Social Justice Team – Opportunities to Learn & Act – August 12, 2018 Update

August 13, 2018 |

Yesterday, Jubilee! celebrated its 29th anniversary. I first came to a celebration in the fall of 1996 after I moved here in late July. I wasn’t looking for a faith community, certainly not one that was Christian based since I was brought up Jewish, but I was struck on my first visit by the humor, the hugs, and a not-so-bald guy who kept talking about “keeping the main thing the main thing”.

For me, the main thing has over the years become how might I help make the world a better place, and I saw Jubilee! as a faith community that believed that as well. I was also looking for community, and that is something else that Jubilee! has offered to me. I’m not sure if I ever quoted a Bible verse before, but I think a version of this comes from the new Testament: “from whom much is given, much is expected”.
I know I offered this song in last week’s Update, but I think “We are Here” is always appropriate to help us reconnect with what our purpose is.

     This year’s November election is coming quickly. Watch for our voting table in the Hospitality Room the Sunday after Labor Day and every Sunday afterward until the November election. We will be there to register people, get people to “pledge to vote“, and answer questions about voting. In the meantime, here are several opportunities if you are interested in helping or want to learn more.
  1. There will be a repeat of the “What’s on the Ballot” forum this Thursdayevening, August 16th, starting at 6 pm, at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. Here is a link to that Facebook page to RSVP. If you are not on Facebook and want to go or have questions, feel free to contact me at 828-768-4559 or via email. Here are some Fast FactsDemocracy NC has put together about how dangerous they believe four of those amendments could be if the voters approve.
  2. Want to have fun, learn about campaign finance reform, and support Haywood Street Congregation? This Friday, August 17th, starting at 7 pm. “Go Granny D” will be performed at the Block off Biltmore. Check out this press release for details.
  3. Want to know about voting events? Check out the Buncombe/WNC Voter Engagement Coalition’s  calendar that lists events, activities, candidate forums and workshops to help us navigate voting. I encourage you to check this out on a regular basis.

Fair Wages 
    Efforts are happening locally, regionally, and statewide to raise the minimum wage to $15 in the next 5 years. It will not be an easy task, but if you want to help that happen, contact Michael Smith (828-575-7963), leader of our Fair Wages issue group.
Black women make 66 cents on the dollar compared to white men as the Economic Policy Institute states. Here’s the blog post that provides details.

Homelessness and Affordable Housing 
    Last Sunday, about 10 Jubilants visited Haywood Street Congregation to learn, take a tour, and eat at their welcome table. It was a wonder-full experience for me. This good organization, just like Jubilee!, has and is a caring community. If you are interested in supporting them, check out WelcomeFest 2018 on Wednesday, August 22nd. The link offers details. Hope to see you then.

Women’s Rights
     The Buncombe County Women’s Commission wants to hear from you. What are the top things affecting the well-being of you and your family? What do you want our County Commissioners to know? Here is a link to the 2018 Women’s Agenda Assembly on Saturday, August 25th, starting at 9 am, at Stephens-Lee Community Center. This is a free event, but people are asked to register.

Health Care
     The NC Council of Churches is sponsoring the WNC March to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st, starting at 3:30 pm in Waynesville. Here are the details.

Racial Justice
     This is not exactly around race, but it is focused on a topic that often is connected – privilege. This article from the Des Moines Register talks about the “Religious Liberty Task Force” that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has put in place. He made the following claim: “A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.” The response is worth reading.
Having discussions about racism with the Imperial Wizard of the KKK sounds both scary and, quite frankly, ridiculous. We might ask what could possibly be accomplished, but Daryl Davis has been doing this for quite a while, and this pieceillustrates his remarkable actions. It is well worth reading. Here’s a video of Mr. Davis being interviewed if you prefer to listen than read.

Ways to Support Social Justice in Your Daily Life
  1. Support businesses and organizations who pay a living wage. Here is the list of Certified Living Wage Employers in WNC broken down by type of business.
  2. Spirit Airlines offers a $10,000 grant to worthy nonprofits. Right now, they have a contest going where members of a community can vote for one of four nonprofits everyday through August 23rd. Here is a link with the information to vote. Just scroll down to see organizations.

Ways to Learn and Act!
     Our bulletin board in Jubilee!’s Hospitality Room is updated regularly, but at the beginning of each month, we will add new facts and ways to take action. Check out what is posted for many of our social justice issues, and if you have something you think should be included, let me (Ron) know.

Quote of the Week

We all need positive statements to live by, and here is a quote from one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, who practiced this during his life:

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”