Social Justice Council, 9/7/22

Attending: Cathy Sandstrom, Mark Bussolini, Don Stepich, Jim Bigelow

Time and Location: 6:30pm, BUUF North class room, 9/7/22

Agenda Notes:

  • A 3-5 year strategy/plan for Social Justice, due Sept 15th
    • Debbie Johnson (BUUF Board President) asked for “an overview of your directions, and we’d be most interested in any specific ideas that will require funding.”
    • What do you think of BUUF’s justice and what should/could we do in the future?
      • Mark Bussolini – the activities of our justice groups wax and wane, so we should just list our Social Justice areas of focus with the understanding needs and priorities shift from year to year/month-month. We should either request a budget of $15,000/yr or 5% of yearly budget and we’ll report how it was used.
      • Reverend Sara (via an email) – I have two priorities along with “our continued commitment to anti-racist/anti-oppressive & [progressive] practices. I still hold on to the idea to set up a funding program to give angel grants to people and organizations led by BIPOC members doing community work that aligns with our values. 
        • A Pro-choice faith coalition
          • I have been slowly starting to be part of community strategy conversations in our Post-Roe era. I have been part of some national calls with conservative states that have state-wide coalitions/organizations on this issue. I am very interested in imagining what one would look like in Idaho and could we be the early founders and perhaps even funders of such a thing? Here are some examples from other states:
            • Faith Choice Ohio, UUs are part of this national organization (which BUUF may want to join individually) 
            • SACReD– Spiritual Alliance of Communities for Reproductive Dignity”
        • Trans support – especially for youth
          • Since this one is personal to me I will spend some time on it either way, but I have noticed Idaho lacks a trans youth coalition or robust support system. I think we are well positioned to offer support groups and other kinds of non therapeutic care to trans youth (and parents of trans youth). At the very minimum I’d like to start a youth support group for Boise.
      • Cathy Sandstrom – The Asylum Seeker Hosting program continues to offer support for Romel (click here for the UUSC article on the our Asylee).The program’s next phase will be to plan how to best use the remaining funds to aid asylum seekers. We hope to begin discussions this fall. Reverend Sara wants to be involved.
        The Refugee and Immigrant ministry has been active although we took a hiatus from meetings during the summer. Our first meeting this fall is next week. We try to be flexible to the needs of the community and have established a pledge fund for the cosigners we recruited. In addition to recruiting co-signers, we and other members of the congregation have volunteered for the IRC for cultural orientation and readying Monarch Landing, the new temporary housing facility, and have given donations of goods to both the ANA and IRC. We hope to have a Sunday service around refugee issues. We will likely help the BUUFquilters group auction off the Ukrainian quilt they made for purposes of supporting displaced Ukrainians.
      • Don — The Racial Justice Ministry could budget $1,000/event – 3 -5 events per program year. We have a 3-5 year strategy
        • Serve as a source of information and connections related to race, racism and racial justice in the larger Treasure Valley community through two essential elements
          • Education: an evolving collection of program, discussion groups, field trips and other activities along with an web page of information.
          • Connections/networks: Investing in public media such as PSAs to increase our public promotion and racial justice-related events and issues – this will have a cost in terms of push back from those who do not approve of the messages.
      • Jim – All the current negative trends will continue or worsen (climate worsening,  alt-right extremism and political violence increasing, climate, economic and political refugees increasing and a rise of an  Illiberal democracy that rejects modern liberal democracy because the equality it champions means an acceptance of immigrants, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights and an end to traditionally patriarchal society and seeks a return to a white-dominated, religiously based society). I have some proposals for discussion tonight.
      • Climate Action Team’s Scott Smith (Aug 24th email) – “Although we’ve been doing a lot of field trips to understand our environmental impact (water treatment, land fill, farming operation that uses the processed sludge from water treatment), I would say that CAT is in a bit of disarray” with the retirement of Dennis and Sharon Rockwood.
    • Projects, near term (2022 – 2023 program year)
    • Possible Long Term projects
      • BUUF becomes carbon neutral
      • BUUF responses to heat emergencies
        • sanctuary in emergencies
    • Possible Directions
      • increase presence in the community and the denomination as a voice of truth by having a publicist
        • RJM has someone, Melissa Cortes
      • establish and strengthen relations with community organization that share our values
      • establish and strengthen relations with BIPOC communities
      • strengthen our ties with other UU congregations in the Northwest and in the denomination
  • Social Justice Resolutions 
  • 2022 -2023 Plate Partners
    • September – Interfaith Sanctuary – ?
    • October – Planned Parenthood – contacted Cameron Needham (
    • November – Wassmuth Center, contacted Dan Prinzing (
    • Mark – could we do this in 2 months and not have a congregational vote?
  • Next meeting
    • Oct 5th – location TBD, outside weather permitting?
    • Nov move to later in the month
  • Actions outside of a meeting
    • June 22, $300 to the Heat and Smoke Relief Fund of the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance
    • July 2, sign letter to the BLM about preserving the Minidoka National Monument. 
    • July 11, donations to the interfaith sanctuary and CATCH street outreach team for heat relief.
    • July 29, $200 for the Four Rivers Cultural Center.