Monday, April 15, 2013

In the wake of tragedy at the Boston Marathon...

Sending thoughts and prayers to the victims and all affected by the tragic explosions at the Boston Marathon...

Today we can also remember with gratitude and hope those people who actually ran toward the sights and sounds of the danger to assist the wounded... people who went to hospitals to give blood... people who reached out to offer comfort and hospitality and assistance in any way they could. 

It is good to remember these acts of courage and kindness. 

If it is helpful... here's a link to an article about how to talk with children about tragic events. 

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday, April 16) there will be a candlelight vigil at Arlington Street Church (UU) in Boston, a few blocks from Copley Square, address 351 Boylston Street, directions at this link

At the UU Congregation in Andover, there will be a UU Vespers service on Thursday, April 18 from 7-8 p.m.  We will have a contemplative service of meditation and prayer in the wake of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  Directions at this link.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rally for Immigration Reform, Today!

This is where I'll be today... Honored to be a part of this.  We'll start at Faneuil Hall in Boston, and march to the JFK Federal Building. Facebook event page LINK.

11:00 AM – 11:05 AM  Rocio Saenz, President of SEIU Local 615
Rocio Sáenz is President of SEIU Local 615, which represents 18,000 property service workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.  Rocio has been fighting for worker rights and community empowerment most of her adult life.  Rocio will discuss the national framework for the immigration reform campaign and the importance of the April 6th event in Boston as a kickoff to an April 10th event in Washington, DC and other future events. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino (staff member spoke in his stead)

United States Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III

Uncertainty and Isolation presentation by Ciara Lavery, Member of Irish International Immigrant Center
Family Separation presentation by Ciara Lavery, Member of Irish International Immigrant Center. Ciara came to this country from Ireland at the age of 19 and spent more than a decade as an undocumented immigrant. She will discuss the high emotional and personal cost of being separated from one’s family, living with the idea that reconnection with family means leaving the life built in America behind and the uncertainty and isolation of the modern undocumented immigrant.

DACA story by Enos Mullings, member of Essex County Community Organization
Enos was born in the Bahamas but is of Jamaican descent. While in High School, he left his parents behind in New York in search of a better education and opportunities, so he moved to Lynn. He became aware of his status when friends began part time jobs while in school. Now a college graduate and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status holder, he shares the story of how he got where he is today.

Survivor profile by Dora Orellana, member of REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
Dora is a domestic violence survivor. She knows firsthand the fear that comes with being an undocumented immigrant and and being a victim twice – the first at the hand of her abuser, the second due to a broken system that could deport her.

Family Separation by Antonia Cordova, Executive Board Member of SEIU Local 615
Antonia, a leader within the SEIU 615 Local, will provide testimony from her personal experience listening to her daughter grow up over the phone, rather than in person.  She will share her story on missing out on the formative years of her daughter’s childhood.

Rocio Saenz, President of SEIU Local 615
Rocio will give closing remarks on the importance of what we have heard and stress the need to remain engaged and that more immigration reform events will come.  Attendees will be prepared to march to the Federal Building, site of immigration courts and detention proceedings.

Marching Through Streets of Boston to Federal Building

Closing Remarks and Prayer, Reverend Lara Hoke, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover
Reverend Lara Hoke is a Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Board member in addition to serving as Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover. She is an advocate on a variety of issues including issues of peace-making; environmental justice; anti-racism; and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. Reverend Hoke will give closing remarks and a closing prayer prior to flowers being laid at the entrance of the JFK Federal Building.

Flowers Laid by Marchers – End Program

Addendum:  Link to Boston Globe article on the rally.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Coming Out and Keeping the Faith - April 3!

From the Press Release:
"An evening of dialogue titled "Coming Out and Keeping the Faith" will be presented by the local faith coalition, LGBTQ Welcoming Communities of Faith ("Welcoming Faiths") on Wednesday, April 3, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill campus. 
"The mission of the Welcoming Faiths coalition is to promote equality and inclusiveness for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning/Queer individuals and families, and to reach out and assist those seeking a spiritual home. The lay-led group has been active since 2011 and includes 10 member congregations in the Merrimack Valley, representing the Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Methodist and Jewish denominations.
"Since religion is the main reason cited when family members reject their relatives who 'come out', the focus of the program will be on how faith can help people respond in a positive rather than negative way, building bridges to greater understanding. A panel of youth and clergy of various denominations will participate in the discussion.
"The free event is co-sponsored by the Gay/Straight Alliance of Northern Essex Community College and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) of Greater Boston. The Haverhill campus of NECC is located at 100 Elliott St."