Blog by Debbie Davidson
on behalf of the

Social Justice Committee

  • Social Justice/Public Witness events – Week of 3/2/24

    Saturday 3/2

    Last call for the Poor People’s Campaign rally at the Statehouse tomorrow; march to demand a political response to all those who have died because of poverty in Ohio! If interested contact Debbie Davidson or send an owl although it will need plenty of time to get to Batavia and will never leave once it gets here… LOL

    Thanks go out to Lois Gish for the following gem: We Are One: Empower features the world-renowned American Spiritual Ensemble. 

    Returning Citizens lifts up voices through song and stories of formerly incarcerated individuals at House of Joy on Central Parkway. 

    An exhibition and lecture recital: History of the Spiritual, will be presented at Artsville in Madisonville. Tickets to this one are going fast!

    I Believe will be performed at Zion Baptist Church in Avondale (suggested donation at checkout). Tickets are free, registration is encouraged. More info at ccocincinnati.org/empower

    Thursday Noon

    After a four-year absence, the EPA Air Nuisance Rule is being restored in Ohio. At the next Community Issues Forum on Thursday, David Altman and Justin Newman, two attorneys who work with citizens to protect the environment, will explain why this legal process is such an essential tool for eliminating air pollution in Ohio’s communities. They will urge Forum attendees to contact the EPA in support of this policy. Christ Church Cathedral will host AIR’s popular lunch and learn event; bring your own or purchase a Silverglade sandwich for $6.50 on-site.

    Please feel free to forward any items of interest to Debbie Davidson and include a note to nudge me if any are time-critical so I can do a special edition if necessary.

  • Social Justice/Public Witness – Calendar Week of 2/24/24

    The reason speaking out is so important is that it lowers the perceived risk of those who are still silent and have something to say; your courage matters. It makes the waters warmer. Your words matter. They assure others they are not alone and encourage them to speak. Every voice is a key to unlocking another’s. – Ian Smith

    Saturday 2/24 at Salem Gardens, 6396 Salem Rd in Mount Washington from 11-9; feel free to hold your own (best recipe for Cincinnati chili I’ve found here; I’ve made it with Beyond beef crumbles 😉 and donate the funds you raise to honor Marian Spencer’s legacy: https://www.gofundme.com/f/friends-of-coney-island

    Tuesday at 11:30

    Don’t forget the MARCC annual meeting Tuesday at 11:30 in the United Way building, 2400 Reading Rd. Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Kearney is featured.

    Providing equal justice for all citizens of Hamilton County is a huge and complex responsibility; Woman’s City Club will host Charmaine McGuffey, Hamilton County Sheriff, Wednesday at 7. Zoom in here

    Poor People’s Campaign Direct Action next Saturday (3/2) at 11 in front of the Ohio State House; march for economic equity, living wages, healthcare for all, environmental justice and the unity of love, not the division of hate. Interested? Hit Debbie Davidson up for a ride; we would need to leave ~8:30-9 from somewhere in the 275/71 corridor…

    Did you know the first Black Ohio lawmaker also wrote a history of Black Americans? One of the reasons I subscribe to Ohio Capital Journal! https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2024/02/23/the-first-black-ohio-lawmaker-was-also-the-first-black-author-to-write-a-history-of-black-americans/

  • Social Justice/Public Witness – News week of 2/19/24

     “The problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” ~ Bertrand Russell ~

    Last call for registrations for next Monday’s MARCC annual meeting at 11:30. At this in-person gathering, City of Cincinnati Vice Mayor Jan Michele Kearney will address the topic, “Problem Solving Community Gun Violence Intervention and Affordable Housing.”

    Cincinnati is a great place to call home, but a difficult place to find housing. Enter Connected Communities, a series of proposed land use and zoning policy changes to help Cincinnati grow into a more accessible, people-focused, diverse, healthy, and connected community for all. Tuesday from 6-8, Connected Communities will hold an in-person meeting at the Bond Hill Community Center, 1501 Elizabeth St, to discuss affordable housing. Following a kick-off from Mayor Pureval, attendees will explore the proposed policies at their own pace and provide feedback; register here. The next session will be at the Price Hill Community Center, 959 Hawthorne St, on Wednesday the 28th, also 6-8. Use the same registration link but indicate you prefer to attend in Price Hill. There is also a Zoom option in March that you can register for…

    The next Community Issues Forum at Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday will provide an update on efforts to diminish and eventually end gun violence in Cincinnati. A panel comprised of Carole Womeldorf, First UU member and Secretary of the Board of the Community Peace Builders Network, Te Airea Powell, of Peace and Hope Life Style, and Jack Jose, leader of Christ Church Cathedral’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group will address this critical issue. The panel will also discuss a proposed new initiative that has worked well in several other cities. Beginning at noon, 318 E 4th St downtown; bring lunch or buy a Silverglades sandwich for $6.50.

