- Brockton Interfaith – Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC)
- BSU Pride Center
- BSU Social Justice League
- Equal Exchange – delicious fairly traded, organic products!
- International Day of Peace – September 21, annually
- Raise Up Massachusetts – working to get earned sick time & a higher min wage on the ballot in 2014
- Standing on the Side of Love – campaign promoting respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
- UU Mass Action – We believe that our faith calls us to change the world.
- Unitarian Universalist Association – We are Unitarian Universalists. We are brave, curious, and compassionate thinkers and doers.
Social Justice Committee
Members: Pearl Cohen, Sonia D’Alarcao, Susan Holton, Janet Dye, Frankie Finnegan, Betty Gilson, Mary Pendleton, Angela Sheble, Yasmeen Thompson, Rev. Rachel Tedesco.
The core Social Justice Committee has expanded its work to several new ventures this year. However, some of
our long time activities continue. A faithful group of volunteers prepares 100 lunches each month for MainSpring
House Homeless Shelter in Brockton, though the cast may vary from month to month.
Every fall we host a social gathering for the GLBTA Office at Bridgewater State University (BSU) in conjunction
with the director Lee Forest. This year’s afternoon “Tea” was especially well attended and enthusiastic. As a
response to this meeting, Sam Baumgarten led a special dance program at the university which was highly
successful and will be repeated. Also some of us attended a Pride Center Safe Zone Training program to become
officially recognized allies.
We also continue to inform the congregation about the work of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
(UUSC), especially through the Guest at Your Table program every November. Each spring the committee
organizes a March worship service to further advance the aims of the UUSC. This year Laura Wagner, executive
director of U U Mass Action spoke on Social Justice as a Spiritual Practice.
The Social Justice Bulletin Board in the Upper Parish Hall displays the work of the several branches during the
year. Special actions of each group are highlighted as they occur. Be sure to check out the changing messages.
Ben Carson, Chair of the BSU English Department, arranged appearances in Bridgewater by Margaret Regan,
author of The Death of Josseline, a Common Read of the UUA. Through the efforts of the SJC, First Parish
hosted one event on Sept. 17, a reading and lecture by Ms. Regan on her new book Detained and Departed. Both
books deal with the fate of undocumented immigrants arriving in the U S border states. Committee members also
entertained and provided transportation for her during her visit.
The SJC members, with suggestions from the congregation, select the charities to receive half of the undesignated
collection each month. These are area organizations except when there is some special major need (such as last
year’s Ebola outbreak).
Here are your generous Share the Plate donations this year.
May & June 2015 Matthew 25:40 $521.14
July & Aug. 2015 SJC for MS lunches 146.73
Sept. & Oct. 2015 Brockton Interfaith Communities 400.03
Nov. 2015 UU Mass Action 246.69
Dec. 2015 Partner Church in Haranglab 161.43
Jan. 2016 Father Bill’s & MainSpring House 264.23
for Overnights of Hospitality
Feb. 2016 Mass Bail Fund 300.00
March 2016 UU Mass Action 310.47
April & May Kids to Camp (Still being tallied, but over $700.00.)
In addition several congregants made generous donations to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee both
individually and as part of the Guest at Your Table program for a total of $1,387.35.
In the previous year, First Parish became an official member of the Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC). As our
liaison, Rev. Rachel has continued to work with BIC and has encouraged our involvement. The three major areas
of involvement over the past year were:
(1) The Raise Up Massachusetts Campaign for the Fair Share Amendment. In the fall of 2015, a
small team of church volunteers collected 151 signatures of registered voters in Bridgewater and
other area towns to get the amendment on the 2018 ballot. This amendment to the state
constitution would allow a higher tax rate on millionaires. This would significantly increase
state funding for education and transportation. On May 18, the Legislature voted in the
Constitutional Convention to advance the Fair Share Amendment (by a vote of 135 to 57) to the
2018 ballot. Success!
(2) Immigrant Rights. The Federal Immigration & Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency has been
arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants, even if they are not guilty of a crime.
Because local police and county sheriffs often cooperate with ICE, this has caused tremendous
fear within the immigrant community. It is the cause of a major breakdown in trust in law
enforcement officials, and an increase in unreported and unsolved crime. BIC is requesting a
meeting with Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald to ask him not to sign an agreement with
ICE. Members of our congregation co-signed a letter to Sheriff McDonald in support of BIC’s
(3) Jobs Not Jails. This has been a major focus of both BIC and UU Mass Action, members of the
statewide Jobs Not Jails (JNJ) Coalition. (Note: Except for the $1500 Larceny Threshold Bill
(S.2176), the bills they support differ.) On October 14, Eileen Hiney and Rev. Rachel went into
Boston for a JNJ Rally and Lobby Day. They visited our local state senators and reps to ask for
their support for the Justice Reinvestment Act, an omnibus bill aimed at ending incarceration
and increasing programs which help people stay out of prison and become productive members
of society. The RMV reform bill passed so the formerly incarcerated can get their drivers
licenses back more easily. And it looks like other parts of the omnibus bill have a good chance
of passing this legislative session. On May 7, Rev. Rachel attended a JNJ meeting at MCAN
Headquarters in Boston to discuss various bills before the Legislature. On May 26, Rev. Rachel
went to the Statehouse again for a second Lobby Day to push for the parts of the bill that are
“stuck” in the House Ways & Means Committee. The deadline for their release is July 31st. A
new round of bills is being planned for the 2017 legislative session.
As noted above, money from September/October 2015 Share the Plate covered our BIC dues.
UU Mass Action –On April 12, Betty Gilson, Eileen Hiney and Rev. Rachel attended the annual UU Mass Action
Advocacy Day in Boston. This began at the Arlington Street UU church and ended with lobbying at the
Statehouse around issues of ending mass incarceration, climate justice, economic justice and immigrants. We
brought many letters of support from members of the congregation who couldn’t attend.