UU Justice Ohio's 2019 Annual Assembly

Envision Justice 

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019
9:30 am coffee and registration (doors open 9:15 am)
10 am - 4 pm - keynote, lunch, workshops & annual meeting
Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO), Delaware 
map: https://www.mtso.edu/about-mtso/location/campus-map-2/

  • Featuring the Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Executive Director, Ohio Council of Churches

  • Morning worship offered by UU seminary students form MTSO

  • Workshops on Transgender Justice, Immigration, Gerrymandering, Poverty, and ad discussion of Those Things that Continue to Divide Us.

  • Time for deeper on the Keynote

  • Lunch provided by MTSO's excellent farm-to-table program and includes vegan, vegetarian and omnivore options. 

  • Business Meeting where we will elect new UUJO Board Members, approve the budget and vote on important changes to our bylaws to strengthen our work for justice in Ohio.

  • Childcare is provided but you must register by Oct. 27.

  • REGISTER Today!.   

Register HERE or at:  https://uujo.wufoo.com/forms/q1od8wde093cf2h/

Keynote & Afternoon Discussion

Where There is a Vision of Love and Justice, People Flourish

Rev Dr Jack Sullivan, Jr., Executive Director, Ohio Council of Churches

                                          Wisdom from the Book of Proverbs tells us “Where there is no vision, people perish.”  Without a doubt, people                                              and communities around us are perishing under vision-deficient patterns of hate and violence, and practices of i                                         indifference and fear.  In this keynote, the speaker, cognizant of the realities of systemic injustice, will help us                                              align our minds and movements to that which has the power to transform the nation as it helps people                                                        flourish: a vision of love and justice.

                                          There will be an afternoon discussion time to go deeper into the keynote topic with Rev. Sullivan.


                                          The Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr. is the Executive Director of the Ohio Council of Churches. Prior to this position, he                                             served as senior pastor of  First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Findlay OH,  and was former Executive                                               Director  of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. An internationally known speaker, social justice advocate, ecumenist, and death penalty abolitionist, Dr. Sullivan is president of the Governing Board of Ohioans to Stop                        Executions; co-president of the Disciples Justice Action Network; a member of the National Action Network; and a member of the governing body of Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing, a national anti-death penalty organization. His anti-death penalty activism stems from his interest in ending cycles of violence, a concern he has known all too well after the 1997 murder of his sister, Jennifer, in Cleveland, OH.  

A champion of racial, social and economic justice, Dr. Sullivan has published an array of writings including “Atonement: The Million Man March,”(Pilgrim Press, 1996), and a chapter in, “Black Religion After The Million Man March,” (Orbis Books, 1998). He is a frequent contributor to the public discourse through Facebook, Twitter, Ecclesia.com, and his WordPress blog, “Living in the Subjunctive Mood.”   He is an ordained minister with Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Regional Minister and President of the Northwest and Pennsylvania Regions, respectively, of his denomination.

Dr. Sullivan is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Interpersonal Communication from  the Scripps College of Communication of Ohio University; a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary where he is an adjunct professor; and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Economic and Social Justice from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, where he studied with Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. and the late Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor.  

Read more at: https://www.ohcouncilchs.org/staff/rev-dr-jack-sullivan-jr/

Register HERE or at:  https://uujo.wufoo.com/forms/q1od8wde093cf2h/

Afternoon Workshops/Discussions

Transgender Justice and Society

Jacob Nash has a Masters in Psychology-Diversity Management with an undergrad degree in Youth Ministries and is an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. He is also a consultant, published writer and a seasoned, engaging presenter committed to training both providers and community activists on the needs of transgender people. He has delivered trainings to more than 50,000 people around the country over the past fifteen years. While his specialty is on transgender individuals, he has also trained on the importance of diversity and cultural competencies in the work place as well as in non-profit agencies. In 2011, Jacob was awarded the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Freedom Award from the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats for his work in helping to advance the rights and understanding of the transgender community.  At the same time, he founded Margie’s Hope, which assists transgender individuals in need and hope to one day have a transitional living program that will help homeless transgender clients to secure stable housing and employment as well as other necessary services.

Jacob lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife of 17 years, Erin, and their three dogs.

Fighting for Fair Voting Maps: Changing State and National Politics

Katy Shanahan, Ohio Director, “All On the Line”

The continuation of our democracy is at stake and in the next few years we have two huge opportunities to

change the state of our state and national politics for the next decade.  

The 2020 Census and the redistricting process that follows in 2021 gives us the chance to ensure that every

Ohioan is counted and that they're fairly represented in our Statehouse and in the halls of Congress.  With this in

mind, former US Attorney General Eric Holder created the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC)

in 2016.  Redistricting may seem in the weeds, but there's no issue it doesn't touch.
Come learn about the NDRC's comprehensive strategy to get fair maps and to learn about how you can get

involved in the work to end gerrymandering. 

