by Pam Johnson
MSJE has lots of new information and programs for you!
Don’t be shy!
Please join us at our next MSJE Organizational Meeting Sunday, Feb. 14th 12N. Always the 2nd Sunday of each month, 12N.
I. The Split the Plate Recipient for November 2020 - March 2021 will continue with the BV Food Bank. They are in great need during this COVID-19 period. We extended this collection because of the growing food insecurities faced by many due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
II. 1-ON-1 Performance: As Far As Isolation Goes 1/26 - 2/20/21 - James Ball
I am writing today to let you know about an exciting online performance coming up in just over a week that might be of interest to you and others you may know.
From 1/26 - 2/20, the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts at TAMU is presenting As Far As Isolation Goes (Online) a virtual, 1-on-1 performance developed in collaboration by renowned live artist Tania El-Khoury and musician and street artist Basel Zaraa.
The performance uses touch, sound, and interactivity in an intimate zoom encounter between one audience member and Zaraa, to explore the experience of refugees. More information can be found here:
Since only one audience member can experience the show at a time, we are presenting it 10 times a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks, for 200 total performances. Tickets for specific 25 minute time slots may be purchased at boxoffice.tamu.edu.
I am very excited to be hosting this show, and I hope you will be able to find a time to experience it.
James R Ball III, Assistant Professor, Department of Performance Studies
III. Confronting Our Racism: Implicit Bias Videos
As UUs, it is our responsibility to be aware
of how our biases affect others
and learn how to navigate them.
You may not claim ownership of your upbringing in a racist society, but if you're white, that upbringing is certain, to at least some degree. American society was built on racism, and it continues to perpetuate systems of racism today. Moving forward, we have to take responsibility for our biases, actions, and how they affect others in our society.
Watch the following 4 videos (all 10 minutes or less) and confront your biases.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyI77Yh1Gg&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo3hRq2RnNI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pUtz75lNaw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzLT54QjclA&list=PLJUF_-feho8DZDz8EZD83NRnG-OJ_5gA5&index=32--
IV. BISD Hope’s Locker Fundraiser: Keep Their Bottoms Warm! Nov 1 - Dec 31, 2020.
Tara Dupper and staff from Bryan Independent School District (BISD) Hope's Locker
smile as they go through packages of new underwear and socks donated through the Brazos UU "Keep Their Bottoms Warm" fundraiser. Thank you to everyone who contributed socks and underwear for BISD Hope’s Locker. From left to right: Michele, Tara, Leti and Joyce. All donations go to homeless children and their families.
V. 2021 Annual Recipients for Budgeted Payments of $200
Updates on this Organizations:
TxUUJM - Justice Ministry, Chuck Freeman
BCS Habitat for Humanity
Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network (BIIN)
Tiny Hope Village
A. Tiny Hope Village Update - Maya Lazarus
Volunteers spent four weekends before Christmas clearing the land for the first stage of construction--building the Pavilion. The pavilion will be a large, open community space with restrooms, an open-air kitchen, laundry facilities, and an area for eating together or hold meetings and events. After THV raises the pavilion, they will begin on the homes the residents will live in. Money has already been set aside for the portion of the project but they still need $30,000 more. Donations can be made on Tiny Hope Village's Facebook page.
B. TxUUJM Update - Jerry Wagnon
The Texas UU Justice Ministry brings our congregations together to advance UU Principles and values at the state level. One of the most important ways this is done is through citizen input into proposed bills in the Texas Legislature. Many of the social justice issues facing the country are decided at the state level, including healthcare, prison reform, access to reproductive health, racial justice, education, climate policy and many more.
If you are new to Texas or unfamiliar with the way the state legislature works, the “lege” is only in session every other year and only lasts 140 calendar days, unless one or more special sessions are called. The 87th Legislature is scheduled for January 12 through May 31, with at least one extension likely. As you can imagine, the whole process is rather frantic and quite a busy spectacle to behold!
Much of the work of the legislature will center on cuts in the budget due to economic fallout of the pandemic. Covid will also affect the way business is conducted. Normally, TxUUJM holds a rally day in February or March when Austin’s bustling statehouse is invaded by swarms of UU’s in bright yellow-orange “Side with Love” T-shirts. After a brief assembly for training in the morning, we would disperse to meetings with our individual Senators and Representatives, coming back together in the afternoon for a plenary rally and group photo. With restrictions on visitors to the Capitol as well as safety concerns, in-person meetings will likely not happen this year.
While the exact nature of the event is up in the air, we will probably do Zoom meetings with our legislators. We will urge them to support or oppose various bills targeted by TxUUJM and our allies. At this time, it is too early to determine what those exact bills will be, however members of UUCBV joined other TXUUJM congregations in laying out top issues.
According to Rev. Chuck Freeman, Executive Director of TxUUJM:
After a 10-week process of nominations and voting 25 Texas UU congregations have chosen these top issues for us to work on collectively from 2020-2022!
In addition to the TxUUJM website, http://txuujm.org/, TxUUJM is a member of a broader progressive faith-based group, Texas Impact. Here is their agenda for the current session: https://texasimpact.org/2021-2022-legislative-platform/. Finally, to keep abreast of the Legislature and other Texas issues, if you are not already familiar with it, Texas Tribune https://www.texastribune.org/ is a highly acclaimed non-profit journalistic project.
Your UUCBV TxUUJM representatives, Pam Johnson and Jerry Wagnon, will be keeping you informed in the Lat and ECast as more information becomes available.
C. Family Promise of BC/S Update:
FP is a shelter for homeless children and their families. FP staff continue to fundraise and help those who have already been through FP; They are looking for families that fit within their guidelines.
The Brazos UU will be cycling through as Church Sponsor in March 2021. Over the past 3-4 years, we have committed to providing warm dinners, daily food, and an overnight host on a rotating quarterly schedule.
FP is now open for business, after having its overnight program closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. They are now ready to accept families to social distance, but not for children to attend school online without parental supervision.
D. Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network (BIIN) Update
Volunteer Opportunities: Since the pandemic, all programs have moved online. and, as a result, the way that volunteers advance our mission has changed. Volunteers commit to a minimum of six weeks, at least once per week. For more information contact Jaimi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Conversation English classes resume February 1st on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
English Citizenship classes will resume February 20th on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Spanish Citizenship classes will resume February 20th on Saturdays from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm.
Allies in Action – Classes meet via Zoom on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm.
The E in MSJE Stands for the Environment!
VI. Brazos UU Lunchtime Environmental TED Talks - Started off with a Big Bang!
January 14th Bobby Presley, TAMU Professor Emeritus, Oceanography - Pollution 101
January 28th Caroline Ask , College Station Environmental Recycling Manager - What Happens to Everything We Try to Recycle?
Every 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month, 12N - 1 PM with pre-TED TALK conversation 11:30A-12N
All presentation will be recorded and available on the Brazos UU website.