2015 brought successes and struggles at the Capitol. Two bills that would have created a more just tax code and tied the minimum wage to inflation were stuck in committee.
At the same time, SB4, the #Health4All legislation was enacted, giving access to California’s healthcare exchange to undocumented minors. A bill requiring law enforcement to track, analyze and report on individual stops so we can identify and eliminate racial profiling was also passed and enacted. Thank you to for stepping up and signing the petitions, making the phone calls and helping push these through!
Our Action Teams are currently developing our legislative priorities for 2016 with our partners. Stay tuned for more information!
Living Wages and Tax Reform
UUs across California pushed for reform of our tax code through the Make It Fair campaign in 2015. While the legislation around this (SCA5) did not pass last year, we will keep pushing on this issue as the current system neglects so many of our neighbors while rewarding multi-billion dollar corporations. Adding to this in 2016 will be a statewide effort to bring a $15 minimum wage into reality. A number of municipalities have successfully enacted living wage ordinances in the past few years. Now is the time to make this a reality for all Californians! Click here to stay informed on this campaign.
Tackling the Intersection of Jobs, Housing and Homelessness
The UUJM Economic Justice team, working with local partners, developed a PowerPoint and webinar session entitled, “Low Wages & Costly Housing”. On November 17th they hosted the first in a series of sessions aimed at supporting UUs and congregations engaging in this work. We are listing some highlights below, with copies of the PowerPoints available for download by following the links.
There is clear public support for increasing the wages of the lowest paid workers in California. To date almost 30 cities and counties have passed minimum wage or living wage laws that lift the take home pay of California workers. -more-
We live in one of the most expensive regions in one of the most expensive states in our country. At the current national minimum wage, full time workers fall far short of earning enough to support their families with their basic needs. In fact, they would have to work 115 hours per week to afford the average apartment rent in California. Many families fall below the admittedly insufficient poverty line. -more-
Support Syrian Refugees
The Immigrant Justice Action Team has chosen to closely align with the work being carried out by CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) whose mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. We will also closely align with the UU Service Committee and their call to support Syrian Refugees. -more-
UU Borders 2016 Trips
Join Us on a Justice Journey! Connect with individuals directly impacted by our broken immigration system. Gain a deeper understanding of the issues compounding the crisis. Discover your personal story and how you can connect to immigration. Learn how you can take it home and make a difference.
For more information and to sign up, visit www.uuborders.org.
Let’s Get Organized! Join us January 12, 2016 at 7:00pm
We are getting organized for climate and water justice in 2016! Are you passionate about finding ways to tackle climate change in your community? Do you want to explore ways to advance meaningful legislation through people power? Do you like working with partners and empowering individuals and groups through education, advocacy and witness? Join us to find out what we are doing and how you can be a part of this exciting effort. -more-
UUJM is grateful for the participation of individuals, organizations and congregations who participated in this year’s Exploring Equity Ministry project. This work, spearheaded by Adam Dyer, MDiv, has formed the groundwork from which we will launch our Equity Ministry in January 2016.
UUJM will be partnering with PolicyLink and others as we advance an equity agenda in the 2016 cycle. Stay tuned for more information and sign up here to get involved as we seek to tackle race, class and cultural issues of oppression!
The UU Church of Palo Alta (pictured) was one of many congregations that participated in the first phase of our equity ministry efforts. Other congregations, organizations and individuals include UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County, UU Fellowship of Kern County, Mount Diablo UU Church, San Diego Cluster Ministers, San Diego Organizing Project and attendees at the 5th annual Walking the Walk Justice Leadership Program. Thank you for making this work possible!
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Congratulations to Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists, UUs of the Napa Valley and the UU Church of Anaheim! These congregations completed the Congregational Discernment and Engagement Program in the Fall of 2015. Are you interested in finding out if this could help your congregation build vibrant and sustainable justice ministries? Check out uujmca.org/cdep to find out more.
Congratulations to our Spiritual Activist Leadership Training class of 2015! This amazing group of SALT Fellows graduated from our flagship young adult training program this August. Are you or someone you know interested in being part of this program? Visit thesaltexperience.org to find out more and apply.
The UU Justice Ministry of California is a grassroots-based ministry that is powered by UUs like you! Every one of the items you see in this newsletter is due to UUs taking action. To find out how you can be part of this movement, please click here!
Save the Date! Immigrant Day at the Capitol May 23, 2016