Justice Update: Nehemiah Action Tomorrow!

Dear First UU,

I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was peaceful, healing, restful, and joy-filled, in whatever ways you needed it to be for you.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow evening, Tuesday May 10 from 6:45-8:30 at the Celeste Center for our BREAD Nehemiah Action! (Bus leaves from First UU at 6pm.)

It’s not too late¬†to¬†get your ticket¬†– or, if you were already planning to come, it’s not too late to volunteer (email¬†lauren@thedartcenter.org)!

If you’ve never heard of the Nehemiah Action before, I encourage you to come – it’s a great opportunity to¬†learn more about justice work¬†being done around our city by First UUers working together with people from many faith traditions.

If you’ve heard about Nehemiah for years but never come before, I encourage you that¬†this is a particularly impactful year¬†to come! There is a lot of federal money coming into the city, and together, we can convict our community leaders to spend it on truly affordable housing and create opportunity for¬†everyone¬†in Central Ohio.

If you are an occasional Nehemiah attendee, I want to let you know that we really need your support this year! Nehemiah works when we can show our people power, but because of the pandemic, it has been much harder to get as large a group as past years.

And if you need one more reason to come, you could come out to support¬†my son River and I, who will be doing the opening this year¬†along with two other faith leaders ūüôā

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

Amanda Hays
Justice Coordinator

Nehemiah Action

Date: Tuesday, May 10
Time: 6:45-8:30 pm
Location: the Celeste Center, 717 E 17th Ave
Columbus, OH 43211
RSVP:¬†You need a ticket¬†(it’s free and easy online)

Parking is limited, so it’s a good idea to bike, bus or take the First UU bus if you can, carpool if you can’t. It takes¬†forever¬†to get into and out of that parking lot if you drive, though that is also an option. I also have in the past driven on the backroads to a side street near the Celeste Center and walked or biked from there.

This year, BREAD’s issues include: affordable housing, police earning community trust, flooding and extreme heat due to climate change, and I.D. for all.

Further Details

First UU BUS:
The bus is finally confirmed Рthanks for your patience! It will leave First UU’s Weisheimer lot at 6:00 pm. The total cost is $262, so individual cost will be $5.00/person as in the past w/tips happily accepted since $5 per person does not cover the total sum. The $5.00 will be collected at the bus by Marylou MacDonald and Marilyn Beerman.

Signups are encouraged since the bus seats 48, no more.

Email Alice Rathburn (eulala1905@me.com) to let her know ASAP if you’d like to sign up that way. We expect the bus to fill up fast!

We encourage First UUers to wear our bright yellow Side with Love T-Shirts to the action.

No Zoom or simultaneous YouTube broadcast.

Vaccine cards are not required. Masking is encouraged. There will be a Masks Only Section of seating (seating map available soon. Additional bleacher seating will be open. All doors will be open. Ventilation system will be running (but not AC).

First UU will have a section on the main floor. Alternate rows will be eliminated and social distancing encouraged. Bring signs to place on X number of seats on either side of your party if you wish.

No concessions. (Bring your own snacks and/or eat before the event.)

No child care will be provided. Separate families area designated and ‚Äútime away‚ÄĚ room for those needing a break.

50-car parking section for immunocompromised/medically compromised people and others riding along with them. There must be at least one immunocompromised or medically compromised person in the car to reserve a spot. Will not be able to see proceedings but will be able to hear (on car radio or mobile phone, details TBA) and participate with car horns. Must get tickets online (limited quantity available).

Street Seder Pics

In April, First UU’s Eco-Justice Focus Group partnered with Sukkat Shalom, the Jewish group meeting in our building, along with Simply Living, UUJO, Faith in Public Life, and others for a Street Seder asking Chase, the largest investor in fossil fuels, to “move their dough” to invest in the future of our planet and all who live here.

It was pretty chilly (including some thematically appropriate hail), but we had more than 40 participants, including around 10 First UUers! It was a creative and moving event, and I look forward to future partnerships of this sort!

Check out these¬†beautiful pictures, curtesy of Julian Halliday, especially the signs with the artistic renditions of these “fossil-fueled plagues,” reinterpreted from the Jewish story of Passover, which we all want to avoid:

  1. Blood – Water poisoned by coal ash, oil, and gas pipeline spills, and the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing.
  2.  Frogs РDestruction of wetlands  and the habitat of the plants and animals who live there.
  3. Lice – Further spread of disease-carrying pests, ‚Äúvectors‚ÄĚ for infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, malaria, Zika, and more.
  4. Wild Animals- Or in this case, wildfires roaming further and longer, consuming everything in their wake.
  5. Pestilence – The loss of biodiversity – the extinction of plant and animal species, critical to the intricate web of life.
  6. Boils – Punishing heatwaves, leading to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and sometimes even death.
  7.  Hail РMore powerful storms, hurricanes,  and historic flooding.
  8. Locusts – Crop failures made worse by climate change-fueled drought, heat, and pests.
  9. Darkness – Air pollution from oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and other fossil fuel facilities increasing the risk of asthma attacks, and cases of heart and lung disease.
  10. Death of the First Born – Lives are at stake. And as is too often the case, those on the frontline of the climate crisis – Black, Brown, Indigneous, and low-income communities –¬† are harmed FIRST and worst.

Take Action Page

If you haven’t yet, please check out our “Take Action” page on First UU’s website.¬†¬†Just click on the “Justice” tab, then click “Take Action.”

Update: Newly added justice opportunities are now clearly marked¬†“NEW”

We will keep it updated so that opportunities to take action that you see are current. Click here to check it out!


Justice Coordinator: Amanda Hays, amanda@firstuucolumbus.org
JAM Chair: Lynda Smith, rev.lyndasmith@gmail.com
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Network Coordinator: Tamara Parson, tamara@firstuucolumbus.org

Focus Groups:
BREAD Contact:
 Alice Rathburn, eulala1905@me.com, (614) 563-0536
Democracy & Human Rights Contact: Chris Johnston, contact-democracyandhumanrights@firstuucolumbus.org
Environmental Justice and Sustainability Contact: Elaine Fujimura and Erica Barnett Morrison,  contact-ecojustice@firstuucolumbus.org
Food (In)security Contact: Jacques Angelino, 614-439-0245, by email: Stuart Smith, contact-foodinsecurity@firstuucolumbus.org
Healthcare Contact: Alice Faryna, alice.faryna@gmail.com
Racial Justice and Immigration Contact:  Jan Phillips, contact-racialjusticeandimmigration@firstuucolumbus.org