Friday, May 6, 2022
Last time I counted, we had 17 teachers and staff affliated with our congregation. And there are even more retired educators amongst us. The last two years of pandemic, poor funding, and political strife have taken a toll on educators to the point that over half are seriously thinking of finding a different profession. Yet, a new NPR poll shows that most parents feel their children are in good hands in the schools their children attend. To see the results of this poll go to https://www.npr.org/2022/04/29/1094782769/parent-poll-school-culture-wars. So, we asked our teachers what we could do to support them. Surprisingly, an immediate need is copy paper. Are you shocked? I know I was. Budget cuts have left our teachers buying their own copy paper to provide their students with the tools they need to be successful. Please take a ream of copy paper to your child’s teacher or bring one to church - the cost for one ream is about $7.50 and can be purchased at your local grocery or office supply store or online. If you bring copy paper to church, we will make sure it gets to a teacher. If you want to go further in supporting our educators, letter writing, voting on May 7th, going to school board meetings, and joining groups who support our schools could make all the difference to combat the very small group of loud voices who have agendas to hurt public education. In Round Rock ISD, one such support group is Access Education RRISD, but there are PTAs and parents groups in all our school districts where you could make a difference. If you want to find our more about being an advocate, talk to Rebecca Molis who has been attending and speaking at board meetings all this year. This should matter to everyone because we all pay school taxes in one way or another and an educated citizenry is vital to our democracy.
Blood supplies are low all over our area due to a lull is giving blood and an increased need for blood during the pandemic. All who can are encouraged to give blood in our informal blood drive at any blood bank during the weekend of May 14-15. Leslie Guerrero Collins and I have signed up at We Are Blood on May 15th at 1:00 pm, and they had many openings on that day that need to be filled. Take pictures and post it on our In-House Facebook group.
People need places to sleep and one of the biggest purchases needed to furnish apartments for refugees are for new mattresses and frames. Through May 15th, we are taking donations to purchase two twin beds (three would be even better) for Refugee Services of Texas. As of last week, we were more than half way to our goal of collecting $500. We take credit cards and any of our other means of donating. Make sure you put Twin Beds in the memo line of your donation.
As we have all heard this week, the Supreme Court seems to be ready to put an end to abortion rights. We wouldn’t think to dictate to you how to feel about this, but no matter how you feel, it is definitely the time to make your thoughts known to your elected representatives. Post cards, letters, emails need to go out immediately. Voting for representatives who support your views is imperative. We have a primary runoff coming up which will be your first chance to express your voice. May 13 is the last day to apply to vote by mail. Early voting runs from May 16-20 and the election is May 24th. The next chance you will have to make a difference is in the November 5th midterm elections. To find out the important deadlines for voting in this election go to https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/important-election-dates.shtml. Non-partisan information for elections can be found at vote411.org. I can help you register to vote or update your voter information.
The death penalty came into focus with the recent case of Melissa Lucio. We were asked to participate in a letter writing campaign, but her case has recently been sent back to the court where she was prosecuted - same DA and same judge - so the disposition of her case is in question right now. This is not the end of her situation and to find out more information, go to https://innocenceproject.org/melissa-lucio-9-facts-innocent-woman-facing-execution/. Again, you can voice your opinion about the death penalty or this case by writing letters, speaking up, and voting. You may think that you are just one small voice, but the many individuals who wrote letters and spoke out made a difference in this case.
There never seems to be an end to the need for justice in this world and it can seem overwhelming at times. One letter, one postcard, one vote, one bed, one pint of blood, one ream of copy paper can make all the difference. Your voice is important. Let us join together as members of UCC to make a difference.
Social Justice Team Lead