Media roundup: Florida UUs help African American community organize to clean up toxic waste

Media roundup: Florida UUs help African American community organize to clean up toxic waste

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

Rachel Walden

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When the Rev. CJ McGregor, minister of All Faiths Unitarian Church in Fort Myers, Florida, learned that a 55-year-old dump site in a local African American community called Dunbar had groundwater that was contaminated with arsenic five times the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for safety, he said the congregation felt called to act. They contacted Jan Booher, a member of the nearby UU Fellowship of Boca Raton, for help applying for a $120,000 EPA grant to help the community find a way to address the problem. "I know that had that neighborhood been an affluent white neighborhood, that wouldn't have been a problem," said McGregor. ( NBC-2.com - 2.2.18)

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton member Jan Booher has won several grants addressing climate change in coastal Florida, and she saw this grant as an environmental justice project that returns decision-making power to the impacted community. “It is not our process to determine the outcome of the site. It is theirs." Local community member Crystal Johnson is working with All Faiths Unitarian member Lewis Robinson to establish the team to lead the grant project. ( News-Press - 1.31.18)

More coverage:

“Breaking: Fort Myers mayor wants toxic city dump cleaned up as lawsuit looms” ( News-Press - 2.6.18)

Unitarian Universalists join Poor People’s Campaign

The Rev. Marian Stewart, minister of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio, joined the launch of the Poor People’s Campaign in her city last week. She joined other activists and local leaders to announce their commitment to lobby lawmakers by engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience to end systemic racism, poverty, pollution, and spending on war. “It is not OK to let our children go without," said Stewart. "It is not OK to let homelessness be the answer. We must meditate and pray, we must act, and we must persevere.” ( WOSU.org - 2.6.18)

In Maryland, people of faith joined other activists and local leaders to gather at the Maryland House of Delegates for the launch of the Poor People’s Campaign. Unitarian Universalist minister the Rev. Pratima Dharm participated and shared wisdom from a Hindu religious text that said, “The arrogant wealthy person thinks, ‘I have gained so much wealth today and I shall have even more tomorrow. I am like God Himself.’” ( Washington Post - 2.6.18)

Unitarian Universalist Association President Susan Frederick-Gray spoke in December at the launch of the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C. ( UU World- 12.7.17)

More coverage:

“Activists demand action by Ohio lawmakers to fight poverty” ( Columbus Dispatch - 2.5.18)

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