Blog by Debbie Davidson
on behalf of the

Social Justice Committee

  •  Social Justice/Public Witness – Week of 6/9/24

    Tomorrow is National Children’s Day; there will be arts and crafts as well as a children’s march at 11:30. The event will take place at Washington Park from 10-1; no doubt the food trucks will show up en masse so you can have lunch after church tomorrow.

    Wednesday at Noon

    MARCC’s delegate meeting will take place via Zoom; the topic is Connecting Communities With Affordable Housing. Co-presenters are John Schrider, Jr., Director of Legal Aid of SW Ohio and Stacey Purcell, also of Legal Aid. Connected Communities is a policy that will likely be passed by City Council which will increase the number of housing units along thoroughfares; notably absent is policy language regarding affordable housing. Zoom in here.

    SURJ Cincinnati will host Let’s Talk About Race, a Tedx Talk followed by discussion. How can we white people improve our capacity to talk and learn about race? According to Shelly Tochluk, people just beginning to pay attention to race generally arrive to this conversation well-intentioned, but without knowing how racially-loaded their language is. People of color, on the other hand, often arrive rather worn-out from years of frustration and with a more developed understanding of racial dynamics. Register here.

    A celebration of the freeing of the last slaves in Texas will kick off with a block party at The Banks beginning at 4 Friday. Saturday, the parade will originate in the West End at 10 and continue to City Hall. Then the Juneteenth Festival will take place at Mirror Lake in Mount Adams from noon to 9. Sunday there will be a praise festival at Seasongood Pavilion from 2-6. Finally, the National Underground Freedom Center will host an event on the traditional date, June 19th, from 10-6:30.

  • Social Justice/Public Witness – Calendar Week of 5/20/24

    Someone showed up at church this morning needing housing; just wanted to make everyone aware that anyone needing assistance can call 211 24/7/365 and the United Way will provide them with a range of resources from housing to food insecurity to mental health.

    There will be an Immigrant Dignity Coalition Meeting at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church. I found the one that I attended inspirational and enlightening (I caught COVID at it but hey, it was a slam dunk I was getting it since I was a lifeguard at the West End Y and there were 60 new kids learning to swim every Wednesday 😉

    SOS  Art Cincinnati will hold an event to commemorate World Hunger Day utilizing local artists from 5-8:30 at Mt Auburn Presbyterian Church.

    Carole Womeldorf invites you to contact her if you are interested in attending a one-day summit to reduce gun violence on June 1st; I’m sure many of you heard or read about the shooting behind Withrow in the early morning hours yesterday that killed a young man who graduated Friday. It’s preventable and many strategies exist to address this! Several are mentioned in last year’s common read on justice and it’s time we interrupted this tragic cycle…

    A park will be dedicated in the memory of long-time South Avondale Elementary educator William Joel McCray; The 1.5-acre park is across from the Cincinnati Children’s Critical Care Building on Erkenbrecher Avenue, west of the intersection with Burnet Avenue. Let’s make an effort to turn out for our community partner! Details here.

    Weekly wisdom:

    “We are one people, one family, the human family, and what affects one of us affects us all.” ~John Lewis~

  • Social Justice/Public Witness – Calendar Week of 5/12/24

    Wednesday at 6

    National Underground Freedom Railroad Center, 50 E Freedom Way, presents Music, Medicine, and Pieces In Between: Jazz and conversation with Dr. Alvin Crawford. A trailblazing orthopedic surgeon who was the University of Tennessee’s first Black student in 1960, he established Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Orthopedic clinic after military service. Underlying his story are systemic and very personal incidents of racism Crawford experienced throughout his career. Tickets are $10; $5 for members.Thursday at noon, AIR holds their popular lunch and learn session at Christ Church Cathedral; topic TBD. 318 E 4th St or Zoom in here.

    Then Thursday at 6

    Peaslee Center holds their monthly Peace Potluck with guests Dr. Paul Morrow and Dr. Jamie Small from PREVENTS-OH, a project of the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton. They were recently interviewed by WVXU on their work to stop extremism. Bring a dish to share and RSVP here.

    Friday at 2

    The Interfaith Center presents How to Navigate Religious Differences in Our Divisive World with Deborah Levine via Zoom. This presentation provides strategies that help communicate effectively, make wise decisions, and avoid mistakes that can fester and divide. Register here.

