SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY

MINISTRY

IMMIGRATION UPDATES

Join the AILA in Lobbying Congressional Leaders

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has written an excellent letter to Democratic Congressional Leaders asking them to prioritize some immigration reforms that could be done as part of the 2022 fiscal year's spending bill now being negotiated. Click here to add your voice to this chorus by writing to any or all of these leaders. Thank you!

Diapers, Backpacks, & School Supplies

The USCRI (US Committee on Refugees and Immigrants) is seeking donations of backpacks and school supplies for children in all grade levels.  There are Ukrainian and Afghan families with school-age children who will need these items for school in the fall. In addition to the backpacks, the items needed include:

- pencils, pens, erasers
- scissors (safety type for young children and sharp scissors for older kids)
- magic markers, crayons
- notebook paper, spiral notebooks, construction paper, index cards
- staplers, pencil sharpeners, rulers, pencil pouches
- glue and glue sticks
- calculators

 They also need disposable diapers, all sizes, for the young ones coming from Afghanistan and Ukraine.  You can drop off any donations at the USCRI storage space at 3167 Fulton Rd, Suite 100, Cleveland anytime on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10a-3p.  In the alternative, you can drop donations at the Beth-El Synagogue, 3246 Desota in Cleveland Hts.  You'll need to call Joe at 216-320-9667 to make sure he's there before you stop by.     

Additional Tutor Needed

Rahim and Habibou are the young couple with a new baby who are living on the near westside of Cleveland. Judy Charlick has been tutoring them in English which is so important for them to learn. It would be very helpful if they had one other tutor. They speak French with Judy. If you speak French and would be willing to tutor Rahim and Habibou one day/week, please contact Judy at jcharlick@ameritech.net.   

A Used Car

Ansly Damus is looking for a used car to buy for a reasonable cost.  If you have one you'd like to sell to him, please contact Kathy Franz, wfranz@roadrunner.com  to be put in touch with Ansly. 

From Catholic Charities

If you are interested in making a donation or setting up a donation drive, please call our office at (216) 939-3759. Below is an up-to-date list of our most needed new or gently used household supplies.

Click for Most Needed Items

From Heights Friends of Immigrants

Each of the 3 agencies in Cleveland (Catholic Charities, USCRI, US Together) has received approximately 200-225 Afghans and the military bases are now emptied.

 

Storage for donations is available at Temple Beth El, 3246 DeSota Ave., in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. If you want to donate, please call Beth El first at 216-501-2761. Hours are Monday-Thursday: 9-5, Friday: 9-12, and sometimes Sunday. You must call first however, because Joe, the caretaker is not always available.

 

Also, USCRI is starting a new initiative. They want to supply all 80 plus families that they currently are serving with a rice cooker, a crock pot, and a television. If you have any of those items, and they are only slightly used you can either bring them to me at 3019 Waterford Dr. Twinsburg, 440-897-2413, or take them to Temple Beth El. Walmart currently has a Hamilton Beach large capacity crock pot, #33665, and a Hamilton Beach 30 cup Rice Cooker, #37550, on sale. 

 

The other need is for sponsors. This can take many different forms. You can volunteer to do such things as drive someone to appointments, or just to visit a family and speak English to them. It does not have to be a huge commitment. Contact Graham Ball directly at USCRI for information at 216-781-4560 ext. 5002.

Donations for People from Ukraine

The local agencies are anticipating that because of our large Ukrainian population in Cleveland, they will be receiving refugees here). Lisa is recommending a particular agency called Razom, meaning together. You can find them at www.razomforukraine.org. They began in NYC in 2014 with a group of ex-pats and Ukrainian Americans and work directly with Ukrainians in Ukraine and now in Poland. They have raised 4 million dollars in the past week, and are flying containers directly over to Poland. Click on Projects to read more about what they are doing.

CURRENT ACTIVITIES

MEETINGS

The Social and Environmental Justice group meets monthly at 11:30am after the 10:00 a.m. worship service.  All are welcome, regardless of any church or secular affiliations. Our meetings are also taking place via Zoom. To learn more, please contact Kathy Franz, wfranz@roadrunner.com 

 

All are welcome - Federated folks and others.

Next Meeting- November 20th, at 11:30 in room 240, and via Zoom 

Anne Hill

Graham Bell

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
MOVIE NIGHTS

Movie nights provide an opportunity to explore our priority areas more in depth. Movie night is generally the third Monday of each month at 7:00 pm.   Until we can be together again, participants will view the chosen films on line by following the links provided and then log onto Zoom at 7:00 for discussion. 

 

Everyone, from Federated Church and the larger community, is invited to join together for an evening of learning, stimulating conversation, and exploring the issues of our times.

 

As we explore issues of social justice, questions keep coming:

What is God calling us to do?

What is God asking of us?

How will we respond?"

 

Join Us for Our Next Movie Night:

 

Monday, November 21st

7PM-8:30pm

Federated Church-Fellowship Hall

Or Via Zoom 

 

Please join us for a very informative Speaker Night as we hear from two presenters speak on their current work with immigrants in Northeast Ohio.

 

Anne Hill is a founding member and the immediate past president of AMIS (Americans Making Immigrants Safe) and current Vice-President. She also is a founding member of the Northeast Ohio Friends of Immigrants (formerly Heights Friends of Immigrants) and serves on its Steering Committee and Linkages Committee. Prior to retirement Anne was the Director of Local Government and Community Relations at MetroHealth.

