Buncombe County Bd of Elections Needs VOLUNTEERS!

There is a pressing need for volunteers to help create ballot packets to be mailed out to absentee voters. The Board of Elections already has thousands of Absentee Ballot requests and not nearly enough staff to do the job. The shifts will be 9-12n or 1:30-4:30pm each weekday.

The task requires focus on detailed precise work – repetitive, time-consuming stuff, and incredibly important! Ideally, they’re looking for folks who can commit to certain shifts weekly but any help will be welcome. They are looking for help ASAP, as they will start creating the mailings today, with “packets in the mail” to begin September 4.  Interested volunteers should contact Kaylea Noce at 828-250-4216 or Kaylea.noce@buncombecounty.org

UU the Vote-Keep Going!!!

MORE POSTCARDS TO WRITE   We’re on a roll!  In June, UUCA volunteers wrote 1,000 postcards, joining our partners Forward Together, Reclaim Our Vote and the NAACP in reaching out to 8,000 disenfranchised NC voters, encouraging them to confirm their voter registration status in preparation for the 2020 election. In July we plan to double our efforts with a goal of sending 2,000 postcards to residents of our own WNC region. All supplies and clear instructions will be provided for this justice-driven home-based activity. Email Amy Moore (piecegardens@gmail.com) to sign up.

POLL WORKERS NEEDED FOR THE FALL  Even without the pandemic, Election Services in all counties would be looking for Election Day and Early Voting workers for the fall general election. However, the need to recruit additional poll workers, especially younger people, is critical now. These are paid positions!  In Buncombe County, apply here or call 250-4226 for details. For poll worker information in other NC counties, check herePlease get the word out to anyone you believe would be interested.

BE SURE YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE. Visit the new Online Voter Registration Tool, from UU North Carolina partner You Can Vote, for a one-stop place to verify and update your registration status and download and complete a paper registration application as needed.

REQUEST YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT  You Can Vote’s How-To Guide to Vote-By-Mail walks you through the step-by-step process to make sure your vote counts in 2020! Remember, you can request an absentee ballot and still choose later to vote in person.
STAY ENGAGED  Bookmark this page for current UU the Vote voter engagement and elections advocacy information and ways to get involved in local, state and national efforts. With less than 4 months left to get out the vote it is crucial to stay informed about what is needed to ensure fair and safe access for all to cast their ballots in November! 

Justice Seekers: Opportunities to Act!

Take action by focusing on topics and activities relevant for parents, guardians and educators:

  • Listen to online conversations webinars and read articles focused on raising children who are thoughtful, informed and brave about race: Embrace Race

UU THE VOTE!
UU the Vote!!!! The advocacy at home resource has been updated. Thank you, Melissa Murphy! Check it out to learn ways you can get involved: bit.ly/UUtheVote

PROMOTE THE CENSUS 
How does this relate to voting & elections? The 2020 Census data will be used to determine new representation as well as potential new maps!

What can you do? Everyone can play a role in the 2020 Census by sharing information about the census on your social media channels and reminding your family, friends and neighbors how important their response to the census is in shaping the future of our community and state for the next ten years.

Census Info to Share: If you have not received an official invitation in the mail or had a questionnaire dropped off at your door call one of the following numbers:
English: 844-330-2020 ; Spanish:844-468-2020; Russian: 844-417-2020

This video explains how to complete the 2020 Census: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCM0XrSynFw&feature=youtu.be

 

Justice Requires Us to ACT!

A Letter From Rev. Claudia and Rev. Mark
Last week Mark and I discussed reaching out to the Justice Ministry Council inviting them to jointly issue a statement of solidarity with the Black community. Our goal was to speak up about the disrespect of Black bodies, the ingrained institutional disregard for Black humanity, witnessed yet again with a tragic death, the flagrant murder of George Floyd even as COVID-19 is disproportionately afflicting the marginalized communities already vulnerable as a result of societal imbalance.
 
We are called as a religious community to affirm and promote the worth and dignity of all. It is a core belief we must act upon and not just discuss. We feel that this moment calls every one of us to consider the work we must do to disrupt white supremacy in ourselves and our institutions.
 
As the Council discussed making a statement, it became apparent to us that we do not have a relationship with the Black community in Asheville that gives us a ground from which to make this statement. Despite our concern, we as a congregation have yet to get proximate with people in that community beyond our comfortable social circles. We concluded that we as a congregation are in no place to speak with authenticity in this moment. We have work to do.
 
