Liaison CC Min 5-6-15

Monthly Liaison Conference Call Minutes

May 6, 2015, 8 PM

In Attendance:

Lorraine Wearley  (Summit)
Nick Mellis (Washington Crossing)
Al Stawsky (Palisades)
Edie Waill (Parmaus)
Sally Gellert (Paramus)
Laurice Grae-Hauck, Administrator
Rev. Craig Hirshberg, Exec. Dir.


Congregations Check-in: 

  • Edie (Paramus): May 15 “Inequality for All” film, Gordon McGinnis president of NJ Policy Perspective leading discussion. Teens talk about racism May 28. Showing Inconvenient Truth about charter schools run by corporation. Hosted workshop organized by the YWCA “building a multi-racial community: what can white people do”. Plating more for Bountiful Harvest.
  • Lorraine (Summit): Speaker at UCS, two groups together, author of “Give Them a Chance”.
  • Nick (Washington Crossing): Participating in the Council for Faith on Action working on marijuana legalization.
  • Al (Palisades): Minister canceled regular sermon and instead had an open discussion on recent events in Baltimore, attended by about 30.

Task Force:

  • Al ( Justice): A lot of bills but not much action except for the medical treatment bill. Bill would allow convicted addicts to go into a non-prison treatment program and use recommended drug treatment medications, not currently allowed in prison settings. Drug Policy Alliance sent request asking to contact legislators about moving this bill to a vote and to write letters to editors. Many bills have begun the process but none are currently active.
    3 recent bills on police conduct in recent months. One on use of choke holds, one on mandatory prosecutor assigned to police killings, third requiring residency for policeman giving communities five years.
  • Lorraine (Economic Justice): A dozen bills we’re following but none have moved.  Some haven’t moved since 2014. The budget is holding things up.  Courts will reevaluate in June and if the administration hasn’t moved on the affordable housing moneys the administration could face law suit. Fair Share Housing offered to do an advocate training. 10 people interested at Plenary. Lorraine will send files and LTE template to Craig to send to congregations.

What can we do at the state level to address racism?

  • Paula Jones from Joseph Priestley attended plenary and suggested some trainings.
  • We hung a Black Lives Matter banner at plenary.
  • If your congregation would like to reproduce this banner, Laurice will do minimal redesign for your congregation. Name, logo, etc.
  • Join the “Are UU Awake?” group on Facebook
  • Al suggests a NJ wide conference that deals with the question in a way that is designed to challenge participants and congregations to face up to the questions of our faith principles and how they translate into how we react to the major moral crisis of racism. Lorraine agrees if there is an action item.
  • Sallie would like to see the “Standing on the Side of Love” webinar as a Sunday service.
  • Lorraine sent a NY Times article out about how where you leave affects your ability to get out of poverty.
  • We have to be careful and consistent with the needs of the black community. If people are not sensitive with the dynamics they can make matters worse when reaching out.

Marijuana Laws

  • Craig would like congregations to have educational discussions about this as an issue of mass incarceration.
  • Nick finds it surprising that people are squeamish talking about legalizing it. This is not being favor of marijuana use. It’s about getting people out of the shadows so we can solve problems.
  • Al suggests looking at educational materials from ACLU and NJ United for Marijuana Reform.
  • As the only UU state advocacy body, by supporting this it enables congregations to speak up. We need congregations to have a forum so we know where congregations stand.
  • If people study the issue there won’t be any issues.
  • Nick asks people to call the state Democratic Committee to endorse the effort of NJUMR.
  • Trying to make a video to use in congregations.


  • Fair Share Housing training in Cherry Hill
  • Million Person March July 25 in Newark organized by the People’s Organization for Progress, for racial and economic justice.
  • Sallie brought up NJ Transit cutting service on train lines would like to see UULMNJ action.
  • Anti Poverty Network gala on
  • UULMNJ has just joined the newly formed New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice.


  • New website is LIVE! There is a calendar for statewide congregational events.  Plan on submitting community events to be added to the statewide calendar to!

Adjourned at 9:12 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Laurice Grae-Hauck, UULMNJ Administrator

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