Social Justice Task Force Report


Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship – May 1, 2016

The Social Justice Task Force is comprised of Devany Paschel, Amy Taylor, Kelley Mickey, Yvonne Moore, Lyle Raker, Janda Raker, John Gay, Kristy Fuller, Rosalie Falcon, Maisie Everett, and Mary Kay Wells (Board Liaison).

Several meetings were conducted on Saturday afternoons at UU during March and April, 2016.  The group decided that a survey of the congregation of AUUF was in order, and Task Force members suggested topics and questions.  Devany produced the survey, and Mary Kay entered the survey into SurveyMonkey online.  Hard copies were also produced and handed out to attendees at services in early April, with the request that they be returned, completed, by Sunday, April 17.  Amy compiled the statistics of the completed surveys and entered them into SurveyMonkey, though some questions and statements were not conducive to being collated on that site.  The results are listed as succinctly as possible below.

On Saturday, April 23, the task force reconvened to discuss the results of the survey.  The results are as follows:

  1. Forty-six people answered the survey.  The average respondent has attended UU for 9.68 years, and 67% of respondents have attended for less than 5 years.
  2. The age range of the respondents is from 18-25 to over 75, with 83% over 46 and 53% over 66.
  3. All respondents approved of continued involvement with Martha’s Home, Another Chance House, and Snack Pak 4 Kids.  Eighty percent approved of continuing recycling efforts.
  4. Interest in annual events, the first listed representing the most interest, are Beans and Cornbread, MLK March, Panhandle Pride, Earth Day events, Interfaith Thanksgiving, and World AIDS Day.
  5. Several other possible events were suggested including (top to bottom) membership and participation in NAACP events and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Books for Kids drives, and Adopt-a-Highway.  The fellowship currently contributes toward the Friends of PASO.  Other suggested events are a monthly movie night of documentaries with discussions and refugee events with a speaker or a festival.

6.  Members of the fellowship felt they were well informed, but suggestions to increase communication included the following:

a.  A monthly wall calendar in the church with volunteer opportunities for sign-up.

b.  Post these in the newsletter and on our Facebook page and mention them at potlucks.

c.  Send e-mail reminders the day before or day of event.

d.  Make a quarterly report to the congregation on accomplishments of each Social Action project.

e.  Have a yearly recognition ceremony for involved members.

7.  Ongoing projects are preferred by 53% of respondents, one-time projects by 19%, and both by 28% (written in).

8.  Respondents ranked the needs of the community, with first being most needed:  homelessness, food insecurity,   domestic violence, environmental issues, preteen (sex) education, foster-care issues, increased knowledge of other cultures and religions, and veterans issues.

Many UU members are volunteering or have volunteered for worthwhile causes, both within AUUF and other organizations.  Of course, all are encouraged to continue those.  Other organizations that were suggested for AUUF to partner with are the following (most popular at the beginning):  Community Gardens, Family Support Services, Adopt-a-Highway, Food Not Bombs, High Plains Food Bank, Heal the City, and Habitat for Humanity, along with many others.

The following list combines the ranking of needs with organizations and events to address those needs:

  1. Homelessness:  Martha’s Home, Another Chance House, Downtown Women’s Center, Faith City Mission, (Guyon Saunders), Habitat for Humanity, Food Not Bombs, Salvation Army (?), tiny house village, Amarillo Coalition for the Homeless, and Beans and Cornbread.
  2. Food Insecurity:  Snack Pak 4 Kids, Community Gardens, High Plains Food Bank, Food Not Bombs, Whataburger fund raiser.
  3. Domestic Violence:  Family Support Services
  4. Children’s Issues:  Books for Kids Drives, CASA, Promise Project (mentor children whose parents are incarcerated), Adopt an elementary School, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Amarillo
  5. Environmental Projects:  Adopt-a-Highway, Wildcat Bluff, Botanical Gardens, Earth Day
  6. Cultures and Religions: Interfaith Thanksgiving, MLK March, and NAACP and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce membership drives (Kelley is recommended to be AUUF’s NAACP representative.  Amy is recommended to be AUUF’s representative to the Hispanic Chamber.)
  7. Community Health:  Heal the City, Haven Health, Meals on Wheels, BSA/BSC Hospice, Harrington Cancer Center, Coffee Memorial Blood Center, AAPE Center, Red Cross Disaster Relief
  8. Community Events for visibility:  Panhandle Pride, World AIDS Day, Friends of PASO dinner, Autism Walk, NAMI Walk, Buddy Walk, Hope and Healing Half Marathon.