Our Social Action and Community Service

Our Social Justice Teams – Opportunities to Engage in Service
 
Members of CUUC with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins at Justice March in White Plains, NY July 14, 2016  CUC rallies at the People's Climate March  CUC engages in the People's Climate March
Rally for Justice (left, with State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins), July 14, 2016, White Plains
“I was amazed at how two miles seemed to melt under my feet as I walked in the middle of a crowd chanting 'Justice, justice now!' How invigorating it was to be literally part of a movement, even in such a small way." ~ Mary L. C. 

 

Social Justice Teams - How will you engage in service?

Planned Parenthood Lobbying Day in Albany, NY - January 25 2016

The third part of CUUC's mission statement is to “engage in service to transform ourselves and our world.” Our goal is for each Member and Friend to participate on one team. This is an invitation, not an obligation, to be involved as you are able and as your time allows. Which Social Justice Team would you like to be a part of? They all address important issues, so look for one that resonates most powerfully with you. For general questions, contact one of the Social Justice Coordinators: Jeff Tomlinson (jefftomlinson8@gmail.com), Mary Cavallero (marycava4@gmail.com), Emily Economou (emily.economou@gmail.com), and Rev. Meredith Garmon (minister@cucwp.org). For meeting dates, please check the weekly e-Communitarian newsletter or the CUUC events calendar.

Environmental Practices

The Environmental Practices Group (EPG) focuses on the environment and on educating our congregation on ways to “Reduce our Waste Stream.” The EPG has been teaching adults and youth in our congregation how to improve the recycling collection in our homes and in the CUUC building. We have held annual forums on food scrap recycling, energy sources and consumption, and eating to help our planet. We have also sponsored trips to food scrap and plastic and paper recycling sites to help congregants understand what happens to their recycled items. We’ve worked with our youth to train them to become “Eco Experts.” We are developing an environmental justice project focused on a neighborhood beyond CUUC’s border, with an eye toward improving that environment. In addition, we are continuing to inform the congregation, via the e-Communitarian newsletter, about areas of environmental interest or concern, We hope to provide opportunities for congregants to improve the environmental footprint of their communities through increased food-scrap recycling. Contact: Janet Bear (jsbear1@gmail.com) or Charlie McNally (mcnally@pobox.com).

Hunger and Homelessness

The Hunger and Homelessness team focuses on projects to assist those in our county experiencing food insecurity and homelessness. In response to the tremendous need in the community resulting from these difficult times, we have provided weekly meals to HOPE (Help Our People Eat) Community Services soup kitchen (hopecommunityservices.org) since April 2020. CUUC members have worked together to contribute portions of the meal while maintaining safe social distance. We also support the Ecumenical Emergency Food Pantry and the Coachman Family Center (westhab.org/familyservices). Some of our activities have been suspended during the pandemic since some organizations are not accepting donations at this time. In the past we have donated toiletries, gloves, hats, and other necessities to Open Arms Men's Shelter and Samaritan House Women's Shelter (liftingupwestchester.org), and we have collected lamps and small furniture for Furniture Sharehouse (furnituresharehouse.org). New team members are always welcome! Contact: Nicole Turygin (nturygin@gmail.com).

LGBTQIA Justice

Our UU Seven Principles remind us that each being has worth and dignity, and that worth includes our gender and our sexuality. The LGBTQIA Social Justice Team discusses Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual justice issues and the intersectionality with Racial Justice, Women's Issues, Hunger and Homelessness, and Economic Justice. In 2005, CUUC was certified as a "Welcoming Congregation" after completing programs to increase understanding and inclusiveness of LGBTQIA issues. In 2018, the LGBTQIA team successfully completed the work required to renew CUUC’s designation as a Welcoming Congregation. In 2019, the team sponsored a presentation with Q&A given by Tony Arrien entitled "The Incomplete Guide to Trans and Non Binary Identities." The team also hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance Sunday service. In addition to legislative visits we support the efforts other organizations such as The LOFT LGBT Community Center, PrideWorks, GLSEN Lower Hudson Valley, and send speakers to special LGBTQ educational events in the area. Allies are welcome to help the team with their efforts! Contact: Tony Arrien (arrien@optonline.net).

Racial Justice/In The Spirit of Truth

The Racial Justice Team focuses on actions we can take to combat racism and to support movements such as Black Lives Matter. In The Spirit of Truth (ITSOT) was formed to address issues of intolerance and explore ways of building acceptance for diversity in both our congregation and the local White Plains community. The team has sponsored presentations on topics including the Equal Justice Initiative Summit in Montgomery, the Doctrine of Discovery, and White Fragility, as well as the annual Juneteenth Worship Service. Team members have also participated in various organizations and workshops to combat racism and to explore intercultural competence sensitivity. A subcommittee is organizing ongoing discussions around the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project addressing the lasting effects of slavery on our society. Contact: Jeff Tomlinson (jefftomlinson8@gmail.com). For the 1619 Project, contact: Adine Usher (adinevictoriaray@gmail.com).

Refugee Resettlement

The CUUC Refugee Resettlement team supports the work of the Interfaith Council for New Americans (ICNA) Westchester, a group of five area congregations including CUUC. ICNA has helped resettle three families from Afghanistan who now live in White Plains and New Rochelle. The first family arrived in the fall 2017 and is “launched” with all three children attending the White Plains public schools, the father gainfully employed, and the mother driving a car and catering. The second family of four arrived in May 2019 and a third family arrived in February 2020 just before the pandemic hit. Our team members have been active with providing transportation and ESL tutoring for the families, as well as other support. In addition, we engage in advocacy with our public officials regarding refugee matters. If you would like to become involved in supporting refugee families, contact Jane Dixon (lilrhodie@gmail.com) or Robin Rocchi (robinandal@verizon.net).

More Ways You Can Serve the CUUC Community