Media Roundup: Immigrant justice, a senate seat, committed to community, interfaith conversations

Media Roundup: Immigrant justice, a senate seat, committed to community, interfaith conversations

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

Heather Christensen


Immigrant justice work

Volunteers from First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, California, were denied access to immigrant detainees that they had been visiting, after they refused to sign confidentiality agreements about their visits. The volunteers’ coordinator, Angela Fuji, said, "We know that detention facilities are shadowy places . . . and one of the roles that we as visitor volunteers play is to be able to shine a little bit of light and also accompany people who are extremely isolated.” (KPBS, 11.7.18)

A seat in the state senate

Unitarian Universalist Zach Wahls, best known for the viral video of his defence of his two moms, was elected this past week as an Iowa state senator. In a statement on Twitter after the win, Wahls said, "I will fight for everyone who, like my family, has been left out or left behind or used as a political target. . . . I will never forget how hard our family had to work to get a seat at the table, and I will never stop fighting for you or your family." (CBS News, 11.7.18)

Wahls wrote for UU World in 2011 and was profiled in 2012.

Committed to community

Third Unitarian Church in Chicago, Illinois, celebrated its 150th anniversary with a service honoring the congregation’s history of social activism in their neighborhood. Church member David Boulanger, who compiled a pamphlet about the church’s history, said, “Social action and involvement in the issues of the day is a larger portion of what the church is about than even in the past.” (Austin Talks, 11.8.18)

Chicago’s public radio station covered the connections between the church’s architecture and decor and its justice commitments. When many white families and organizations were leaving the city, Third Unitarian chose to stay. Church member James Kane said, “You don't leave a community you're rooted in over race. . . . We needed to be present. We needed to accept that the neighborhood had changed and be supportive of this area.” (WBEZ, 11.8.18)

Interfaith conversations

The Rev. Eric Carlson of the Bradford Community Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, joined an interfaith conversation about the role of civility in discussing religious differences. “We believe everyone is loved and worthy of respect,” Carlson said, “and that translates into an obligation we have as human beings to love and respect everyone else, not just everyone who looks or thinks or votes like we do, but everyone.” (Kenosha News, 11.10.18)

During the 2016 primary election season, Amy Stoltz, a member of Westshore UU Church in Rocky River, Ohio, partnered with Isam Zaiem, from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to create opportunities for people of diverse beliefs to discuss their differences. The group recently hosted its twentieth gathering. Zaiem said, “We decided to have a gathering at the Unitarian Church in Rocky River, expected 60 people and ended up with 120 and people loved it and it’s basically people from different faiths, different backgrounds can come together around a table and talk about their faith and how we share our humanity and stuff like that.” (The Chronicle-Telegram, 11.9.18)