Justice

My Justice work at each interim church location varies. But the heart of it is always the same. We UUs work for justice, compassion, and unity with our larger community. This year, recognizing and addressing white supremacy is a critical driver of our work.

 

2017 Justice Activity in Charlotte, North Carolina

Working closely with my Director of Religious Education and our A.D.O.R.E. team (A Dialogue of Race and Ethnicity, founded by All Souls’ Washington’s congregant and Social Justice  leader Paula Cole Jones, our churches have conducted White Supremacy Teach-Ins (‘WSTI’) on Sunday Services, on May 7th (along with hundreds of other UU societies), but we found the work so powerful that we held another one June 18th, and another on September 24th, with a fourth one scheduled for November 12th.

We have also delivered these White Supremacy Teach-Ins to our two satellite congregations in Salisbury and Lake Norman, NC.  Our last one, Teach-In , included a dramatization of a true event, where the reactions of white and black participants revealed underlying presumptions, and our emerging capability to ‘disrupt.’

The central figure, a black woman minding her own business in an upscale store, featured her ‘breaking the 4th wall’ (speaking directly to the audience), in the form of voicing her thoughts while all this was going on.

This dramatization was an effective vehicle for sharing the complexity of what even “micro”-aggressions force black folks to go through. You can see the dramatization on Vimeo by clicking this link (type the password “Justice” with a capital “J” if needed.)



Here is a bit of background on my justice orientation and earlier work:

My mother Teddy with her granddaughters
My mother, Teddy, with her granddaughters

Feminism and gender equality

• My grandmother went to college in Nebraska at the turn of the 20th century

• My mother was one of the few working mothers in the 1950s in our town

• My wife was one of the few working mothers in our county in the 1980s

• I worked as a business partner with my wife and supported her career in significant ways (relocating, childcare during her travels, etc.)

• I have 3 daughters and 7 nieces, all of whom I actively support


Gender Identification and Sexual Orientation:  ABGILQQT 

• My minister Jim Stoll was gay, and we worked together on gay rights

• Social work brought me into touch with every variety of sexuality

• Was an active board member of UU Legislative Ministry, worked for marriage equality in California


Diversity Tolerance Inclusion

European

• 1967, 17 European countries in six months in Europe, speaking decent German

• Lifelong interest and study in English, Irish, and European history

• Specialization in issues of Irish troubles with England and with herself

• Hosted French exchange student (Frédéric has become part of the family)

• Excursions with various children to England, Ireland, the Continent, and Southeast Asia

• Youngest daughter Blake graduated from an English/American International University

• 2005 trip to Norway to reconnect with roots of my wife’s Stenehjem family


Everglades Village Migrant Camp This is the community building in south Dade county Florida where Leland and Deborah delivered tutorial services to students and support programs for parent
Everglades Village Migrant Camp
This is the community building in south Dade county Florida where Leland and Deborah delivered tutorial services to students and support programs for parent

Latin American   

• Helped established La Rama, the La Raza pre-medical professional group

• Sponsored our El Salvadoran nanny for her green card, helped her brothers to immigrate, and her son lived with us

• Worked with a Nicaraguan partner to support Central American immigrants to buy their own homes

• Delivered science and math instruction to farmworker kids in south Florida migrant labor camps


African and African American

• Worked with Universities with MESA and other programs support to minorities

• Miami-­Dade African American and Haitian families and students

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda (now prime minister of Uganda), his wife Jocelyn and son Kwame with Leland, Deborah, Gwendolyn, and Blake Bond-Upson at UC Berkeley where Dr. R studied public health in his youth.
Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda (now prime minister of Uganda), his wife Jocelyn and son Kwame with Leland, Deborah, Gwendolyn, and Blake Bond-Upson at UC Berkeley where Dr. R studied public health in his youth.

• Extended family, Roy—went to court to get custody. Black/El Salvadoran (see Counseling)

• Daughter Blake traveled to Uganda (enabled by UUSC’s Dr. Charlie Clements)

• Family-­friend relationship with Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, represented East Africa on the U.N. Security Council, now Prime Minister of Uganda


Diversity in My Life

I’ve enjoyed living in multi-cultural communities since leaving home: Seattle, London, San Francisco, Miami, New York City, and Honolulu.

• Nephew Frank is half Aleut

• Hawaiian home base brings contact and work with Native Hawaiian and Asian populations

• Hosted Japanese exchange student

• Enabled one daughter to live and teach English in Thailand

• Traveled with young children to Asia

• Have close Filipino friends

• Nephews extended our family by marrying into Filipino and Ethiopian families

• Wife’s aunt was an adopted deaf Black orphan. She lived her last year in hospice with us.