Justice Update: B.R.E.A.D. Nehemiah Action May 11 & Police Accountability

Dear First UU,

This has been an overwhelming week as the police officer who murdered George Floyd on camera was finally pronounced guilty. It feels like a move forward for racial justice, and yet it’s disturbing how uncertain that verdict was, despite all the evidence. Even more disturbing, here in our city, Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, was killed by police just minutes before that verdict was announced. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to me or to Isabel Call, our minister of pastoral care, isabel@firstuucolumbus.org.

My friends, there is so much work to be done in our beloved country and city. And, we have opportunities every day to take part in that work.

Our Justice Update this month features B.R.E.A.D., and Nehemiah Action on May 11 that B.R.E.A.D. has been preparing for all year. What is B.R.E.A.D., and what does it have to do with Police Accountability? Learn more below! And don’t forget to scroll lower to find out about other featured justice opportunities coming up.

Peace and love to you wherever you may be in this moment,

Amanda Hays
Justice Coordinator

Are you concerned about gun violence in our community? affordable housing for those who really need it? How about police reform?

BREAD (Building Responsibility, Equality, and Dignity) is Central Ohio’s congregation-based, multi-faith community organization founded by First UU and ten other congregations in 1995-96. Now more than 40 racially, religiously, socioeconomically, and geographically diverse congregations, BREAD uses the power of organized people to hold local decision-makers accountable for addressing serious community problems selected by its member congregations.

Help BREAD do something about these monumental problems by attending this year’s Nehemiah Action, either virtually park-in. At least 300 adults and children needed to represent First UU including 50 vehicles at the park-in. Public officials are influenced by their constituents, so the more the better!

TUESDAY, MAY 11, 6:45 p.m.
Park-in  (parking lot of First Church of God, 3480 Refugee Road)
OR Virtually from wherever you have internet

You and your guests must be registered to attend. Tickets are free and will be sent to registrants at a later date. Please register today!    https://buytickets.at/breadorganization/510270

We’ll be asking public officials to implement some well-researched solutions to gun violence, the lack of affordable housing for those who really need it, and police reform. For more information, see excerpts from BREAD’s April Rally by clicking on the links below:

Intro – Brother Wynn: https://youtu.be/RNnDIpN5Ta8?t=644

Gun Violence – Dr. Groner: https://youtu.be/RNnDIpN5Ta8?t=1823

Affordable Housing – Pastor Leister: https://youtu.be/RNnDIpN5Ta8?t=2282

Police Reform – Cathy Levine: https://youtu.be/RNnDIpN5Ta8?t=3334

Logistics for Nehemiah Action – Jim Lowe: https://youtu.be/RNnDIpN5Ta8?t=3704

For more information, contact Alice Rathburn, First UU’s BREAD Team Leader, eulala1905@me.com

How Can UU Take Action?

If you haven’t yet, please check out our “Take Action” page.  Just click on the “Justice” tab above, then click “Take Action.”

We will keep it updated so that opportunities to take action that you see are current. Check it out: https://firstuucolumbus.org/justice-action-ministry/justice-action/


Featured Justice Opportunities

BREAD Funeral Procession Demonstration ​

This Monday, April 26, at 5:15 pm
Tiffereth Israel Parking Lot (1354 E. Broad St.) 

The mock funeral procession will go around City Hall, with our spokespeople there as “mourners” to deliver a eulogy for bad policing and issue a statement about our proposals. 

Click below to read B.R.E.A.D.’s statement on the police killing of Ma’Khia Bryant, “How Many Have to Die?” https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ylje3YNOjVYUAbS9-pXdFXLKqY7He41o/view?usp=sharing

March for Police Accountability

Tomorrow, Sunday April 25 at 2pm
First Congregational Church, 444 E. Broad St.

In response to the killing of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, by Columbus Police this week,  Faith in Public Life is organizing groups from many faith traditions around Columbus tomorrow at 2 pm to march about one mile from First Congregational Church, 444 E. Broad St., to the Columbus Division of Police Headquarters, 120 Marconi Blvd., to issue a prophetic call for police accountability, and to say that Black Lives Matter.

As a member of Faith in Public Life, First UU will have a presence there as well. If you are able, we encourage you to wear a mask and your yellow shirt and join us!

Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/1ieCBOc8f

Learn About the Threat to Our Rights

Read about the four bills threatening our First Amendment Right to Protest: https://uujo.org/take-action/our-voices-together-pro-democracy-action/

Next Meeting of Democracy & Human Rights Focus Group

Wednesday, April 28 from 6-7pm

Some questions we may discuss:

  • What is our mission? What is our focus? What is our theological grounding?
  • How do we get a list of folks interested in certain types of action?
  • What do we want the leadership team to look like?
  • Who can be our contact for UUJO?

If you are passionate about Democracy & Human Rights, we encourage you to join. Please email contact-democracyandhumanrights@firstuucolumbus.org for a Zoom link.

May: Socks-It-To-Me Sunday

Anytime in May

Socks for children and adults, summer weight. Drop off donations to Feed & Read Ohio outside Jacques’s house, 617 Woodsfield Dr., Columbus, OH 43214.

Justice Updates

Update on Fair Food

Thanks to First UU Fair Food allies for supporting the farmworkers who provide our food and continue expanding their Fair Food Program.

Undaunted by COVID, the FFP is expanding in Tennessee!
Newest Fair Food Program participating grower, Smoky Mountain Family Farms, expands operations in Tennessee, bringing the groundbreaking protections of the Fair Food Program to hundreds of new workers in the process.

For the women and men laboring on new Fair Food Program farms, whether they are harvesting tomatoes or tending tulips, the FFP ushers in a new era in which workers are equipped with a deep understanding of their rights on the job, the tools to report abuses when they take place, and the power to ensure those rights are made real every day. Smoky Mountain Farms, one of the Fair Food Program’s newest partners, announced a major acquisition in Tennessee and has proudly committed to expanding the groundbreaking protections of the Fair Food Program to hundreds of new workers in the process. For more exciting news, go to ciw-online.org.

When will YMCA Cooking Resume?

We don’t yet know. It is up to the YMCA to determine when volunteers will be allowed inside the building to help cook again. Currently, First UU is delivering food, which the YMCA staff are preparing and serving.

When will Faith Mission Cooking Resume?

On Faith Mission’s side, they are currently allowing groups to make food and drop it off, but not serve it to the residents yet. It will be up to Faith Mission to determine when they will allow volunteers to serve residents again.

On First UU’s side, two factors are currently delaying First UU’s ability to cook and drop off food at Faith Mission. First, most of the church, including spaces that volunteers would need to use for cooking, is currently being used by the two schools (Red Oak and School for Young Children), as they have spread out over the campus to prevent an outbreak while still meeting in person. So, cooking will not resume at least until after school ends at the end of May. Second, our reopening taskforce has determined that small groups may only meet in the building while the rate of new Covid-19 cases in Franklin County is below 10 per 100,000 population. (GREEN or YELLOW COVID Risk Levels). So, depending on the level of COVID risk in Franklin County, cooking could resume (with approval and appropriate safety protocol) as early as June, but it may take longer.

We are doing our best as a community to follow the science and to find safe ways to reconnect in person. The first ways we will be able to meet in person will be in small groups outside, with small groups inside following as safety permits. In the meantime, we have been financially supporting Faith Mission, so they have been able to continue feeding residents during the pandemic.