The Justice Ministry Council has created this congregational letter as a first step to share ideas and encourage each of us to begin this work. It is individual work that requires commitment, deep reflection, humility, and consistency in understanding how white supremacy culture has shaped our lives. It also requires us to reach out beyond our congregation to advocates and allies in our community and beyond. These times demand it. Reach out to Council members, or one of us. We are all on different stages on the journey of showing up for justice for our Black siblings.
 
We invite you to join us if you are able tomorrow at the Prayer In Action: A Gathering of Solidarity for Peace and Justice organized by a group of local clergy.
When?  Tomorrow, Thursday, June 4 at noon. 
Where? The event will be on Church Street, which will be closed to vehicular traffic. 
Speakers: Rev. John Grant will open with comments and prayer, with L.C. Ray, Herbert Grant, Tyrone Greenlee and the pastors at Central United Methodist, First Presbyterian and Trinity Episcopal also being involved (plus others). 
Attendees are asked to social distance and wear masks.
   
Rev. Claudia and Rev. Mark
A Letter from the Justice Ministry Council: Moving from Outrage and Grief to Action

UUCA Justice Ministry Council members are Eleanor Lane, Nancy Bragg, Deborah Holder, Joyce Birkenholz-Wallin, Linda Kooiker, Martha Kiger,  MaryAnn Somervill, Melissa Murphy, Elizabeth Schell, Wink Zachritz.

“People of faith, particularly those of us who are white progressives, need to combat the systems of criminalization in our country. Systems of policing and criminalization in this country are inherently violent, steeped in and created to reinforce white supremacy, anti-blackness and radicalized control.”~Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, President of the UUA.

In a recent UU denominational Call to Action letter, we are reminded that “as the pain and grief of centuries of violence without justice find their expression, let us remember the Rev. Dr. King’s words: ‘America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?’”  We invite you to read the rest of this powerful call to action (at the link above).

But what shall we do as a congregation? As individuals within a faith community that lifts up the “inherent worth and dignity of all people” as our first principle? The inherent worth and dignity of our Black and Brown siblings is not being respected, but instead seen as expendable. This is not a new thing. But perhaps in this pandemic moment where much of our “normal” is on pause, we are better able as White people to SEE and HEAR the distress of our Black and Brown siblings. But what shall we do with what we are seeing and hearing? And what shall we do with the feelings that come with all of it?

We must not turn away. We must not be silent. But how we witness and how we speak up, show up, participate in much needed resistance and transformation in these times will look different for each of us. Below are some ways to “take action” (in many different forms) in these troubling times: 

Take action by joining UUCA’s learning and action groups now:
Join UUCA’s Dismantling White Supremacy group on the first Friday of each month for deep personal reflection; contact Joy McConnell  

Join UUCA’s Anti-Racism and Immigration Justice Action Group (formerly ReCommitting to Black Lives Matter); contact Eleanor Lane

Take action by joining with others for action items our partners have called upon us to do:
Join with other UUs from our congregation and around the state for Friday Action Hour with Forward Together, the UU Justice Ministry of North Carolina; to get the Zoom link and the action items you can follow this link. 

Subscribe to Ron Katz’ newsletter, Social Justice Opportunities, with timely ways you can take action.

Take action by studying the issues:
Read and reflect on Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”Read and reflect on this work by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun from 2001: “White Supremacy Culture” (From Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups). A more easily-printable pdf version can be found here.

Read and reflect on “Tips for White Folks” blog post by Ashley Cooper with advice/reflections from Jessica Norwood: https://ashleypcooper.com/2020/06/03/999/

Read and reflect on (these can be future book study opportunities)  Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies by Rima Vesely-Flad, Professor of Religious Studies at Warren Wilson College OR Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and You by Jason Reynold and Ibram X. Kendi. This is the abridged, young adult version of Stamped from the Beginning OR Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin.

Take action by focusing on topics and activities relevant for parents, guardians and educators: Engage with your family using Colorful Pages (local) Listen to online conversations webinars and read articles focused on raising children who are thoughtful, informed and brave about race: Embrace Race

Take action by supporting  local community groups and Black businesses with your treasure:
Support Black businessesColor of Asheville website:  and see the Black-Owned Business and Community Directory. Also check out the  Hood Huggers International Green Book for more business listings. 