 

Graham Bell runs development at US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) Cleveland, focusing on grant writing, fundraising, and community engagement. He has a political science degree from Kenyon College and he focused on refugee resettlement while studying abroad in Jordan. A lifelong Clevelander and graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, Graham is proud to have spent the last year welcoming Afghan and Ukrainian refugees into the community he loves. There will be a Q and A and we will also learn how we might become involved. This evening will provide critical information and a path forward.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Faith

Our Vote

The United Church of Christ’s Our Faith Our Vote Campaign is our ongoing commitment to equip you with the tools for nonpartisan faithful engagement in our democratic process. The campaign is made up of three main components; voter registration, issue education, and voter empowerment.

Politics is often taken to be a dirty word, but political processes are simply the way communities organize their common life. For people of faith, public policy is never merely politics. It is a way of living out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is fitting for local congregations and church structures across the country to develop nonpartisan programs to help the faith community reflect upon the political order.

SJAM folks are involved with several “Get Out the Vote” organizations. If you are interested in becoming involved, be sure to attend the September 18th SJAM General Meeting.  In the meantime, contact Kathy Franz (see above) or Tricia Baumgartner 440-708-6231 or tricia.a.baumgartner@gmail.com

 

Racial and Economic Justice

Centering God, Decentering Whiteness

There is still room for people to sign up for "Centering God, Decentering Whiteness." Participants from many different churches will explore how Whiteness works and how it decenters God's presence in people's lives. 8 monthly sessions beginning in October. $200 registration fee. For more information, contact Barry Stees (steesbassoon@gmail.com)

Racial and Economic Justice

Racial Allyship

Last chance to sign up for the Racial Allyship series starting August 4. It will run weekly for 8 weeks on zoom and be co-facilitated by Robin Harbage and Bill Shaul. It has a secular orientation and is free. Anyone interested should contact Bill (theshauls@msn.com)  

RECENT ACTIONS BY SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT FEDERATED

 

STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY

The following Statement of Solidarity has been thoughtfully prepared by the leadership of the Social Justice Advocacy Ministry at the invitation of the Church Council.

 

The Federated Church stands in solidarity with our Black and Brown sisters and brothers who over generations have been and continue to be subject to a high level of violence through overzealous policing, racial profiling, and white vigilantism as well as the failure of justice in our courts.

 

While the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police is the immediate cause of today's unrest, we acknowledge that his murder is but one example of the many ways systemic racism is rooted in our society.

 

We believe we are in the midst of two pandemics. COVID-19 has stolen the breath from thousands of our fellow Americans. The other -- some call it "COVID-1619" -- has been stealing the breath from our Black and Brown sisters and brothers for over 400 years. When one of us cries, "I can't breathe," we are all robbed of that Pentecost moment when the Spirit of the Lord moved like a mighty wind into bodies in that first-century crowd, giving them breath. While we may speak with many tongues, with this breath the Spirit allows us to hear and understand as though there is but one voice (Acts 2:4, 6).

 

We believe we are in a Pentecost moment now. The wind of the Holy Spirit has pulled the curtain back from our confusion and we now can see clearly that racism is America's Original Sin.

 

We seek a way forward in which every person's life is valued and communities are kept safe because those charged with protecting them realize that they themselves are part of a greater family as Children of God. We stand in solidarity with those protesting peacefully for justice and reform of law enforcement. We applaud those in law enforcement who have marched with or taken a knee with protesters in recent days.

 

Finally, we believe that statements like this can be empty words without follow up. "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:14). In the coming weeks, the Social Justice Advocacy Ministry will create an action plan for moving forward within both our church and the community.

ABOUT SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE  

OUR VISION

As Christians, we prayerfully seek to educate ourselves and take action consistent with our faith in order to bring justice to those who are most vulnerable, disenfranchised and marginalized, indeed to all of God’s creation.


If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Kathy Franz at 440.821.7795 or kfranz17114@gmail.com.

OUR PRIORITIES

The Presbyterian theologian, Frederick Buechner offers this advice on how to discern God's voice amidst the noise: "The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work a.) that you need most to do and b.) that the world most needs to have done... The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." 

 

Below (in alphabetical order) are our areas of advocacy, but they are open to expansion based on the passion of the members of the Social and Environmental Justice group. If these reflect your passion and you wish to become further engaged or have questions, please contact the person listed.

  1. Environmental Justice - Contact: Dawn Dole coopdole@gmail.com
  2. Domestic Violence - Contact: Darlene Nichols darnichols10@gmail.com
  3. Immigration Justice - Contact: Bill Shaul theshauls@msn.com
  4. LGBTQ+ - Contact: Barry Stees steesbassoon@gmail.com  
  5. Racial Justice - Contact:  Barry Stees steesbassoon@gmail.com
  6. Voting Rights/Electoral Process - Contact: Tricia Baumgartner tricia.a.baumgartner@gmail.com
  7. Women’s and Children's Issues - Contact: Darlene Nichols darnichols10@gmail.com
  8. Immigration - Contact: Rannigan Walsh ranni@me.com

  9. Criminal Justice - Contact: Tricia Baumgartner tricia.a.baumgartner@gmail.com

  10. Economic Justice and Education - Contact: Marty Culbertson mculbert@fedchurch.org

OUR PARTNERS

  1. St. Paul’s Community Church - Contact: Darlene Nichols darnichols10@gmail.com and Marty Culbertson mculbert@fedchurch.org
  2. Chagrin Falls Park - Contact: Sunny Doxey rdoxey@roadrunner.com
  3. Mt Zion UCC - Contact: Barry Stees steesbassoon@gmail.com
  4. Chagrin Valley Council of Churches - Contact: Dan Kershner drekersh@gmail.com 

LEADERSHIP

Our leadership consists of the lead person from each of the priorities listed above. The staff liaison is Marty Culbertson mculbert@fedchurch.org.