State Level Advocacy
UU Justice Ohio had a banner year becoming incorporated, obtaining 501c3 tax exempt status, hiring an Executive Director, Howard Tolley, and Issues Coordinator Carol Temerson, and enrolling as institutional members 22 Congregations and the OMD UUMA Minister’s Chapter as well as over 40 individual Justice Advocates. The UU Fund for Social Responsibility provided a matching grant in time for tax-deductible year end membership or other contributions at http://ohiomeadville.org/uujo/. The annual November Justice Assembly in Columbus drew nearly 100 from all four corners of the state, and the Get Smart on Crime Rally engaged partners and allies – Greater Cleveland Congregations, BREAD in Columbus, and Cincinnati’s AMOS project. For pictures of the event as well as justice postings go to https://www.facebook.com/UUJusticeOhio UUJO’s three action teams on Immigration, Economic Justice, and Criminal/Racial Justice are organizing for work in 2015 on Black Lives Matter, income inequality, the death penalty and deportations. Five other issue groups also have pages for information exchange on the UUJO website – Environment, LGBT, Reproductive Justice, Voting Rights and Peacemaking.
Next big event--MeetUp For Justice with training on how to talk directly with your state legislator to make a difference. More info here: http://ohiomeadville.org/uujo/.Interfaith Impact NYS
Interfaith Impact has been working in several areas this year. IINYS Executive Director Robb Smith testified about the minimum wage gap for tipped workers in New York State. Right now, the difference between the minimum wage for other workers and that for your waiter or waitress is $3 per hour, going up to $3.75 per hour on Dec. 31st. Member also participated in the Family Planning Advocates (FPA) Day of Action and wrote statements on many issues including Reproductive Justice and Hydrofracking.
Plan on joining Interfaith Impact NYS on their Advocacy Day on May 4. Details at http://iinys.nationbuilder.comFollow the example of First Unitarian Rochester! Members and friends of the First Universalist Church of Rochester, NY, recently contributed nearly $500 to Interfaith Impact of New York State through a pass the plate for justice (or another term) emphasis during a Sunday morning service. Interfaith Impact is a state-wide advocacy network composed of Unitarian Universalists, Reform Jews and progressive Protestants who advocate on state-wide issues. The particular focus of the contribution was on stopping hydrofracking in New York State.