    HOME of Greater Cincinnati will hold a seminar at the United Way building, 2400 Reading Rd, 55 Years After the Fair Housing Act: Housing Affordability. Learn about recent data trends, hear from a panel of experts and share your thoughts; register here.

    Join Ohio Humanities for a screening of their Lincoln School Story at the Esquire Theatre. When their school district refused to integrate after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, a group of Black mothers marched their children to the white school demanding admission, only to be turned away every day for two years. Their activism resulted in one of the longest sustained protests of the civil rights era. Today, their children remain committed to telling the story of their mothers’ activism and their role in the movement. Register here.

  • Social Justice/Public Witness – Newsletter Week of 2/12/24

    Starting Monday and continuing through May 19th

    The Taft Museum of Art features African Modernism in America, an exhibit of more than 60 works created in Africa during the 50s and 60s. Free on Sundays, perhaps this would be a good opportunity to patronize a black-owned restaurant after church and view the exhibit. Email Debbie Davidson if interested.

    Monday at 5

    Right to Be’s Street Harassment training will address various scenarios with a toolbox of techniques; start by deepening your understanding of street harassment and its impact. Then talk through five strategies for intervention: distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct; and how to prioritize your own safety while intervening. Register here.

    Looking ahead…

    MARCC’s annual meeting will occur on Tuesday, February 27th from 11:30 – 1:30 at the United Way building, 2400 Reading Rd. At this in person gathering, Vice Mayor Jan Michele Kearney will address the topic, “Problem Solving Community Gun Violence Intervention and Affordable Housing.” Register here.

    On Saturday, March 2nd, Ohio Poor People’s Campaign will hold a Moral March at the Columbus State House to advocate for a living wage, equal access to health care, environmental justice and immigration law reform. If interested, contact Debbie Davidson to coordinate car-pooling.

  • Social Justice/Public Witness calendar late edition – Week of 1/21

    Thursday at Noon

    Christ Church Cathedral’s lunch and learn will host Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus to talk about 2024 priorities, issues and challenges. Bring a lunch or purchase one on-site at 318 E 4th Street downtown.

    Thursday at 7

    Woman’s City Club will host an event: Neighbors, Not News Stories, How Greater Cincinnati Welcomes Immigrants and Refugees with Dignity. Register here: 

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wcc-january-forum-neighbors-not-news-stories-tickets-792058507317?utm_experiment=test_share_listing&aff=ebdsshios

  • Social Justice/Public Witness newsletter: week of 1/7/24

    Welcome to 2024

    A recent Carolyn Hax column in WaPo resonated with me…

    Hi, Carolyn: I’m feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume and magnitude of issues that I’m passionate about: gun control, abortion access, environmental protections, etc. I’ve sent out feelers about volunteering for organizations that address these huge problems, but then I start to feel as if it’s all hopeless anyway, so why bother? How do I get past these feelings and get started? And how do I prioritize these commitments when they all feel equally important? Volunteering

    Volunteering: Like with anything that feels too big, think methodically and small. Not, “How do I fix it all?” Just, “What is the next step?”

    See how the organizations respond and what opportunities they offer you. Then: What’s the next step? Pick one that fits with your schedule, energy level and sense of purpose. What’s the next step? Work at it for a while, then reevaluate to see whether it’s meeting your needs and the needs of the moment.  Small things in big numbers = big things. Never forget that.

    A volunteer I admired once told me that she was sometimes criticized for not directing her efforts toward other (presumably more important) issues. She said she responded, “If every single person picked one thing they care about and did something about it, 90 percent of the world’s problems would be solved.” You can’t do it all, but you can do something. You can do YOUR part.  

    Tomorrow at 4:30

    Right To Be will hold a webinar: Bystander Intervention to Stop Islamaphobic and Xenophobic Harassment. Register here.

    On Thursday at 10

     One Fair Wage‘s campaign manager will provide an update on their efforts to pass a ballot initiative in 2024 to increase the Ohio minimum wage to $10.50; register for the Zoom link here.

    Friday at 7

    Join AMOS organizer Rev. Daniel Hughes, via zoom for his Tad Talk “Aim for AMOS.” The Amos Project strengthens the ability of people of faith to address local and regional community issues, including mass incarceration, immigration, healthcare, and racial inequity. Want to know more? Register through Thursday. 

    Next Sunday

    SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Cincinnati will tour the Clearly Indigenous, Black and Brown Faces, and Charlie White exhibits at the Cincinnati Art Museum at 2 PM. Contact Carole Womeldorf for more information; possibly a good opportunity for a group luncheon prior at a minority-owned business (I’ll be on my honeymoon so it will be up to Carole to organize it ;-).

