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What’s Happening in the Equity Ministry Network?

Equity Ministry Network LogoIt has turned into a busy year. Not only do we have a slightly new brand (Equity Ministry Network) but we have continued to grow and strategize including hosting our first webinar (See link below). As we continue to grow the network we meet more and more people who are committed to seeing equity in race, class and culture in our society. We’ve begun putting our feet behind our words in support of important legislation and efforts happening in our communities. Join us and please share with your congregations and communities.

This important ballot initiative will dismantle some of the worst parts of our current sentencing procedures while investing in restorative and rehabilitative justice.  But this effort needs your help. Several of our congregations have already been gathering signatures on Sundays, but we need more folks on board:

“The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 will improve public safety. Countless studies have shown that the more people in prison are rehabilitated, the less likely they are to re-offend. By investing in strategic rehabilitation, the initiative will protect California communities and ensure the most dangerous criminals stay locked up.”
Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act INFO

If you would like to receive materials to gather signatures to support the reform and for more information, please visit:

Call: 1-800-559-7464 or
Email: info@SafetyandRehabilitation.com.


On April 13, 2016, there will be an informational hearing for this important bill currently moving through California Legislation. AB 2590 will be heard in Assembly Public Safety on April 19th and we encourage you to call your legislators to ask for their support of this measure that will start to rewrite the script on incarceration in California.

From the Fact Sheet: “AB 2590 is a modest but important step in the move to make our current determinate sentencing scheme more flexible and effective, and to begin to move California’s criminal laws away from a system that relies solely upon incarceration and punishment in its treatment of offenders.

The main features of this bill are that it removes the word punishment from Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (1), and changes the purpose of sentencing to public safety. In addition, it encourages the Department of Corrections to provide opportunities for education and rehabilitation to all inmates, not just non-violent felony offenders and those with short sentences.”
AB 2590 Fact Sheet

The work around deepening our understanding of racial justice and supporting Black Lives Matter movement continues with many of our congregations engaged in Beloved Conversations this year and putting up Black Lives Matter banners. Sadly, we have also seen some of these banners vandalized and torn down. These are acts of hatred and violence that have not deterred us. The Unitarian Universalists of San Luis Obispo inform us that they have put up their third banner after the previous ones were torn down. They are deepening their commitment and looking forward to dedicating it anew. “The banner is a manifestation of debate that’s gone on here,” Fellowship President Jim Woolf said. “By proclaiming ‘Black Lives Matter’ we are not saying other lives matter less. The first principle of Unitarian Universalism asserts the ‘inherent worth and dignity of each person.’ We focus on Black lives because of the racism and violence still experienced by many African Americans.”

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Left to right: Rev. Rod Richards; Ann Bernhardt; President Jim Woolf

The public is invited to join Rev. Rod Richards and congregation members at 12:30 p.m. on May 1 alongside the South Street wall of the Fellowship to dedicate this third banner. “We certainly hope this is the final banner we will have to mount, and that it hangs proudly alongside of our Standing on the Side of Love banner for many months to come,” stated Gina Whitaker, Chair of the Social Justice Committee. “We want to celebrate our process, and continue finding ways to bring people together,” she said.  San Luis Obispo Black Lives Matter Press Release

As we continue to expand the support for equity in race, class and culture here in California we will continue to need your support and ideas.  Please feel free to reach out to us with other efforts that you think we can help move forward.  Thank you! – Adam Dyer (adam@uujmca.org)

Changing the Narrative on Mass Incarceration (Webinar)

An informative conversation about the impact of restorative justice on formerly incarcerated and on our society at large, with Rosa Aqeel of PolicyLink/Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, Jacques Verduin of G.R.I.P./ Insight Out and Nicholas Alexander of Richmond Reentry Success Center.

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