Notes from the Social Justice Team for August 28, 2020

The Shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Protests, and “Patriot militia” killings—We were saddened and angered, but not shocked when Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin in front of his three sons.  Blake had broken up a fight between two white women but when police arrived they ignored them and went after the respected neighborhood peacemaker.  We were not shocked because it is the continuing story of unabated racist policing despite a summer of protests that Black Lives Matter.  When outrage erupted on the streets peaceful protesters and those filled with rage mingled.  Fires burned, including one next door to the Bradford Community Church, UU whose illuminated sign reading Black Lives Matter also burned.  In a brave statement the minister and board said “Despite the fact that we cannot condone violent response to injustice, we understand and appreciate the anger and frustration that fueled the events of last night. While we are relieved that our church home mostly survived the inferno in the lot next door, we affirm that we would rather lose 100 buildings than one more life to police violence.”  The next night a teen from Antioch, a police fan-boy, Trump supporter, and militia recruit went to Kenosha and killed two protesters and wounded another with an assault rifle he carried openly all night.  He, and other militia members had been welcomed by the police as allies.  They made no attempt to disarm them.  And after the shooting allowed the boy to walk unmolested through their line despite screams that he had just killed people.  He was finally arrested the next day in Illinois.  Tucker Carlson on Fox news declared him a hero.  We stand with Jacob Blake’s family and community, with the families of those killed by the teen wanabe Rambo, and affirm our commitment to Black Lives Matter and combat systematic racism.  We will follow the young people of McHenry County who planned and staged peaceful BLM protests earlier this summer who will be planning a measured local responses.  The Social Justice Team, and I hope the entire congregation, stands ready to follow their leadership.  We will keep you informed of local actions.

Compassion For Campers—The next Faith Leaders of McHenry and Compassion for Campers distributions of camping gear and supplies will be held at:

First United Methodist Church3717 Main St, McHenry
3:30-5 pm Tuesday, September 1

St. Ann’s Episcopal Church503 W. Jackson, Woodstock
3:30-5 pm Tuesday, September 15

Download and print a flyer for distribution where ever the homeless might gather.   For More information contact Patrick Murfin at pmurfin@sbcglobal.net  or phone 815 814-5645.  Donations to continue this work can be made by sending a check made out to Tree of Life UU Congregation with Compassion for Campers on the memo line to the church.

Mark your calendars! To commemorate the 100th anniversary of women winning the vote, McHenry County Citizens for Choice (MCCC) is planning a Zoom program on September 26 (10:00 AM Central) featuring Elaine Weiss, author of The Women’s the Great Fight to Win the Vote’s Hour. Tree of Life, along with The League of Women Voters of McHenry County, McHenry County Now and North/Northwest Suburban Chicago NOW is co-sponsoring the event. More info to follow.

Northern Illinois Food Bank—The food pantries serving McHenry County have been overwhelmed with a 30% jump in usage a loss of surplus food donations from restaurants and groceries.  In addition to supplying local food banks, they are also supporting food truck deliveries at several local congregations including our neighbors at Holy Apostle Church.  The Social Justice Team and the Board would like you to consider making a contribution to the Northern Illinois Food Bank which services all McHenry County pantries.  All contributions are tax-deductible. To make a gift by mail, send your check made out to Northern Illinois Food Bank to 273 Dearborn Court, Geneva, IL  60134.  To make a gift by phone, call (630) 443-6910.  To donate on-line visit this link

Second Sunday Collections—Our July Second Sunday collection went to Continuing the Conversation of Racial Healing in Northern Illinois. On September 13 our Second Sunday Recipient will be McHenry County Citizens for Choice (MCCC.)  Thank you for your continuing support of these worthy causes and groups,

UU the Vote—Our UU the Vote project will once again participate in a turn-out-the-vote postcard project with hand written and addressed cards being sent to registered voters in Wisconsin and Michigan, and now other battleground states.  In each state cards will alert voters to vote-by-mail options.  Post cards, a message to copy, and targeted addresses will be provided.  We are asking you to provide postage of 35 cents each which can be ordered for home delivery from the USPS here.  If you are interested in signing up to send 20 or more cards contact Lisa Messinger at Lmessing1@gmail.com . 

Illinois Fair Tax –Our partners in UU the Vote at the UU Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI) are encouraging us to educate voters in our own state on question which will be on the November ballot we encourage people to phone bank on this issue.  “We know that when voters hear about the Fair Tax – they support it. Talking directly to Illinois voters is the way to have the most impact in November. We need everyone to get involved to talk to voters all over the state to share why passing a Fair Tax is important to you and getting them to commit to Vote Yes with us! When you phone bank with us – we make it fun and easy. And you can do it with us from home! Help us make sure everyone knows that this November we can vote to fix our broken, old tax system and pass a Fair Tax that will help us make critical investments in our communities and give anyone under $250,000 a tax cut, while asking the top 3% to pay their fair share. Join us every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6-8pm on a Zoom call where we will do a short training and provide you with the tools you need to directly talk to voters easily from the comfort of your own home.  Can you join me and take action? Click here.

Vote by Mail and Voter Registration—The Coronavirus pandemic has put traditional election practices at risk, but Illinois has approved Vote by Mail for the November election.  Most registered voters received forms to request a vote by mail ballot this week.  Please promptly fill out the request and use the enclosed envelope to send it to the McHenry County Clerk as soon as possible you can also make a request on line at IllinoisVotes2020.com  and click on the button that says “Request your Vote by Mail Application.”  If your or any one in your family needs to register to vote, make a change of address, or a name change visit the McHenry County Clerk’s office in person or register to vote on line at the State Board of Elections.

End Contract for ICE Detention at McHenry County Jail—A final vote on a resolution to end the County’s contract to house detained immigrants will be held at the regular Board meeting on Tuesday, September 15 a 7 pm.  The Law and Government Committee voted against District 4 Board Member Carlos Acosta’s motion in July, but Board Chair Jack Franks has placed to issue before the whole board anyway.  At a recent Committee of the Whole discussion many board members were hostile and critical of citizens for even bringing the issue.  Our partners at recent Anti-ICE actions in Woodstock and our long-time partners from the Interfaith Community for Detained Imigrants urge us to contact our board members and if possible attend the meeting to make strong statement in favor of the resolution.  They especially encourage messages to the following members:

Yvonne Barnes: https://tinyurl.com/ICEbarnes

Joe Gottemoller: https://tinyurl.com/ICEGottemoller

Kay Bates: https://tinyurl.com/ICEbates

Stephen Doherty: https://tinyurl.com/ICEdoherty

Michael Skala: https://tinyurl.com/ICEskala

To make sure the e-mails sent from the links are read, “include your own unique subject line (Shut ICE down, End ICE, etc.) and one unique sentence that shares why you believe ICE needs to go. This way, your emails won’t be marked as spam.” Phone calls can also be made.  Board members contact information can be found here.

Chalice House—The Chalice House refugee sanctuary sponsored by Countryside UU Congregation in Palatine and our friends at the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants (ICDI) is hosting their first family, refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who were recently released from detention in Texas pending their appeal to have their asylum claim heard.

Donate here for household items the guests might need.  Chalice House will also be our October Second Sunday Partner.

Social Justice Team Meeting—The Social Justice Team will meet by Zoom on Wednesday September 16 at 7 pm.

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