Justice Ministry is Widening the Circle

Justice Ministry is Widening the Circle

Last night Sandburg Hall was buzzing with conversation during a speed dating exercise.

Participants were asked to share about their experiences engaging in justice work to
support voting rights and democracy. As we debriefed the exercise there was a common thread of seeking others with similar values and diverse ways to work towards a massive voter turnout November 2024. Comments were made about moving away from fear and despair through collective efforts to get out the vote and build relationships with those outside our circles. That is what was happening at our gathering organized in partnership with Carolina Jews for Justice(CJJ) community organizer Lisa Forehand, Congregation Beth HaTephila Voting Rights lay leader Sam Hausfather and our UU the Vote lead Joanne Fox. By the end of our meeting, everyone left having met at least two new people who share their passion for voting rights and with a commitment to explore one of the various ways they can engage. At our next meeting (Date TBA; consider joining in!) we will follow up for updates and form groups interested in similar activities: canvassing, registering voters, post carding, etc. If you are interested in canvassing the next WNC Votes nonpartisan canvassing is this Sat. April 20. Details here. A few quotes from participants:

“Friends, if you’re looking for a place to be effective in the next election, this is it.”
Margaret McAllister

“I am thrilled to be collaborating in the Get Out the Vote Efforts our congregations can take on together here in Western North Carolina.  Just like we did here at UU Asheville, CBHT voted on which social justice issues should be their priorities and they came up with the same top 3 issues: Voting Rights, Reproductive Justice and Climate Justice.  At the statewide level, Rev. Lisa Garcia-Sampson, Director of UU Justice NC is meeting
weekly and planning NC UU the Vote strategy alongside a leader for CJJ in Raleigh so it feels like we are doing the same on a local level. “
Joanne Fox

Here is a video describing the collaboration and work being done in partnership by CJJ and UU Justice NC, our UU the Vote partner. Don’t forget to check out our resource document with ways to get involved in getting out the vote. It is updated weekly and featured in the e-news.

Another way our justice ministries are widening the circle is by being informed and responsive to the issues affecting our community. At this month’s Justice Ministry Council a request by the WNC People’s Power Coalition asking City Council to do better for our workers and families. They need affordable housing, racial justice, true democracy, and living wages. The petition asks the city to adopt a People’s Budget that prioritizes these critical issues:
1) Pay Asheville City Workers a Living Wage of at least $22.10/hr
2) Fund the Recommendations from the Asheville Reparations Commission
3) Start a City of Asheville Emergency Rental Assistance Program
4) Devote resources to start a Participatory Budgeting process

I invite you to read the petition, consider attending and possibly making a public comment before the council.

May 14 — the Budget Draft will be proposed at the City Council meeting; council meetings begin at 5pm
May 28 — Public Hearing on the Budget  You can attend in person or join virtually at: https://publicinput.com/k4405

With gratitude for the possibilities of widening the circle and nurturing relationships so that our collective voices can move us closer to a community where all can thrive and live to their potential.

Rev. Claudia Jiménez
Minister of Faith Development