By Gabriel Gelb
On July 20, the Sunday sermon at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church was delivered by the Rev. Chuck Freeman, an Austin UU minister and half-time executive director of the Texas UU Justice Ministry.
Chuck described how our fledgling start-up—now 20 congregations strong and growing—is working hard to make an impact in Austin. The group’s advisory board, two members from each congregation, has prioritized three issues: expanding Medicaid coverage for low-income Texas families, women’s health issues, and income inequality. Other concerns are public education funding, protesting creationism concepts in school textbooks, standing firm against anti-immigration actions, and successfully supporting the funding of long-term job training for low wage workers through local community colleges.
At the start of the 2015 Legislative session, we’ll be holding a Rally Day in Austin. More details later.
It’s a long list, but real social justice was never easy. Ask the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the UU ministers and members who created the environment for passage of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964.
I know that many folks wonder what good they can accomplish against the prevailing sentiments in our Legislature. Yes, we are rowing upstream, but little by little our voices are letting our legislators know there are church folks committed to UU values. An additional benefit is the other focus of the TXUUJM: educating us as members of congregations concerning statewide issues.
I’m proud that Emerson conceived and was a founding organization of the TXUUJM. This work follows our success in establishing the Harris County Drug Court Foundation (whose board officer, Devon Anderson, is now Harris County District Attorney.)
This is the meaning of social justice: attempting to make systemic changes that lift up the disadvantaged You can help by sending a check to this 501 (c) (3) organization:
Texas UU Justice Ministry Education Network
P.O. Box 1621
Austin, TX 78767
The motto of the Texas UU Justice Ministry is: Bending Texas towards Justice. I hope it expresses your own belief in our first UU principle: “We support and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person.”