YUUR Voice in Trenton: August 2015

Town Hall with Senator Cory Booker On Tuesday August 11, UULMNJ Executive Director, Rev. Craig Hirshberg, sat on an expert panel with Senator Booker, US Attorney Paul Fishman, Rev Charles Boyer, and Jiles Ship (NOBLE) to discuss criminal justice, race and faith. Moderated by NJTV News anchor Michael Hill the two hour long program took place at Christ Church in East Orange where 400 people packed the pews. Read more.

UUs Showed Up to Affirm “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” Thank you to all who came to Newark for the Million People’s March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice, and Economic Inequality. We had roughly 150 UUs from New Jersey and some more from New York, with 13 NJ congregations represented! View the photos and tag the people you know!

UULMNJ Stands with Planned Parenthood The UULMNJ Healthcare & Reproductive Justice taskforce has released a statement in support of Planned Parenthood. On July 14, 2015 the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress launched a smear campaign on the women’s healthcare provider aimed at shutting them down. At the Unitarian Universalist Association 2015 General Assembly the delegates passed a Reproductive Statement of Conscience. Supporting Planned Parenthood and standing together when any of the groups standing for reproductive justice is attacked, is essential to protecting the basic human rights at the core of reproductive justice. Read the statement here.

 

Three important pieces of legislation passed by both houses on June 25, 2015.

S2381/A3723 was signed by Governor Christie on August 10 and allows drug court participants to complete or “graduate” from drug court programs while using medication-assisted treatments to conquer their addictions.

S2003 builds on previous efforts to reform the system with a focus on helping to rehabilitate juveniles and make communities safer was also signed by the Governor on August 10. The law will raise the minimum age to waive a child into the adult court system, also raise the age to transfer adolescents and children from juvenile detention centers to adult facilities, and the law will impose limits according to age on the amount of time a juvenile could spend in solitary confinement, known as room restriction in the juvenile justice system.

Bill A4218, which would require dangerous domestic abusers to turn in their guns before they have the chance to do more harm, still awaits Governor Christie’s signature. Please email the governor or call the governor’s office at 609-292-6000 today and urge him to sign this legislation.  Learn more.

This year’s calendar is set. Mark your personal and congregational calendars now!

  • September 12, 2015: Training and strategizing for task force leadership and congregational liaisons at the UU Church at Washington Crossing in Titusville.
  • October 17, 2015: UULMNJ Issues Conference in Summit.
  • March 12, 2016: 2nd Annual NJ MUUsic Festival in Lincroft.
  • April 16, 2015UULMNJ Plenary and Annual Meeting in Cherry Hill.

Addressing Institutional Racism in New Jersey will be a major emphasis for UULMNJ this coming year. A new group is forming to explore how best UULMNJ can assist congregations in fostering education, discussion and action.  If you have suggestions or comments about a UU response to racism, please send them to Rev. Craig Hirshberg, UULMNJ Exec. Director director@uulmnj.org

UULMNJ has joined NJ United for Marijuana Reform. At the 2015 Spring Plenary the Board released a statement supporting marijuana legalization. This is a bold step for a faith community. UULMNJ does not endorse the recreational use of marijuana, just as it would not endorse the recreational use of tobacco or alcohol.  The UULMNJ position is based on the concern for social justice. The current drug policy laws and the resulting incarcerations for minor drug possession adversely affect life opportunities for many young people, and especially young black men and women. Read the statement on Marijuana Reform. Read more.

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