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Social Justice and Outreach

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OUTREACH

Becky Cureau, Director of Outreach

    The 2017 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans from June 21-24 provides a unique opportunity for members of our church to experience this historic and first-time  gathering in our state of thousands of  UUs from all over the country and outside the United States. "GA" is the annual meeting of the UUA when attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through the democratic process. Since the convention site in New Orleans is little more than an hour's drive away, UCBR members can experience the 2017 GA with the options of a one day or full registration.  Two services are free and open to the public and do not require registration: the Thursday 8pm "Service of the Living Tradition," where Reverend Nathan Ryan will be recognized as having received final fellowship and Reverend Beth Williams will be recognized as she retires, and the 9am Sunday Morning worship service. The Exhibit Hall will be registration-free on Sunday.

     Prominent participation by members of our church are additional reasons to attend this year's GA. On Thursday, June 22 at 5pm a panel on  "Living Downstream: The Mississippi River and New Orleans" will feature presentations by Nancy Rabelais, Charlie Fryling and Ed Lyon, with Cynthia Bryant serving as moderator. Ed Lyon, the workshop organizer, has been given a 20-minute slot to give an over-view of this significant and unique workshop, along with a  "virtual tour" at the Thursday morning Plenary session, which will give all GA attendees an understanding of New Orleans beyond the usual tourist sites.  Heartiest congratulations to Ed for writing and submitting the successful proposal, and to the panelists for representing UCBR at what will surely be an outstanding feature of GA.  See the boxed announcement elsewhere in the newsletter for information on the  "sneak preview" of  "Living Downstream" at 12:45 on April 30.  Feedback will be invited.

    Jaidyn Bryant, who was recently elected as a Youth caucus co-dean, will serve and represent us in this prominent leadership role.  Congratulations, Jaidyn! You make us, parents Cynthia and Troy Bryant, and siblings Samara Joy and Troy very proud.

    You won't want to miss the opportunity to be part of this historic gathering. Visit www.uua.org/ga to register and for hotel information and reservations, and to browse the program and schedule of events.  Note that registration  will increase on May 1. Please inform our president, Melanie Mayeux, in person or at melanieamayeux@gmail.com; or Becky Cureau in person or at rcureau@cox.net if you plan to attend.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Bobby Thompson, Director of Social Justice

    Our shared offering recipient for the month of April will be the Capitol Area Alliance for the Homeless. Our support of this organization is particularly critical at this time.  Capitol Area Alliance for the Homeless (CAAH) members provide emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals, persons with a range of disabilities, and families experiencing homelessness for the first time. In addition to housing, members offer a range of services that include outreach to the homeless, behavioral health referrals, substance abuse treatment, veterans services, life skills training, job training/placement, youth shelters, and literacy/GED classes.  CAAH, 153 North 17th Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.

    Globally Conscious Youth of Baton Rouge held their first meeting in the Fellowship Hall in February.   It was a very successful event for the group of young people.   We would like to see our own senior youth involved with this group.   The last meeting was held on March 23 and the next one is set for Friday, April 28 from 6:00 - 8:00.

    At the end of March, Together Louisiana and Together BR began to focus their efforts more publicly in support of the governor's position to question and possibly rethink the Industrial Tax Exemption Program along with our entire tax structure.  As the April legislative session date nears, that effort is becoming critical.  The presence of UUs throughout this initiative, whether attending the strategy sessions, appearing at the Commerce and Industry board meetings, or otherwise engaged in the ongoing research and effort to publicize, has been impressive.  The same thing is also occurring with the Mayor President's push on Police reform and another TBR initiative on Flood Related Matters.   Monday evening, Feb. 20, was the taping of the LPB Public Square, Black and The Blue, and it was well attended by UUs.   On another front TBR is working to develop We The People (WTP) organizations throughout the 12 districts as they should form a force  of involvement within the TBR organization.   With so many important initiatives by TBR and TLA, manpower is a critical need and your local district WTP is a logical point of entry if you want to get involved.

    At the March meeting of SJT we decided to aim for some members of our team attending a visitors tour of the LaSalle Detention Center for Immigrants in Jena, LA.  The tour will occur on April 12 and hopefully we will be able to work with CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement) in letter writing and more visitations to those isolated and in need of interaction.

    The chronology of the church's social justice efforts through the years is being compiled as a result of the Beloved Conversations sessions.  The entire congregation is being asked to look it over and comment and/or correct.  You can find a draft in the foyer.

    The next meeting of the Social Justice team is set for May 21, 12:45pm, church office.