The Economic Justice Working Group’s priorities

 

The group has two main areas of concern: workers’ rights and affordable housing, including issues regarding homelessness.

 

On the former, it works with the Unitarian Universalist California Justice Ministry www.uujmca.org, the UUSC (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) www.uusc.org, and such partners as the Restaurant Opportunities Center www.rocunited.org, Eviction Defense Collaborative, Jobs with Justice, the San Francisco Labor Council, and local unions.

 

On the latter, it works with the SF Council of Community Housing Organizations, the San Francisco Interfaith Council and its Task Force on Essential Housing, Faithful Fools, and Bay Area Faith in Action www.sfop.org.

 

The working group is open to all who are interested in its activities, which are announced in UUSF publications.

Economic Justice Working Group

Millie Phillips (chair): milliephillips@comcast.net; Daniel Jackawaydanjdel@gmail.com;

and John Youngjohnlyoung43@gmail.com.

Contact Us / Get Involved

Active in the Bay Area labor movement for over 30 years, Millie’s focus is on workers rights and organized labor and she is responsible for the overall coordination of the working group. Daniel is focused on recruiting young adults and on tenants' rights and John on older adults and affordable housing in San Francisco.

Chair: Millie Phillips
Email: economicjustice@uusf.org, milliephillips@comcast.net

A brief history of the UUSF Economic Justice Work Group

In 2015, the congregation with Rev. Buehrens leadership began a process of re-empowering our congregation's social action and community outreach. The consensus was to form a Social Justice Council and divide into three work groups: Environmental Justice, Human Rights, and Economic Justice. Countless good things have been done by congregants over the years, and there were already groups of people working directly for environmental justice and human rights; so, economic justice was organizationally the "new kid on the block."

 

Our economic justice work group held several meetings and decided to concentrate upon affordable housing and workers' rights. Rev. Buehrens was already active with the SF Interfaith Council's housing task force and aware of Faith in Action Bay Area; and we have since added support for San Francisco Jobs With Justice as another partner.

 

Working with the California UU Legislative Network [located in Sacramento], we hosted and organized an economic justice day for Bay Area UUs [6/4/16].

 

We organized protests around city ballot measures which would have diminished  affordable

 

At UUSF's annual Social Justice Awards Dinner in January 2017, the economic justice working group celebrated the Eviction Defense Collaborative, which is the principal organization in San Francisco helping low-income tenants to respond to eviction law suits. The Collaborative is at :1338 Mission St., SF, CA 94103, floor 4. Phone number is : 415-947-0797. Accepting the award was Carol Bettencourt, the Collaborative’s director and lead attorney.

 

The group supported the 2017 San Francisco Interfaith Breakfast on 2/9, featuring a presentation by the Housing Opportunities Fund, a re-housing program launched by the Episcopal Community Services. This city-funded initiative offers 30 hard-working homeless adults a 12-month rental subsidy, support services, and direct assistance in locating affordable housing units throughout the Bay Area. Its program director is Nathan Kamps-Hughes, who was raised as a Unitarian Universalist. 

 

In February 2018, we helped build a district-wide UU Class Conversations workshop held at the UU Church of Berkeley and also voted to become a member of the San Francisco chapter of Jobs With Justice.

 

Please contact us with your interests and willingness to participate with us at economicjustice@uusf.org.

Events/Announcements/Review

Economic Justice Working Group

June 2016 through June 2017


Year in Review:

  • Working with the California UU Justice Network [located in Sacramento] we organized and hosted an economic justice day for Bay Area UUs on June 4, 2016. The speakers and process were excellent. Forty people from our congregation participated.

  • In October, 2016, we led more than 100 marchers from 12 SF groups in a rally beginning in our packed church’s courtyard which then marched down to the SF Real Estate Association Office [across from Symphony Hall]. It was to help defeat ballot measures P & U, which would have diminished affordable housing for the poor; P&U were defeated.

  • At the entrance of the Cow Palace gun show, two of our group participated in a demonstration on behalf of the CA gun control ballot measure; this measure succeeded.

  • In January, we helped with the annual January Spaghetti Dinner where an award was presented to the Eviction Legal group which defends renters facing eviction.

  • From April 30 through May 28, we organized four 9:30 a.m. Sunday Forums with attendance regularly exceeding 40. The excellent speakers included: Policy Director for the Nonprofit Housing Association of CA, SF’s Director of Homeless s Services, three representatives of the Service Employees International Union, and Dr. Jeffrey Gee on the proposed legislation in the CA Legislature for a single payer health system [CB 562]; it has since passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly.

  • We hosted ex-SF mayor Art Agnos in an after service lunch forum at which he shared his past and prospective efforts on behalf of SF’s homeless. About 80 people attended.  

  • On Saturday, June 3rd, 17 people attended our working group meeting, including several new participants, a number of our current activists, and others whom have contributed substantially to our congregational economic justice efforts through the years.

  •  On Thursday, June 8th, UUSF hosted Faith in Action Bay-Area-SF at a meeting which included housing among other issues.

 

 

 

Economic Justice Working Group

Prospective Activities for August, 2017 through June, 2018:

 

  • Informed by our June 3rd meeting, and using Bill Lowell’s three branches of activities: getting informed, collaborating with existing efforts, and new actions, we have requested to choose and sponsor the February 2018 lunch Forum, and three morning Forums during the congregational year.

  • We will be working with Faith in Action Bay Area on housing issues and with the SF Interfaith Council’s Housing Committee on increasing affordable housing in SF.

  • Continue to work with our UU Justice Network on CA legislation.

  • We support the congregation’s efforts in housing and feeding homeless men for one month during the winter, gathering monthly Food Bank donations, Faithful Fools, and other economic justice efforts as they emerge.

  • We hope to continue our work with the Service Employees International Union.

  • Support legislative efforts for single payer health, affordable housing, and worker’s empowerment.

  • New efforts will include: supporting SF’s and the school board’s efforts to provide new affordable housing for teachers, city employees and other ‘essential workers,’ and support additional housing and services [like more Navigation Centers] for the homeless throughout SF.

  • Join with the Restaurant Opportunity Fund’s efforts, through their Diners United, to empower and fully integrate Bay Area restaurant workers.

  • Consider working with an existing SF tenant’s organization.

  • Co-sponsoring a workshop on economic Classism: Class Conversations at the Kensington [Berkeley] UU Church on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Sign Up and attend!

 

We expect to plan activities appropriate for everyone in the congregation, including programs of special interest to young adults and some appropriate for children and their parents. Join us!

 

Easy actions and one time opportunities:

 

1. Express your interest at our sign-up table after service on Sept. 24 or after any other Sunday service at the Get Involved Table in the hall by the office. Provide your name, e-mail, and phone number, and let us know how you would like to become involved, and we will contact you whenever opportunities arise.

2. Bring food donations for the Food Bank,

3. Attend the Class Conversations workshop at Kensington Berkeley UU on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.,

4. Stop by the Get Involved Table Sunday after any service to see if there are fresh options for action, legislators or supervisors to call, email or write, or new information sessions or workshops.