JPANet June 2020 Newsletter

June Newsletter

Getting to the Root of It

Each month, the Justice and Peace Action Network meets to discuss possible topics for the next Getting to the Root. This month there was one thing weighing heavy on all of our minds. Online Communications Specialist for the D.C. Office, Jessi Quinn attempted to address recent events and assembled resources we could all use in this present moment. 

Justice for Black Lives

What a heavy few weeks it has been. Although in different ways, current events have impacted all of us by navigating the uncertainty of not one, but two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism. One of these pandemics has plagued our country for much longer. As we considered writing the Getting to the Root we wanted to make sure that the gravity of the current moment is conveyed, engaging in the important work that needs to be done, and also honoring and holding space. So we share this message to you, and to ourselves.(Read more).

Justice Events

Racial Violence is Not Acceptable. Demand Justice Today! #BlackLivesMatter

“Racism is a virus. It infects the spirit.” (The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III)

On Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020, The United Church of Christ hosted a live viewing of Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr’s cinematic sermon preached at Trinity UCC Sunday, May 17th entitled, The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery. Immediately following the live video a panel discussion with four respected thought leaders, racial justice advocates, and UCC pastors discussed the impact of historical and present day acts of racism and violence towards African Americans. The panelist included:

  • Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III – Sr. Pastor, Trinity UCC-Chicago
  • Rev. Dr. Julian DeShazier – Sr. Pastor of University Church UCC, Chicago, Emmy Award-winning musician
  • Linda Sarsour – Co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March, the 2017 Day Without a Woman, and the 2019 Women’s March
  • Rev. Naomi Leapheart – Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs

There is an ongoing pandemic of racists violence in our nation that targets people of African descent. These quotes tell a story of families, friends, and witnesses, “He was African-American, he was jogging in a predominantly white neighborhood – he was targeted for the color of his skin,” says Wanda Cooper-Jones. The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery  “Breonna had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands.” Police shooting of Breonna Taylor “Whatever the man may have done should not have ended in a death sentence,” she said. “What started as an alleged economic incident once again turned deadly for a black man.” Police video killing a black man in Minneapolis

Local UCC churches can reach out, support, and walk alongside grieving families. UCC congregations and pastors speak out against racists actions by citizens and law enforcement officers. Use your voice, your bodies, and demand justice and an end to Stand Your Ground laws across the country.

World Refugee Day – June 20

World Refugee Day is a day to lift up refugees displaced by war, civil unrest and persecution. This World Refugee Day explore the many ways your congregation or community can reach out to welcome the stranger. You can find more information and resources here.

Everybody’s Got a Right to Live. Join the Poor People’s Campaign

History teaches us that it is exactly in moments like these that a movement of the many is necessary to force the nation into action. In the midst of pandemic, economic collapse, climate change, and the devastating recent reminders of racism in our country, the key to real and lasting change lies within our communities — within our ability to come together in new and bold ways. Join with us by registering for June 20, 2020 and share the news through social media.

Preventing Nuclear War During a Time of Crisis: A National Conversation

Join this webinar  hosted by the Back from the Brink coalition Wed, June 24th, at 5pm Pacific Time / 8pm Eastern Time.  As we struggle with Covid-19, racial injustice and an economic crises, it also remains crucial to discuss the paradigm shift needed to strengthen global security and achieve nuclear disarmament.  The UCC endorsed this campaign at our last General Synod. Click here to RSVP 

Webinar from National Religious Campaign Against Torture

In honor of June being Torture Awareness Month, consider joining the National Religious Campaign Against Torture for a webinar at 4pm ET TODAY (June 4th) to explore The Truth About Race & Justice in the U.S.

Justice in Action

Check Out “The Word is Resistance”

This lectionary podcast for white Christians, coordinated by UCC minister Rev. Anne Dunlap, is from Showing Up for Racial Justice. This Easter season, the contributors are asking: “Who we are meant to be to each other? What do the scriptures say that can support us in shaping a more just, anti-racist, compassionate future out of this pandemic? What is the Covid-19 pandemic revealing that we can learn from? What’s the Word for white Christians in this moment?” Click here for a link to the latest episode.

Our Faith Our Vote 2020

In each of our communities, the elected officials making decisions about how law enforcement operates are mayors and sheriffs, local judges and district attorneys. These are elected offices in most states and it is critical that you vote for reform candidates and encourage others to do the same. The violence in our communities is not just perpetrated by the harmful actions of the federal government, but also that of local and state officials whose response to law enforcement brutality is to paper over and ignore the issue.

Where we go from here as local communities, as a nation, and as a global community, will be shaped by our engagement in the 2020 elections. It is up to us to make sure everyone is registered, equipped and empowered to vote, especially in marginalized communities, to find ways to talk about the issues in depth, to ask the critical questions 

of our candidates, and to make sure that we invest in an electoral system that is safe and accessible for all communities. Over the next several months we will be adding resources through the Our Faith Our Vote website to empower individuals and congregations in their engagement.

Here are resources you can find on our website (

  1. The new Civic Action Center! From here you can check your registration status, register online (if permitted in your state), find important election dates, see open polling locations near you, and more;
  2. Webinar on Environmental Justice and Upcoming Elections;
  3. Webinar: Faithfully making YOU and YOUR VOTE count in the time of COVID;
  4. Faithful Democracy Webinar: Protecting Our Democracy in the Face of COVID-19, featuring Rev. Traci Blackmon;
  5. Helpful video on 501© 3 do’s and don’ts for election engagement.

Immigration Updates

Many congregations throughout the country, such as First Congregational in Flagstaff highlighted by UCC News, are working in solidarity with immigrants rights groups to raise funds to support undocumented people who are not eligible for many of the benefits from the CARES Act. Thousands of immigrants in detention including families and children, are in great danger of exposure to COVID-19, we are calling on Congress to Protect and Release Immigrants in Detention and Restore Asylum Protections. Please join the National Officers by signing onto UCC letter denouncing false information promoted by the Trump administration that has led to xenophobia and racist actions taken around the country in the midst of COVID-19. Take action to Urge Congress to support immigrant and refugee communities in the next COVID-19 relief legislation. Please join virtual events and social media to support World Refugee Day on June 20th.

Justice Resources

The Pollinator

The Pollinator is a digital platform of the UCC for the sharing of ideas and inspiration. Its focus is the building of a faith-filled and faith-rooted movement for the care of creation

Witness for Justice
Looking for up-to-date social justice commentary? Check out Witness for Justice, a weekly editorial opinion column written by the staff of Justice and Witness Ministries.

Featured topics:

Come, Holy Spirit | Commentary: Disabilities Pandemic | Calming Presence in Uncertain Times | Free them All 

Categories: Column Justice & Peace Action Network Monthly Newsletter

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