First Sunday Giving July 2 ~ Upaya Prison Project
For our July 2 First Sunday Giving we have invited Rev. Genzan Quennell, Sensei, the director of the Upaya Prison Project since 2013. Prior to Rev. Genzan’s participation, the Upaya Prison Project was led for nearly a decade by Ray Olsen, who remains an inspiring presence to everyone who volunteers for this program.
The mission of the Upaya Prison Project is to help inmates cultivate wholesome and pro-social changes of mind and behavior so they may have a more positive experience during incarceration and when they re-enter society. The project offers a variety of programs including meditation instruction, yoga, creative writing, and mindfulness techniques for stress and anger management, as well as support to inmates through one-on-one visits and correspondence.
The Upaya Prison Project directly supports incarcerated inmates in the Penitentiary of New Mexico (PNM) in Santa Fe, the Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility in Clayton, and the Santa Fe County Detention Center in Santa Fe. There is also a pen pal program that reaches many other inmates who are incarcerated out of state.
Report on the Social Justice Congregational Conversation on April 23
The number of Social Justice activities reported by the various groups and individuals on Sunday made it very clear that we UUs do not just sit at home reading, watching TV or otherwise not being involved in our community. People made an astounding number of phone calls, wrote letters and signed petitions to their representatives, both locally and nationally. We went to meetings and marches. We worked hard on improving our health care system; supporting immigrants and those who support them; feeding hungry people; and educating ourselves about the continuing degradation of our natural environment and coming up with real suggestions about how to slow this process down.
We helped make some real changes where we could, and simply offered support and comfort when that was all that was possible. We found other groups with concerns similar to ours and helped form coalitions. Some of those coalitions were very challenging because not all of their members agree with all of our perspectives. But we worked with folks when and where we could. We learned lessons in holding our tongues when necessary. We practiced speaking our truths respectfully, giving room to those with whom we disagree on some issues, as long as we could work with them on other issues. And others gave us the same respect.
The Environment Group continue to:.
- Work with of other organizations in coalition to further environmental justice issues
- Offer educational events to make our work more effective.
The Immigration Group continue to:
- Work with and support Somos Un Pueblo Unido and keep the Congregation informed about their activities, needs, and ways we can help them.
- Will keep in touch with Retake our Democracy.
- Also stay in contact with the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
- Will support Somos as it works on Wage Theft issues
The Poverty and Homeless Shelter Group continue to:
- Support Pete’s Place as it works to establish its One Door program to provide all services for the homeless under one roof
- Support YouthWorks! as we house homeless youth in our building
- Keep granola bars, gloves, etc. in their cars, to give to homeless folks on Street corners
- Get clothes, particularly men’s clothes, to Pete’s Place
- Organize two weeks of service at Pete's Place next year.
The Health Care Group will:
- Connect with Health Action New Mexico
- Set up a phone tree so they can react quickly when further action is needed
- Will work with Indivisible
We all agreed to send notices to News@uusantafe.org to help our community keep up with what is going on. We will also make note of our successes in the Book of Joys and Concerns.
Support the Actions of the UU Service Committee
UUSC is an associate member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), but receives no general financial support from the UUA. Neither do we receive funding from federal or state governments or institutions, ensuring our independent voice.
UUSC Mission Statement:
UUSC advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies.
UUSC was established in 1940 in response to the persecution of the Jews and others by the Nazis.
Today we work in more than 20 countries around the world. For example, in DARFUR’s displaced persons camp, we work to safeguard women and girls from sexual assault. We do that in Haiti as well. Also in Haiti, we are still working to help families rebuild their lives after that terrible earthquake We are working to protect an indigenous community’s clean water in Guatemala We worked with many local groups to pass four laws in California which guarantee all (mostly including farm workers) access to safe drinking water.