TODAY: Rally at the Broadway Bridge for Add the Words

Come to the Broadway Bridge (Key Bank end) at noon today for a rally to support the Add the Words Capital protestors. At 12:04 pm, we will line the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge, facing west, and covering our mouths with our hands in silence.

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Comments Due for UUA Reproductive Justice CSAI

The UUA comment period for the Reproductive Justice Congregational Study Action/Issue closes March 3rd.

A Congregational Study Action/Issue (CSAI) is an issue chosen by the delegates to the UUA General Assembly (GA) for UU congregations to study, ponder, think about, and act on. The current CSAI on Reproductive Justice was chosen at the 2012 GA. The comments that are currently being taken will inform workshops to be presented at the 2014 GA. Later, in November, a draft Statement of Conscience will be prepared for congregations to vote on in 2015 and to be presented at the 2015 GA. If approved, the Statement of Conscience will be acted on by UU congregations in 2015 and 2016. A new CSAI will be chosen for consideration at this year’s GA to be the possible Statement of Conscience for 2016.

The Reproductive Justice Issue (from the UUA website)

Reproductive rights and health services are seriously under attack nationally. Reproductive Justice represents a broader analysis of racial, economic, cultural, and structural constraints on women’s power. The right to have children, to not have children, and to parent children in safe and healthy environments is a human right.

Follow the link above to read the entire CSAI. If you have thoughts on the CSAI, leave them in the comments or contact me.

Transgender People in the Media

I ran across a very interesting article today, on a website called In These Times, about the portrayal of transgender people, and transgender women in particular, in the media.

From the article:

(B)elieve trans people when they tell you their gender.

And don’t focus on medical transition, especially when it’s not relevant. There is so much more to our lives. We also need to move away from press coverage that’s both objectifying and relentlessly negative. Tell stories about trans women that focus on their accomplishments or more mundane aspects of their lives. I know so many brilliant trans women doing incredible things, despite what they’ve faced. Tell these stories.

I genuinely believe that media that represents us on our own terms and as full human beings will go a long way to combat the dangerous dehumanization of trans women and the oppression that comes with it.

I highly recommend reading the entire article.

Difficult Discussion: The Failure of School Integration in America

Last week, I came across an article on Slate about the failure of American schools to integrate in the 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education. This is a hard conversation to have, but the author of the Slate article argues that busing was not the answer to segregated schools, and integration was doomed from the beginning since it depended on busing. He also argues that the black middle class was (almost) just as against busing as the white middle class — they wanted the end of segregation to be high-quality education for their children, like white middle-class children were getting, not busing to schools with average education and average students who just happened to be white.

My quick summary is definitely not doing justice to the original, thoughtful essay, and you should definitely read the whole thing.

Please share in the comments your experience of the American school system, and its segregation, integration, or something else entirely as you have experienced it.

New Liberal Vocabulary

If you read social justice works from the 1960s or 70s (or if you were around then) you’ll notice that the vocabulary of social justice has changed in the intervening decades. For example, privilege (with an emphasis on the benefits individuals derive from their position in the social hierarchy) is now used, instead of oppression (with an emphasis on the disadvantages accruing to large groups of people due to the system).

In general, the new vocabulary words emphasize the individual, as opposed to the old vocabulary emphasizing the collective and the group.

I highly recommend reading the entire article, The Rise of the Post-New Left Political Vocabulary on The Public Autonomy Project, a project of Stephen D’Arcy, a philosophy professor at Huron University College in London, Ontario.

The thing I have noticed is that both vocabularies stem from the particular way of thinking that goes along with a generation and the events that affect that generation. The old vocabulary comes from the Baby Boom generation, while the new vocabulary comes from the Millenial generation. As someone who doesn’t really fit in those generations (or any one, really, as a very young Gen Xer), I find that none of the vocabulary really speaks to me and the way I think, although I definitely feel more comfortable with the new vocabulary. How about you? Which vocabulary speaks to you more? Which one are you most comfortable with? Please share in the comments.

Protesters Arrested in Idaho Capital Building

Police in Boise today arrested 43 people for blocking the entrance to the Idaho Senate in the Idaho Capital Building. The protesters were asking that words be added to the Idaho Human Rights Act protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination. Among those arrested were former Idaho legislator Nicole LeFavour. Read the full AP article here.

Intersex Movement Gains Ground

There is a movement, called the intersex movement, to stop assigning gender at birth (through surgery) to children born with ambiguous genitalia. Germany just passed a law to allow birth certificates to be marked with a third gender (X) for intersex children. Read more in a Slate article.

Interested in Workers’ Rights? A website to check out

IWJ Prayer Vigil for Employee Free Choice

IWJ Prayer Vigil for Employee Free Choice (Photo credit: aflcio)

Economic Justice: When all workers have equal rights, fair pay, and good working conditions, regardless of race, religion, class, age, gender/sexual identity, or any other factors.

If you are interested in working for economic justice, then you might be interested in this organization: Interfaith Worker Justice. They are currently working for the rights of Walmart workers, hotel workers, and home care workers. Check out their blog, and sign up for email updates!

Meeting Next Sunday

Next Sunday (Sept. 22) at 3 pm at the UU Church in IF, the UUCIF Social Justice Committee will meet. Please come! We have lots of exciting projects to work on.

  • Postcard project to send to the Idaho Board of Correction
  • Reaching out to restaurant owners — what do they need from employees? Long-term, we want to create a training program for low-skilled workers to gain the skills they need for successful employment at restaurants
  • the Social Justice Calendar of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Come make a difference in your life and your community!

Pride Parade Today was Amazing!

The Pride Parade today was amazing! There were so many, many people there (between 700 and 850) and so much good energy! I am so excited that such a thing could happen here in Idaho Falls!

I walked in the parade carrying a Standing on the Side of Love banner (wearing a matching shirt). Were you in the parade? What did your sign say, if you carried one? Share in the comments. If you have photos of the parade to share, please contact me and I will arrange to get them from you by email so I can post them here.

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