End Mass Incarceration
Each year, the United Parish Stretching into Justice Ministry Team chooses a theme to expand our shared learning and understanding of a specific important social issue and how it affects our lives as Christians; to focus and unify our congregation and call us into new service projects; and to engage our congregation with new people and service organizations. Currently the Team is developing a church-wide campaign to help end Mass Incarceration.
Latest End Mass Incarceration News
On April 4 -- the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination -- both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate voted to adopt the criminal justice reform bill (with only 5 “no” votes in the House). At the advocates’ press conference where we learned that Governor Baker would sign the bill later the same day (April 13), the United Parish was recognized for its efforts supporting a shift away from the punitive “tough on crime” focus that had resulted in a major increase in incarceration and vast racial disparity. It has been exactly 4 years since members of the United Parish congregation first joined a rally against mass incarceration at the Boston Common bandstand. In our June 2015 All-Parish Meeting we voted unanimously for a resolution opposing mass incarceration that you can read HERE. We sponsored educational programs in the church, attended hearings at the State House, joined Jobs NOT Jails rallies, and contacted our elected representatives to seek their support. As God’s co-workers we joined many social justice groups across the state to make a major difference in people’s lives. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you know, many immigrants in Massachusetts are having a terrible time as detentions and deportations of immigrants are on the rise. But faith-based immigrants and allies from diverse local congregations are rising up nonviolently and saying No to draconian laws and Yes to justice and radical welcome for all people. Please come join the next interfaith prayer vigil for ICE Detainees outside the South Bay Detention Center on Sunday April 29 from 2-3:30 pm.
These vigils, which happen approximately every two months, are a wonderful way to put your Easter faith in a God bent on justice to work. The detainees look forward greatly to seeing the vigilers and vice versa. At the close of each vigil, vigilers receive a well-organized list of immigration justice messages to relay to specific elected officials.
The vigil is sponsored by MCAN, Massachusetts Communities Action Network. The upcoming vigil is being planned by UU Mass Action, Unitarian Universalist Mass Action.
To find out more about the vigil, please read the bulletin announcement where you can also find contact information for the United Parish vigil point person, Phoebe. Please contact the Church Office at email@example.com.
Last Friday (March 23) the Conference Committee issued a report that reconciles the differences between the criminal justice reform bills voted by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate four months ago. Since the Conference Committee was unanimous, it is expected that the House and Senate will vote soon to enact the bill (now known as Senate Bill 2371).
Governor Baker’s position is unknown at this moment. Even though the bill is not everything advocates wanted, it marks a real victory for sustained and widespread grass roots organizing over the past four years. As an illustration, earlier this week, 25 representatives of social justice organizations met to review the 120 page bill and outline next steps.
United Parish has been part of this effort, working with the Jobs Not Jails coalition. In June 2015 we formalized our opposition to mass incarceration in a resolution voted by an All-Parish Meeting that you can read here. A short summary of the wide-ranging reform bill was sent to the United Parish Legislative Alert email list earlier this week. If you would like a copy, send an email to John B. at firstname.lastname@example.org.