Katy Shanahan is an attorney and activist who currently serves as the Ohio State Director for the All On the Line campaign, a national effort to end gerrymandering and to restore fairness to the redistricting process. She has been involved in Ohio political work for more than a decade and has dedicated her career to protecting our fundamental right to vote and to ensuring that all voters have an equally accessible path to the voting booth and to fair representation. Katy received her Juris Doctor and Master's in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University and is barred to practice in both the State of Ohio and Washington, DC. 

The New Overground Railroad

Members of the Ohio Immigrant Transit Assistance Teams in Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland and Youngstown

Families fleeing violence in Central America arrive fearful and exhausted, at the U.S. ports of entry to beg for asylum. If they are allowed to enter, these men, women, teenagers, and babies are placed in overcrowded detention centers and warehouses. Some of the men and teenage boys are transported to Youngstown Ohio where they are detained in a for-profit prison - even though they are not charged with any crimes.

After spending weeks/months in detention, some fortunate immigrants may be released to stay with family members in the U.S. while they wait for an asylum hearing.  They are placed on buses for 4, 5 or more days and sent to different cities across the country. Most have no food, no money and no possessions beyond the clothes they wear.  Everything, was taken from them at the detention center.  They are in painful need of simple items like food, toothpaste, a little fresh fruit for the children, clean underwear.  This is not right. So volunteer teams in Ohio, organized and supported by UUJO, are meeting immigrants at the stations and offering bags of food, fresh fruit, basic hygiene items, and assistance with ticketing in Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, Youngstown and Cincinnati. Formally, the teams are known as Immigrant Transit Assistance teams – ITAs - and they are part of a growing national network Informally, they are called the Overground Railroad. Come hear about the work of the Ohio ITAs from members of the volunteer teams.

Register HERE or at:  https://uujo.wufoo.com/forms/q1od8wde093cf2h/

Poverty in the US & What We Can Do About It. 

And Update on the Ohio Poor People's Campaign
Larry Bresler, Executive Director, “Organize! Ohio”

With the United States having the most wealth of any other country, this workshop will explore the

pervasiveness and disgrace of poverty in the U.S.  Specifically, we will define what it means to be poor in the

U.S., a brief history of how the U.S. has addressed poverty, and the framework from which our policies and

attitudes toward those who are poor derive.  The workshop will conclude with a discussion of how we can all

make an impact toward eradicating poverty in the United States, including an update on the Ohio Poor

People’s Campaign.
Larry Bresler is the Executive Director of the Organize! Ohio, an organization that advances grassroots

community organizing and assists community organizing efforts as a strategy for progressive change in Ohio.

He has a master’s degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve and a Law Degree from Cleveland State

University. He has over 45 years’ experience in community organizing, primarily focused on issues of poverty

with experience from urban to rural, and neighborhood based to statewide and national campaigns. His previous positions have included national director of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, director of a statewide health justice organization in Ohio, director of a Cleveland settlement house, Manager of Neighborhood Planning and Development for the City of Cleveland, and director of a rural interfaith human service and social justice organization in New York State. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Ohio Poor People’s Campaign. He also served as an adjunct professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Applied Social Sciences where he taught wide range of classes relating  to macro practice and poverty. 

What's Continuing to Divide Us? Discussion on Race and Culture and Belief and More.

Samuel Prince (UUJO Board Chair and BLUU), Linda Hale and Carole Womeldorf, (UUJO Board Members) and Rev. Joan Van Becelaere (Executive Director of UUJO).

In a time when we are living and holding polarities across race, age, culture, religions and beliefs, there is a need to build our capacity for navigating our way together. We can find our way through our ability to hold paradox - it's not an "either or" but a "both and" that will help us find our way. What are the visionary tools can we deploy when dialoguing about these polarities and the issues that divide us?

  • Samuel Prince is the UUJO Board chair. He has served as co-chair of the Oberlin UU Fellowship Board and in several other congregations as chairs of both Adult Religious Education/Faith Development and the Anti-Racism Team. He has also served on the UUA General Assembly Planning Committee and currently serves on the UU Funding Panel and the Black Lives UU Organizing Collaborative – BLUU.

  • Linda Hale is a vigorous volunteer with UUJO, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, and the Racial Justice Task Force in her local church UU Church of Akron.  In her past life she worked for 21 years as an occupational therapist, now semi-retired and part-time self-employed. 

  • With a background in engineering, education and African American literature, Carole Womeldorf is engaged in finding effective ways to dismantle white supremacy through education, mediation, and restorative justice. Supporting ongoing efforts by community groups in voter engagement and civics education, the coordinating committee of the Ohio Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, connecting with UU’s in Cincinnati, singing with MUSE choir, and starting a Cincinnati Showing Up for Racial Justice chapter. 

  • Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is the part-time Executive Director of UUJO and serves on the Ohio Poor People’s Campaign Coordinating Committee.  Before semi-retiring in 2018, she had been a regional lead with the Central East Region, a district executive with the old Ohio Meadville District, a vice president for student services at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, adjunct instructor in UU Polity and History, and a few other things.

Register HERE or at:  https://uujo.wufoo.com/forms/q1od8wde093cf2h