Archive for the ‘Racial Justice’ Category

Sojourners Social Justice Blog on Hiatus

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Our SJ Blog is currently not being updated. For information about what’s happening at Sojourners UCC, please visit our website: www.sojourners-ucc.org or our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SojournersUCC.

SOCIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY MAY 6

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Our next Social Justice Sunday May 6 is a chance for all of our Social Justice groups to meet after worship. If you’d like to learn more about what these groups are working on currently, please put this date on your calendar and join us.

SOCIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

 All Sojourners Social Justice groups are encouraged to meet after the service, March 11. If you’re new to the church, or simply haven’t attended any of these meetings yet, please feel free to drop in on one (or more!) that day.

Social Justice Sunday

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The next one will be January 8.  All of Sojourners Social Justice groups are encouraged to meet after the service. If you’re new to the church, or simply haven’t attended any of these meetings yet, please feel free to drop in on one (or more!) that day.

Social Justice Sunday September 12th

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Sojourners Social Justice Groups is September 12 worship. These groups are open to anyone who would like to participate. If you’re new to the church or simply haven’t decided on a group yet, feel free to drop in on one or more of the meetings to find out what’s happening. This summer for Social Justice Sundays, we began inviting directors of various local agencies or organizations which we fund through our Service & Missions grants to join us for worship and to briefly address the congregation. We look forward to welcoming our second speaker in this series, Drene DeGood, Executive Director of the Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM). All speakers are invited to stay for fellowship and the meetings after worship so that we can share more information about our respective social justice work.

Local School Superintendents speak at Sojourners

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Dr. Rosa Atkins, Superintendent of the Charlottesville Public Schools and Dr. Pamela Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County School Division spoke to an enthusiastic group after the morning worship service on Sunday, May 16th, sponsored by the Racial Justice Social Action Group. This was a return engagement for both superintendents, a practice that has been in existence for a number of years. At least once each year, they have come to update Sojourners on what is happening in each school system.

They each talked about the impact of the budget cuts on their systems. It seems that Albemarle will be “hit harder” than the city of Charlottesville resulting in lost of some teachers and some programs. Classroom sizes will increase by one child in grades above 4th in the county.

Both Drs. Atkins and Moran spoke about the impact of technology on the world of education today. We must be able to expose students to the rapidly changing pace of technology and prepare them to explore and advance in “out of the box” thinking. Advances have been made in narrowing the much talked about achievement gap between black and white students. The importance of early childhood education, starting with classes for three years olds was felt to be the most important step that can be taken to change achievement gap statistics.

To the question about what can we, as citizens and Sojourners, do to support the school systems, the need for a strong consistent and constant education advocacy group was promulgated. The importance of public education needs to be frequently at the forefront of discussions in the community and regular support at times other than budget hearings or teacher cut-backs. The Education Action Group resulting from the Dialogue on Race was mentioned as a possible beginning of an advocacy group.

We thank Drs Atkins and Moran for their willingness to come to us on a Sunday morning and look forward to hearing from them again next year or before.

Social Justice Sunday

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Sojourners Social Justice Groups is June 6 after worship. These groups are open to anyone who would like to participate. If you’re new to the church or just haven’t picked a group yet, feel free to drop in on one or more of the meetings to find out what’s happening. You can check out details on this blog or on the Sojourners News bulletin board at church. Beginning June 6, on Social Justice Sundays, we’re inviting directors of various local agencies or organizations which we fund through our Service & Missions grants to join us for worship and to briefly address the congregation. We look forward to welcoming our first speaker, Cindy Stratton, a member of the Steering committee for the City’s Dialogue on Race, June 6. All speakers will be asked to stay for fellowship and the meetings after worship so that we can share more information about our respective social justice work.

Symposium on The Problem of Punishment: Race, Inequailty, and Justice

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Upcoming symposium sponsored by the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies – The Problem of Punishment: Race, Inequality, and Justice on April 16 & 17, 2009. Keynote address by Angela Y. Davis, all events free and open to the public.

Organized by faculty members in the Departments of English (Deborah McDowell), History (Claudrena Harold) and Politics (Vesla Weaver), this multi-disciplinary symposium, sponsored by the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, will examine the historical, political, economic, and socio-cultural roots, as well as the myriad implications of the rise in incarceration in the United States. We briefly summarize the goals for the symposium and review crucial developments that serve as its motivation.

Due largely to several important policy changes connected to the “War on Crime” and the “War on Drugs,” the prison population has climbed steeply since the 1970s, an escalation resulting in the following developments:

The State of the Justice System

  • The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration and death row inmates, holding 25% of the world’s prison population but only 5% of the world’s people.
  • Since 1973, incarceration rates have risen by a factor of six, even as crime statistics have fallen. There are now three times as many offenders released each year as compared to the entire prison population in 1973.
  • The prison industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States, now employing more than Wal-Mart, General Motors, and Ford combined.
  • Allocations for criminal justice have quadrupled over the past four decades. State spending on corrections doubled over the past two decades. Criminal justice has become a major source of government funds, absorbing an ever increasing share of public resources. Today, government contributes more to criminal justice than to all income maintenance and unemployment expenditures combined.
  • The criminal justice system represents a new racial cleavage in America. In stark contrast to the watershed political gains blacks made in the decades since the zenith of the civil rights movement, prison has become a normal part of life for one in three black men in their twenties. While African Americans constitute 12.4 percent of the population, they comprise more than half of all prison inmates. A mere two decades ago they comprised one-third of the inmate population.

The trends outlined above were hastened by major policy changes affecting the ways in which the criminal justice system dealt with offenders before, during, and after sentencing. Punitive policies like mandatory minimums were passed largely without public debate. But while these statistics and the policy changes that led to their acceleration are among the most shocking developments in modern history, at best they have received uneven scholarly attention; at worst, they are routinely neglected in many fields: political science, economics, and psychology.

The Aim of the Symposium

The aim of this symposium, therefore, is to promote a serious, informed dialogue that will contribute to a growing national debate on the growth of the carceral state. We envision an intimate symposium featuring experts across the disciplines as well as policy practitioners. We will convene on the first day of the symposium with two panels focusing specifically on exploring the causes of the growth of the carceral state and growing racial disparities within it. The opening panel will consider the theoretical and historical foundations of rising imprisonment and shifting policy choices. The second will explore the politics of punishment and race. Following this session Angela Davis (author most recently of Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire and Are Prisons Obsolete?) will deliver a keynote address. On Friday, April 17, we will shift our attention to research that evaluates the consequences and implications of the rise in imprisonment. In these three panels, scholars will focus on the myriad implications of rising prison rates for forms of economic, social, and political exclusion in the United States.

Prison Ministry advocacy at the VA General Assembly

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

If you are interested in following current legislation go to www.vacure.org , then to the links on the left side – 2009 Legislative Agenda and position papers.  Virginia C.U.R.E. is a non-profit corporation whose focus is on the Virginia criminal justice and prison system and the inmates, families, and friends whose lives are impacted by these systems.