The unanimous vote to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to hang a Black Lives Matter banner outside our church is worthy of celebration. I am filled with gratitude for all who worked so thoughtfully and diligently to bring this to a vote, and to the congregation who supported the motion.
The discussion on Opportunities for Congregational Action that followed the vote highlighted two ways forward. First is educating ourselves about white privilege and its impact on people of color. Secondly is finding ways to serve as "allies, witnesses, and partners in our country's continued struggle for racial justice and equity." This blog begins to identify resources and allies.
White Privilege Resources:
Opportunities to provide support to local organizations:
- R.E.A.L Justice: Racial, Economic, and Legal Justice is the name of the local Black Lives Matter group that meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6:30 pm at the Friends Center at 1501 Cherry Street.
- Join a Weekly Vigil of Prayer and Solidarity supporting Black Lives Matter at The UU Church of the Restoration, 6900 Stenton Ave, Philadelphia on Thursdays from 6 to 7 pm. When you get to this link, scroll down to a poster inviting all to join.
- The Center for Returning Citizens: Founded and led by J. Jondhi Harrell, this organization provides for support to returning citizens and their families. Volunteers are welcomed. Link to their website
- Decarcerate PA is a dynamic, diverse, all volunteer grass roots coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to stopping construction of new prisons, reducing the prison population, and reinvesting money in our communities. There is a wealth of information on their website www.decarceratePA.info on pending legislation and current campaigns along with press coverage, press releases and fact sheets. Sign up to receive email updates from DPA. Check out the long list of supporting organizations. Whether you want to work on policy issues, lobby legislators, write letters to prisoners, research and write op-ed pieces or take direct action at a rally, there is a place for you in DPA.
- Letter Writing with DecarceratePA: The next session is on Saturday, February 27, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM at 1207 Chestnut St, Urban Affairs Coalition Building, on the second floor in the office of the Institute for Community Justice. Sessions are held on the fourth Saturday of each month. Join us in writing letters to folks in prisons across Pennsylvania. This is a great opportunity to connect with folks on the inside and ensure that the work of Decarcerate PA is informed and led by the ideas, experiences and wisdom of its members behind the walls. It is also a great way for us to better understand the issues of mass incarceration. All are welcome.
- Books through Bars: Join BTB in responding to requests from prisoners for books. Selecting and packing books occurs on the first and third Saturdays and every Tuesday evening at their office at 4722 Baltimore Avenue. For more information on this and other ways of supporting this project including donating books, check out their web site.
- Coalition Against Death by Incarceration: Pennsylvania law currently requires a mandatory sentence of life without parole for all first and second degree murders. Click to find out about the work of CADBI and its goals. Monthly meetings are held at at 1515 Fairmont Avenue.
- No New Philly Jail: Supported by decarceratePA, the No215Jail campaign opposes building a new jail in Philadelphia and instead seeks systemic change in the criminal justice system that leads to overcrowding including bail reform and ending overcharging. Here is the link to more information
Peace and Justice,