Media roundup: Holding New Orleans suspects and victims in ‘the circle of love’

Media roundup: Holding New Orleans suspects and victims in ‘the circle of love’

A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.

Sonja L. Cohen


Following the violent mugging of two UUA employees who were in New Orleans for General Assembly in June, the Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger, a UU community minister with the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal, wrote a piece arguing that the failure to adequately support traumatized children post-Hurricane Katrina was “a recipe for tragedy.” She quotes new UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray, who wrote in a call for compassion: "No one is outside the circle of love." ( Times-Picayune– 6.30.17)

During a bond hearing for the four men accused of the attack, UUs filled a row in the court, several of them wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts. “We wanted to show up for restorative justice,” said Jolanda Walter. “We wanted to advocate for a reasonable bond for all four. We don’t want these young men thrown away.” Walter and others said the victims’ families were consulted before they attended the hearing. Despite the UUs’ presence, prosecutors sought a high bail; the “main attacker,” Dejuan Paul, is being held on a total bail of $255,000. ( New Orleans Advocate– 6.30.17)

See also: “$255K bond set for 'main attacker' in French Quarter robbery” ( Times-Picayune– 6.30.17)

Educating boys essential to preventing rape

The Our Whole Lives sexuality education curricula—developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ—features prominently in an article about the importance of talking to boys about the importance of consent. ( Quartz– 6.30.17)

In the congregations

The stunning Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, has resumed tours following the completion of an extensive $23 million renovation that restored it to its original 1908 glory. ( Chicago Tribune– 7.2.17)

Northwest UU Church in Southfield, Michigan, is one of a few area churches that have implemented green practices with the help of Michigan Interfaith Power and Light. ( C&G Newspapers- 7.5.17)

The UU Congregation of Greater Naples, Florida, hosted about 50 people for a forum about racism and the need for criminal justice reform. ( Naples Daily News- 7.5.17)

LGBTQ issues

Research on American attitudes about bias found that black people and Hispanic people are more likely to sympathize with the struggles of the LGBTQ community than white people. Among the data collected, it showed that white Christians are the least likely to perceive discrimination against LGBTQ Americans, while UUs, black Protestants, and unaffiliated Americans were most likely to perceive it. ( LGBTQ Nation– 7.5.17)

Activist and UU Lori Kunze organized an LGBTQ group, Pride of Edmonds, to march in her city’s Fourth of July parade, but she’d like to see the city start hosting a dedicated Pride parade. ( Edmonds Beacon– 6.29.17)

Activists dress like Atwood’s Handmaids

People protesting the Republican agenda—especially around issues of women’s health and reproductive justice—have been dressing in the distinctive costumes of the Handmaids from the new TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The show’s costume designer reacts to the phenomenon in this article, in which UU Erin Walter describes the experience of dressing as a Handmaid: “I was not prepared for how haunting and powerful it would feel to put on that red robe and bonnet.” ( BuzzFeed News– 7.6.17)

Related: "The VUU: A Handmaid’s Protest with Erin Walter" ( Quest for Meaning- 5.25.17)