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Social Justice and Outreach

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Diana Dorroh for Becky Cureau, Director of Outreach

 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly 2017 – New Orleans, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, June 21 – 25.

The deadline for early registration is April 30.   The Early Registration Fee is $360.  On May 1, it will be $415.  For one day, the registration fee is $140 on or before April 30 and $160 on May 1.

Ware Lecture, 8:30- 9:30pm on Saturday, June 24.  

One of the highlights of General Assembly is the Ware Lecture.   Previous lecturers include Reinhold Niebuhr, Henry Steele Commager, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rollo May, and Mary Oliver.

This year’s Ware lecturer is Bryan Stevenson.  He is the author of Just Mercy and founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Mr. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and recently won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court declaring mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger unconstitutional.  Participants in the Beloved Conversations programs at our church are especially encouraged to attend.    

Service of the Living Tradition, 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Thursday June 22. This service honors fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders; remembering those who have died, recognizing those who have completed active service, and welcoming those who have received fellowship or credentialed status in the past year. Registration is not required.  The Reverend Nathan Ryan and The ReverendBeth Williams will both be honored.

If you want to attend for only one day, note that the Thursday evening and Sunday morning services do not require registration, so you might consider staying in New Orleans on Thursday night and attending the Thursday evening Service of the living Tradition and sessions on Friday or staying on Saturday night and attending sessions on Saturday and the Sunday morning worship service.  

If you are planning to attend, please let Office Manager, Allison Hall, know at or 225-926-2291 We’d also like to know when you’ll be there and where you are staying.  We may be able to coordinate housing options. 

Baton Rouge Food Bank - Our most recent delivery of food cart contents to the BR Food Bank netted 79 pounds.  Thanks for Carol Widner for making the delivery.  

Sunday, May 21, 3pm: Interfaith Federation 27th Sounds of CommUNITY Concert. St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 2025 Stuart Ave. Ave, Baton Rouge, LA. No cost, freewill donation, reception follows. 



Bobby Thompson, Director of Social Justice

   Our shared offering recipient for the month of May will be Planned Parenthood BR/ Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.  Our support of this organization is particularly critical in light of the national effort to defund the organization entirely.  It is a leading non-profit provider of reproductive health care, sexuality education and advocacy for reproductive rights.   To quote Sr. Joan Chitister, OSB, on the irrationality of a pro-life approach:  "I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."    Planned Parenthood is indeed a much broader experience for the health and wellbeing of women.

   Globally Conscious Youth of Baton Rouge began holding their meetings at the church Fellowship Hall this spring and it has gone well.  At the request of RE Director Beth Williams, our upper class UU students were introduced to the idea behind this group, which is learning about cultures across the world in order to broaden acceptance of and appreciation for other people and their cultures. The April and May meetings have been postponed due to end of the year conflicts.  Hopefully there will be a late May or early June gathering to put closure on this school year.

   The beginning of the Louisiana Legislative Session has Together Baton Rouge focus back on issues which involve legislative action.  The Industrial Tax Exemption Program is still under careful scrutiny by TBR and an active team of observers at the Commerce and Industry meetings hope to keep the pressure up for bringing industrial tax money back into school systems, local governments and local police departments.  Flood related issues will also begin to move in a more proactive direction after the careful study and research of this winter and early spring.

   Due to the very late and complicated process of receiving a permit, no members of our team attended a visitors April tour of the LaSalle Detention Center for Immigrants in Jena, LA.   There is still interest in our working with CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement) on letter writing and more visitations to those isolated and in need of interaction. A recent report on one woman being deported who is presently at the Jena, La. facility was a striking reminder to us that we need to familiarize ourselves with this facility and begin working with the detainees there.

   The next meeting of the Social Justice team is set for May 28, 12:45pm.