouver Mutual Aid Organizations and Resource List
  5. Black Lives Matter Vancouver 
  6. Feminists Deliver: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada (video: a panel of 8 Canadian Women of Colour)
  7. The University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Reading List

Books

“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
—Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.)

 

 

 

CUC May 2020 National Conference & AGM Highlights

Featured image – Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Toronto; co-leader with Rev Wayne Walder of a cross-Canada ceremony of remembrance, We are together, at the national gathering on 17 May 2020.

*12 more photos at the end of this post!

CUC eNews Coverage here.

CUC May 2020 National Conference Highlights

  • Video of the CUC Cross Canada Sunday Service One Storm, Many Ships
    (edited video, 90 minutes). The wonderful story for children of all ages read by Kiersten Moore has been deleted from the saved video pending copyright approvals from Disney.
  • CUC 2019 Annual Report (pdf document, 56 pages)
    The annual report is full of information about CUC’s work and how you might participate. It’s very worthwhile reading!
  • Attendance at 4 meetings via Zoom & YouTube: 150, 170, 200, 1,000
    (Numbers are approximate because more than one person may have been on one connection and some people had more than one connection!) Details of events follow.
  • If you’re interested in participating in these events in the future, contact the UCV UU Connections Committee – currently Keith Wilkinson, Lynn Armstrong, Kiersten Moore, & Emilie Adin. Text or phone Keith at 604-838-5643 or Lynn at 778-835-2546 or watch for a newly updated UCV Directory of Small Groups, Committees, and Teams, anticipated soon!

Plenary sessionThurs 14 May 2020, 150 participants; informal discussion of the resolutions being presented at the Sat AGM.

Gathering CeremonyFri, 15 May 2020, 170 participants, virtual banner parade with photos sent from many congregations across Canada, with music added, assembled by Amber Bellemare in Montreal.

Cross Canada Service – Sun, 17 May 2020, 1,000 participants, four ministers, many musicians and singers
Video available on CUC’s YouTube channel.

Annual General MeetingSat, 16 May 2020, 200 participants (97 delegates, 100 observers, 45 congregations)
See the CUC Annual Report for details.

  • Reviewed CUC’s expected investment performance with the investments manager;
    (investments at the end of Dec 2019 were valued at $6.1 million);
  • Approved an operating budget of $812,000 (compare this to UCV at $600,000);
  • Approved changes in procedures for electing board members;
  • Elected new board members;
  • Approved 2020-21 goals and strategic priorities;
  • Responded to questions about the International Council of Unitarians and Univeralists (ICUU) conference still scheduled for Montreal in October 2020;
  • Received reports regarding a few of the many initiatives outlined in the Annual Report:
    • Youth and Young Adults (Annual Report, pp 23-26)
      plus CazUUm – CUC youth zoom conference (34 participants)
    • Truth Healing and Reconciliation Initiative (Annual Report, pp 29-31)
    • Social Justice Action (Annual Report, pp 26-28)
    • Dismantling Racism (Annual Report, p 35)
    • Polyamory Task Force (Annual Report, pp 36-55 – the full 19-page report from the task force on this complex subject, including recommendations for the CUC.)
  • Celebration of special awards:
    • Sharing our Faith Awards – Awards to support emerging programs in several congregations (Durham, Mississauga, Edmonton)
    • Northern Lights Award – support for a major initiative, this year for Northwest Toronto Co-housing Project (involving Unitarian fellowship of Northwest Toronto)
    • Shining Lights Award – for new innovative programs (see CUC website for details)
    • Theological Education Fund Award – Co-sponsored by CUC and UUMOC (UU Ministers of Canada) for support of ministerial students (grants made to two ministerial students ths year)
    • Knight Award – Awarded to Rev Frances Deverell for dedicated service on social justice issues including work with the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice CUSJ
    • See the above links or email the CUC office for more details about any of the CUC award programs.

 

Some screen shots from the CUC Canada-wide Virtual Service, Sun 17 May 2020  

(Google the congregational web sites for more images and information!)

Sunday Service Leaders:

Rev Norm Horofker, Halifax Universalist Unitarians

Rev Karen Fraser Gitlitz, Saskatoon Unitarians

Rev Meghann Robern, Winnipeg Unitarian Universalists

Rev Wayne Walder, Neighbourhood Unitarian Fellowship, Toronto

Rev Samaya Oakley, South Fraser Unitarians, Surrey BC

Spoken Word

Taz Trefzger, Hamilton Unitarians & 2020 CazUUm Co-Dean

Carter Mahoney, Peterborough Unitarians, Young Adults Ensemble

Wonderful singers and musicians from across the country

Halifax, Peterborough, Toronto, Vancouver…

James Morris (guitar), Halifax, playing Making Waves, composed for the occasion.

Peterborough Unitarians – Spirit of Life (Mark, Julie, Katherine, Stephira, Ben, Linda)

Vancouver Unitarians Elliott and Edgar playing work by Cape Breton’s Allistair MacGillivray

James Hill teaching us the ukulele “peace chord”.

Vancouver Unitarians Choir Leads: Beth, Erin, Bryan, Gavin
leading Canadian Unitarians in Blue Boat Home.

 

UCV Supports “A Just Recovery For All”

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver has just joined an alliance of nearly 240 organizations that have come together to develop key principles for a “Just Recovery for All” from the COVID-19 pandemic. As governments begin to make plans for recovery, organizations are joining together to send a message that we cannot return to the old “normal”. Now is the time to imagine a better future.

 The principles below were informed by a month of consultations with over 200 groups and individuals across Canada by https://justrecoveryforall.ca/

You can see the full text and sign on to the principles using this form: https://forms.gle/TYrkQtzVkGcYETVb8

Outreach Opportunities Fund Update

Outreach Opportunity Fund Recipients (Feb-June)
 
Normally, the Outreach Opportunity Fund (OOF) donates a portion of the Sunday service collections to a registered charity over a four month period. Given the current circumstances, the OOF Committee took the decision to send a cheque for $2,000 to the current recipient, the Aboriginal Mother Centre (AMC), in mid-April rather than wait until the end of May. The funds are urgently needed to assist AMC extend its outreach services during this covid-19 crisis.
Even though OOF donations have decreased over the past few weeks due to having virtual services, we still found that there were sufficient funds in our OOF  account to offer an additional $2,000 to another recipient. Our focus was on the Downtown Eastside (DTES), given the critical situation the homeless and other vulnerable groups are facing in that community. The Committee decided to award the funds to PHS Community Services Society to help meet the demand for more meals in the DTES as so many kitchens have closed down because of covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, we will continue to ask congregants to send in their donations to OOF to replenish our fund. A new recipient will be selected for the four month period beginning in June. All contributions are gratefully received. Donate Here