    Finally, on Tuesday, January 16th at 11

    Courageous Conversations will hold a webinar on Driving While Black: An Intergenerational Conversation. Zoom in here.

    Next edition after we return on the 21st; anyone can send items of interest to announ…@FirstUU.com. Cheers!

  • Action Alert on HB 68: Please contact your state Representative

    Thankfully, Governor DeWine has vetoed HB 68, which doesn’t allow gender-affirming care for children who aren’t grandfathered in (have already begun treatment). However, the measure passed with 62 votes, and only 60 are needed to override his veto. See how your rep voted here.

    I have contacted my legislator, Adam Bird, to urge veto. Here’s the basic text of what I wrote: As an educator, you should be ashamed to support HB 68; forcing children to live in their sex assigned at birth is so wrong on so many levels, I can’t even wrap my head around it. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says: Adolescents and adults with gender dysphoria without gender-affirming treatment are at risk of thinking about or attempting suicide. In fact, the transgender son of a KY legislator DID commit suicide. Adam, if you don’t know any transgender people, DON’T LEGISLATE FOR THEM! Lady Valor, the story of a transgender Navy SEAL, can be accessed on Netflix and other streaming services. That woman, Kristen Beck, grew up in a town like New Richmond in upstate NY. Her father was the football coach, she played sports, hunted and fished; occasionally, she would manufacture an excuse to stay home from school and try on her sister’s clothing. Please do the right thing; take 90 minutes to watch Lady Valor and try to understand what it is like to be born in the body of the wrong sex. Your constituent, Debbie Davidson

  • 2024 Resolution: Save Coney Island and honor Marian Spencer’s legacy!

    Time to activate social networks and talk to decision makers; paving over Coney Island is an abysmally bad idea! You lose parking to do it, something this venue already seriously lacks and we have plenty of venues between Riverbend, PNC Pavillion, the Brady Center, the Taft, Ovation, and Memorial Hall. Coney is the true melting pot in this region; the only place where you see people of all socioeconomic levels, races, faiths, ages and sexes go to have a good time. Since I returned to Cincinnati, I have spent at least 3 or 4 days a week – I like to swim laps there – without incident. It’s exactly what Marian envisioned when she sued to allow her sons to go there…

    I am acquainted with Jan-Michele Lemon-Kearney because her mother and I were members of LWVCA; I have made an effort to engage with her every time I see her even though I’m no longer a resident of the city. My girlfriend went to law school with Eric Kearney so we’re going to find an event they will both attend, maybe an AA Chamber of Commerce fundraiser, and attend so we can ask them to activate the black community.

    Who do you know at City Hall? Anderson Township (I’ve sent my concerns to one of the trustees listed at the website below)? County commissioners? Planning/zoning board members? Have the convo with them and emphasize: we need to preserve Marian Spencer’s legacy!

  • Social Justice/Public Witness calendar: Winter Solstice Edition

    Don’t forget the winter solstice celebration Thursday beginning at 5:30; a taco bar will be provided followed by devotions at 6:30. Also note that our worship on Christmas Eve will be at 5 PM. Finally…

    GAPP’s 19th Annual New Year’s Day Candlelight Vigil: Dreams for Humanity will take place at the Anderson Peace Pole at Beech Acres Park, 6910 Salem Rd in Anderson Township at 5 PM on New Year’s Day.

    Got 5 minutes? Between now and January 31st, the Urban League is asking you to complete an inclusion survey which will gather your valuable insights to assess inclusion, fairness, equity, and opportunity for all groups within our city. 

    This will likely be my last edition between now and 2024! Best to all and to all a good night.

  • Social Justice/Public Witness newsletter: Giving Tuesday edition

    Applied Information Resources will hold its popular lunch and learn series at Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E 4th St. Bring a lunch or purchase a Silverglade sandwich for $6.50. You can also view it on YouTube along with previous forums; like First UU, AIR archives its content.

    There will be a Kwanzaa celebration at Community Happens Here, 6238 Montgomery Rd in Kennedy Heights.

    Thanks to Patty Kelly for the following links:

    75 Black-Owned Business to Support in Greater Cincinnati This Holiday Season (would those interested in lunch after church on Sunday review the list of restaurants and make suggestions? Most of my choices, like Just Q’in, are closed Sunday 😉

    25 Hispanic-Owned Businesses to Support in Cincinnati

    Feel free to support Project Connect, which provides advocacy and specialized educational services to 3,500 homeless children in Cincinnati Public Schools and grab a few pairs of mittens for the mitten tree when you see them on sale!

    Or think about MORTAR, one of the organizations spotlighted in our Action-Focused Conversation on Racism in Cincinnati. Since 2014, MORTAR has created diverse communities by enabling historically marginalized entrepreneurs to access the resources needed to start & run successful businesses.