Support local youth organizations:  My Daddy Taught Me That My Sistah Taught Me That Dewana Little’s Positive Changes Youth Ministries Support local justice organizations: Just Economics BeLoved Asheville Homeward Bound Pisgah Legal

Join or contribute money to CoThinkk, a local giving collective led by People of Color that funds grassroots Black and Latinx leaders and their work in the community.

Support Northside Achievement Zone working with parents, students and local partners to drive a culture shift in predominantly black North Minneapolis.
           
UUCA Justice Ministry Council:
Eleanor Lane, Nancy Bragg, Deborah Holder, Joyce Birkenholz-Wallin, Linda Kooiker, Martha Kiger, MaryAnn Somervill, Melissa Murphy, Elizabeth Schell, Wink Zachritz.

Opportunities for Justice Seekers

Zoom Friday Action Hour. Every Friday at 11 AM join UUs from across the state to advocate for justice from home. So far 3 of us from UUCA have attended…I think we can do better! All you have to do is show up and they’ll have a list of easy, impactful actions ready to go. Along the way, you’ll be accompanied by good justice music, fellowship, and support if you need it. Join us and meet fellow UUs committed to justice work. Contact Rev. Claudia for the link.

Other opportunities for AT-HOME Activism & Advocacy: Stay up-to-date with ways you can continue to be active for Democracy while staying home and staying safe… visit bit.ly/UUtheVote

A Learning Opportunity…

As the 2020 election draws near, the UU Living Legacy Project is offering a monthly online series focused on voting rights. Sessions will be explore what we can learn from the Voting Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s to apply to challenges we face today in these unprecedented times. Sessions will be the last Tuesday of every month starting May 26 until Election Day 2020! All programs begin at 7:30 pm Eastern; each program is 60 minutes followed by informal discussion time.
Moderators:  Dr. Janice Marie Johnson, and the Rev. Carlton E. Smith
Registration required.http://www.uulivinglegacy.org/votingrights.html

Anti-Racism and Immigrant Justice Action Group

Dedicated to dismantling racism in ourselves, our community, and our country through education, supporting local and national efforts toward racial and immigrant equity and justice, and working toward systemic change in racist and xenophobic structures  (formerly ReCommitting to Black Lives Matter Action Group).

Zoom gatherings the second Thursday of the month at 2:30pm. We welcome everyone to join us!   Contact Eleanor Lane.

Justice Seekers at Home

Thank you to all who volunteered to participate in the Reclaim Our Vote Project. The postcard kits will be delivered soon. We appreciate all our postcard writers!

The opportunity to be engaged continues. Below is an invitation from our partner UU Justice Ministry of NC: Forward Together. It is a great way to advocate from home and meet UUs from all over the state.

Introducing Friday Action Hour. Every week Forward Together receives many important calls to action from their justice partners. In recognition of how overwhelming this can feel, the UU Justice Ministry of NC has created a space where UUs from across the state can gather every week to do this work together. All you have to do is show up and they’ll have a list of easy, impactful actions ready to go. Along the way, you’ll be accompanied by good justice music, fellowship, and support if you need it. Join other UU congregations and meet fellow UUs committed to justice work. Every Friday at 11:00 am on Zoom. The Zoom link is shared in the UUCA e-NEWS or you can contact Rev Claudia at faithdev@uuashevile.org

A learning opportunity from the UU Living Legacy Project:
As the 2020 election draws near, the UU Living Legacy Project is offering a monthly online series focused on voting rights. In these sessions, we’ll be exploring what we can learn from the Voting Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s to apply to challenges we face today in these unprecedented times.

Mark your calendars now!
WHEN: Last Tuesday of every month starting May 26 until Election Day 2020!
TIME: 7:30 pm Eastern; each program is 60 minutes followed by informal discussion time.
MODERATORS:  Dr. Janice Marie Johnson, and the Rev. Carlton E. Smith
REGISTRATION: http://www.uulivinglegacy.org/votingrights.html


Postcards for the Reclaim Our Vote Project being prepared for shipping at Forward Together.

Updated Calendar & Opportunities to #UUtheVote

Stay up-to-date with ways you can continue to be active for Democracy while staying home and staying safe… Visit bit.ly/UUtheVotefor details regarding virtual voter registration training, legislative advocacy and promoting the census. A few dates to keep in mind:

  • April 21st – The NC Justice Center is offering a workers’ rights update on COVID-19 starting at 11 am. Registerbelow.

