Social Justice Opportunities
This is where you can see what social justice opportunities are available through First Parish and other organizations that may be of general interest to the congregation.
The Giving First recipient for January is Black Lives Matter Cambridge. They are part of the movement to end structural racism both locally, nationally and internationally. BLM Cambridge has petitioned to drop the charges filed against the Fight Supremacy protesters last August in Boston; hosted a day-long symposium focused on achieving racial justice and social equity in the Metro-North, and beyond; hosted Books and Breakfast, an inter-generational, multi-racial, and Black affirming space for love, political education, and breaking bread together; and last month they were in court bailing people out of jails, so far freeing 8 people at a cost of over $6,000.
Last winter First Parish entered into a restorative justice process with a man who had vandalized our Black Lives Matter banner. We are especially grateful for the Arlington Police and the Center for Restorative Justice for making this possible. In November 2016, Marta Flanagan was asked to speak at the annual meeting of the Center for Restorative Justice. Click here for a copy of her remarks that describe our process. Click here for the full text of the apology from the man who engaged in vandalism.
There are currently more refugees around the world than at any time since World War II. The Refugee Concerns working group enables First Parish members to become active in a variety of efforts addressing the global refugee crisis.
Our current focus is working with Refugee Immigration Ministry to provide housing and support services for Asylum Seekers. The RIM program allows clusters of faith communities to work together. The First Parish Refugee Concerns group is working to build a cluster in Arlington, and is already housing and serving people in need.
How can you help? We are looking for volunteers for many activities such as providing one-time transportation to appointments, hosting our guest for a meal or coffee date, coordinating ESL study and practice sessions, fund raising or hosting someone in your home.
Contact the working group through email to express your interest, we can direct you based on your interest: refugeeconcerns @ firstparish.info
As a volunteer, you are required to complete a RIM Covenant Agreement
Eric Segal, Cluster Chair Coordinating Committee
Jennifer Bermant O'Brien
Be a part of First Parish’s turning outward. Click here to view current volunteer opportunities with the UU Urban Ministry to promote social justice and equality. Urban Ministry works side-by-side with individuals and communities in Boston, primarily in Roxbury, to create opportunities and instill hope for a brighter future through education and social activism.
For more information for volunteering with UUUM, contact Marvin Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement, 617-318-6010 x214, or contact First Parish member Maggie Schramm or Maryglenn Vincens.
Also check the FP Connection Board and the UUUM table at fellowship hour after Sunday services for specific activities and calls for help.
Every day, thousands of people in Massachusetts suffer from hunger because they cannot afford adequate food. The Commonwealth has one of the widest income gaps of any state in the country, and those on the low-income side of this gap are experiencing food insecurity at unprecedented levels. In 2017, the Arlington Food Pantry is projected to serve roughly 400 families across 6,900 visits. First Parish has long been a partner with the food pantry and we welcome your participation in this effort!
Donation boxes are by the front door and the office door. Please consider donating:
Cereal; canned fruit and vegetables; jelly and jam; peanut butter; tuna fish and canned meats; meals in a can such as spaghetti, stew, hash, ravioli, soup; fruit juices; coffee; tea; pasta; rice; spaghetti sauce; crackers, cookies, and baking mixes; baby food; diapers; soap, body wash, and shampoo; toothpaste and toothbrushes; toilet tissue; paper towels; and household cleaning products. Please make sure items are unexpired and unopened, and avoid glass containers
Visit the Arlington Food Pantry website for more information on donating food, to make a monetary donation, and to sign up to volunteer.