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Social Justice

Going to City Hall is a Religious Act

By Terry Wiggins.

Notice the woman in the foreground of the photo.  That’s me, Terry Wiggins, and I’m wearing a chalice necklace.  I’m at a Milwaukee Common Council Steering and Rules Committee hearing at City Hall on the issue of lead in our water.

To quote our UUA President, Susan Frederick-Gray, “Our faith calls us to be on the side of justice. And our compassion calls us to be on the side of the most vulnerable,” and “As Unitarian Universalists, we also believe in democracy, so we are called to . . . the democratic process . . .” (The UUA Condemns Trump’s National Emergency Delcaration for Border Wall, February 15, 2019).

I put on chalice jewelry when I’m going to engage in activity that I consider to be religious activity, to remind me of why I’m involved.  To me, going to a hearing iln City Hall about the lead issue is indeed a religious activity.  Even if the particular hearing, such as this one, doesn’t allow the opportunity to challenge injustice, it gives the opportunity to be a witness to it, and to give support and care to those affected by the issue (our End #4).

Interestingly, wearing the chalice also helped me connect with Paul Schwartz, the Washington D.C.-based national lead and water expert referred to in “Is Milwaukee safe? What you need to know about the city’s lead crisis” (Edgar Mendez, Milwaukee Neighborhood News, February 28, 2019), and one of the presenters at a morning program in the City Hall rotunda. As I was talking with him after his presentation, he commented on my chalice and mentioned his congregation, and we found that we have a common acquaintance.

You might recognize other faces in the crowd:  FUSM member Elizabeth Martorell is behind me, and retired Rev. Joe Ellwanger is two rows behind me across the room.

To quote our UUA President again, “We reaffirm our commitments to following those who are most impacted and centering the narratives of those who have the most at stake.”

 

Photo from Milwaukee Neighborhood News, February 28,2019.

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