To Those with a Heart for Social Justice,
The Social Justice Team is responding to the many local, state, national, and international situations that seem to be rocking our world right now and we want to update you on what is going on.
After a lengthy time of planning, preparing, collecting, and postponing our Period Party, action has been taken. It is not quite what we originally planned, but nonetheless, we are helping the community we have wanted to serve. A huge thank you goes out to Olivia and Katherine Griffin-Erickson who have taken this project under their wings and have expanded it beyond our wildest imaginations during this difficult time. We had so many products and felt the community need was great so we switched gears, cancelled the Period Party, and donated all the products to the Austin Diaper Bank, Flo Code, and the youth to make period packets. The youth produced packets will go to Leander ISD Title 1 schools and into our Little Free Food Pantry. The $400 donated will be split equally between the YWCA and Austin Diaper Bank. These donations were multiplied by giving them on Amplify Austin Day. Our project has inspired many outside our church to either give products and money or start projects of their own. We will try to get the Period Party back on track in its normal September time slot.
The team is rightly concerned about the recent executive orders and attorney general opinions concerning trans children and their families. Thank you to Andrea Pena-Curran and Patrick Curran for wanting to get accurate information for families especially those who are now thinking of relocating their families because of these orders. We have many resources for accurate information including Texas, Out Youth, and Equality Texas which we will post for the community as we find them. Texas Impact also has lobbying training each year and we will find out the date for that so that those interested can learn to effectively lobby our legislature. Equality Texas has an upcoming training and other actions and you can find them at https://secure.everyaction.com/p/eQOu4QtQP0i19Rk7OjbMZw2. Four organization are supporting a website with accurate information at https://www.txtranskids.org/toolkit.
Our apartment setup with Refugee Services of Texas has been postposed until later in March or in April due to a family commitment by our primary contact with Refugee Services. In the meantime, Refugee Services of Texas says that they have been so successful in settling Afghan refugee in apartments that they have run our of twin bed frames. If you have a twin bed to donate, contact Lauren Rizzo, Community Engagement Coordinator, 512 640 2972, firstname.lastname@example.org or you can order one for them at https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/24VJEHW19YK7O?ref_=wl_share.
Our Little Free Food Pantry continues to be used regularly – so much that it often is empty. Caitlin Oliver is making a collection box for Fellowship Hall so we can replenish items as needed and Meghan Dever will store overflow in the risers in the youth room. This way we can space out the offerings to those in need of food.
The UCC family enthusiastically supported the 2022 Virtual Austin CROP Hunger Walk this year with donations so far of $2084 making us the 9th largest donor church team in Austin. So far the Walk has raised $58,000 but that total will grow as cash and checks are tallied. Not only did we donate, we walked on our grounds on Sunday, March 6th after worship! People of all ages joined in a walk down to our outdoor sanctuary where we had a prayer and shared some information and many stayed to walk the grounds and the labyrinth in prayer for the hungry. It is never too late to donate to our team at https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2022/team/united-christian-church-of-austin or by any of our other means of giving to UCC. Make sure you note that gifts are for the Crop Walk.
Meghan Dever reported that action for the community garden is in full swing. A master gardener from the dental office in our complex will be working with the youth to plant and maintain the garden this spring. The fall garden produced 3 offerings of fresh lettuce to local food pantries. Isn’t it wonderful that in many of our projects we are able to engage folks in our wider community?
The situation in the war in Ukraine is disturbing and frustrating. It is hard to know what to do. Right now the best way individuals can help is to donate. Donations to Church World Service (through the Austin CROP Hunger Walk), Global Missions, Disciples Home Missions Refugee and Immigration Ministries are vetted ways we can help.
Please join us at our next meeting on March 28 at 7 pm on Zoom, where we are going to plan out our action for the rest of the year. We love new and imaginative ideas.
Diane Baker, Social Justice Team Lead