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qcOyprTMrGdwNHTrVNdzT819zQLypNFAI?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=bbca4f3d-c9d7-4336-b682-3a8f1d7d74de

  • April 22nd-24th – The film “Saul and Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band” will be available to view. For details, see below.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QMP2ZaJBFGQF7mKqd8wtoDgB9ZTZ-nlT/view

  • April 26th – Earth Day Vigil, “Seeing with New Eyes”, starting at 6 pm. Go to link below to register and get further information.
  • April 30th – “Dine IN for Life”. Leave it to the creativity of WNCAP to come up with a twist this year to raise funds but also support local restaurants! Check out the link for the particulars to either get takeout, delivery or a gift card. 

YES you can #UUtheVote Without Leaving the House

More opportunities to continue working for equity and voter access. Highlights below. Visit bit.ly/UUtheVote for more information.

  • VIRTUAL VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING- APRIL 23

From Asheville-Buncombe County League of Women Voters: We planned to host a training session for Voter Registration this spring but since they can’t meet in person, we’re planning an online session (via Zoom) on April 23 starting at 6:00 PM. We’ll need lots of trained volunteers in advance of this fall’s important election, so please sign up for this important training led by Aiden Carson!  

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us04web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZQkf–rpj0s9XrkRUH9J4nmDhve0QHiaA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • PROMOTE THE CENSUS

How does this relate to voting & elections? The 2020 Census data will be used to determine new representation as well as potential new maps!

What can you do? Everyone can play a role in the 2020 Census by sharing information about the census on your social media channels and reminding your family, friends and neighbors how important their response to the census is in shaping the future of our community and state for the next ten years.

Census Info to Share: If you have not received an official invitation in the mail or had a questionnaire dropped off at your door call one of the following numbers:
English: 844-330-2020 ; Spanish:844-468-2020

 

Justice Ministry Update

#UU the Vote is catching on! We have 50 commitments to act beyond voting to #UU the Vote. Our goal is at least 100 commitments. All of the issues we care about are affected by who our elected officials are. Check out the #UU the Vote bulletin board in Sandburg Hall if you haven’t filled out a commitment slip and for ways to get involved. You can also fill out a commitment slip online at https://forms.gle/nMcNwJmCiTdycjmq5 Resources are updated weekly by  Melissa Murphy at  bit.ly/UUtheVote. Thank you, Melissa!  And, don’t forget to put a heart on your commitment slip once you have completed your activity. That is a way of holding ourselves accountable as we put our faith in action: #VoteLove, #Defeathate. Our involvement in getting out the vote and articulating our values can make a difference!

The Justice Ministry Council invites you to consider participating in getting “Souls to the Polls” on Sunday, February 23. Why? Because NC could lose Sunday voting in any given year. It was reduced to one Sunday from two this year. To keep it for those who can only vote on Sundays, we can help show that it is needed. Faith communities like ours can organize group voting on the Sunday of early voting to keep the numbers up, demonstrating to our government leaders that Sunday voting is used. Polls are open from 10AM-6PM that day. I intend to vote the 23rd. I hope you join me if you can. Of course, that means I am doing all I can to familiarize myself with the candidates so I can be ready! Wish me luck. Questions? Comments? Contact me at faithdev@uuasheville.org.

Justice Ministry Update

We are joining #UUtheVote! A National Unitarian Universalist Association Program 

On Sunday, January 19 at both services, we’ll learn how UUCA can participate in #UUtheVote initiative to get out the vote, remove voting barriers and become informed about candidates and issues. All the issues we deeply care about are at stake in the 2020 election.  #UU the Vote is gonna be big! It’s gonna be cool! It’s gonna need ALL of UUs!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast
Saturday, January 18 (offsite); doors open 7:30 AM; seating requested by 8:20. Tickets $25. Join UUs and the greater community for a very special morning at this annual event at the Crowne Plaza Resort. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury & Healing. Buy tickets at the Justice ministry table on Sunday mornings at UUCA.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Rally and March, Monday, January 20, 11:30 AM at the (formerly named) Berry Temple United Methodist Church, 34 College Place. We’re gonna show up! It is a Yellow-Shirt Brigade event: wear your Side with Love t-shirt. Don’t have one? They will be on sale at UUCA in early January. Stay tuned…

This is a Yellow-Shirt Brigade Event