    Saturday, Heritage UU sponsors a trip to Ripley, OH to experience the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom; if you missed last year’s First UU trip, I highly recommend it! $16 for adults/$10 for kids includes lunch; carpooling from Heritage’s parking lot leaving around 9:30. Flyer attached; registration link can be found here.

    Next Sunday

    First Lutheran, 1208 Race St, will hold a vespers concert from 6-7:30 with refreshments following. Featuring Seven Hills Baroque with guest soloist Miranda Zirnbauer, a portion of proceeds will be donated to Just Earth – Cincinnati; free and open to the public with donations graciously accepted.

    Looking ahead – June 6-8

    The Regional Police Accountability & Public Safety Conference will be held June 6-8; Thursday night’s session will take place across from First U at the 1819 Innovation Hub and includes a DoJ official as well as the City Manager, Assistant City Manager and Cincinnati’s Police Chief (and BTW, all women 😉 The session on the 7th from 10-4 will discuss Police Accountability and on the 8th will be focused on Youth Justice. These two sessions will be held at New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn. For more information email conference coordinator Keevan: or get the QR code on this Facebook page by searching for the May 4th post by the Black Dollar Project: Cincinnati.

  • Social Justice/Public Witness – Calendar Week of 4/22/24

    Right To Be hosts its popular webinar: Bystander Intervention To Stop Xenophobic Harassment. You’ll start by talking about types of disrespect immigrants are facing right now — from microaggressions to violence — using a tool called the Spectrum of Disrespect. You’ll learn what to look for and the positive impact bystander intervention has on individuals and communities. You’ll talk through five strategies for intervention: distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct; and how to prioritize your own safety while intervening. Register here.

    In addition to Saturday’s Earth Day event in Summit Park, Cincinnati Parks has partnered with Moerlein Lager House, 120 Mehring Way E, for the annual Arbor Day event. Cincinnati Parks are going to give away three hundred redbud trees. There will be a naturalist to discuss how trees safeguard our watershed. This event features a kid’s zone with a Cincinnati Circus bounce house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; there will be free outdoor games from 11 – 5pm. Raptors Inc. will have an education booth. The Traveling Jam, string band, performs at noon, followed by the Foles, my favorite local acoustic band, at 3. Aglamesis will be offering $2 scoops of ice cream.

    First UU hosts Knowing Him By Heart, presented by Dr. Matthew Norman. Frederick Hord and Matthew D. Norman’s anthology explores the complex nature of views on Lincoln through the writings and thought of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, Gwendolyn Brooks, Barbara Jeanne Fields, Barack Obama, and dozens of others. The selections move from speeches to letters to book excerpts, mapping the changing contours of the bond–emotional and intellectual–between Lincoln and Black Americans over the span of one hundred and fifty years. Tickets are $7 but free for Harriet Beecher Stowe House members

    Like to support our community partners? The Piggest Raffle Ever entries are $5 and features Ignite Peace as well as ALS United Ohio which we supported in last year’s Flying Pig Marathon. Grand prize is $10,000 ($5,000 to the winner and $5,000 to the organization), second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $3,000!

    UU Council of Greater Cincinnati presents Deeper Than Skin, a special performance at St. John’s UU Saturday, May 4th from 3-5, followed by a joint service at First UU Sunday morning beginning at 10:30. Featuring Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway, two friends, one Black, one white who are musicians, storytellers, students of history and world travelers born 3 days apart. Two separate narratives forged into one powerful friendship aimed at finding common ground and helping others to do the same. An experience of singing and listening, of experiencing a connection so deep that it makes you laugh, smile, cry and reconsider what you know about our history. It’s an invitation to open your heart and mind to a story of shared humanity that resonates with your own.

  • Social Justice/Public Witness calendar week of 3/24/24

    Thursday at 6

    Community Shares is looking for prospective board members; the Zoom meeting tomorrow to look at roles and responsibilities begins at 6 and can be accessed by contacting Executive Director, T. Duane Gordon. If you have prior board experience in organizations like the ones Community Shares supports, consider this opportunity to put faith into action!

    Trans Town Hall Thursday 6-8 at Radio Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock St, Northside. 

    This town hall, featuring Cathy Allison of the Trans Advocacy Council and Carson Hartlage of TransOhio, will be an overview of the state of trans rights in Ohio right now, where the community is aiming to go, and how we are all going to get there. The intended audience is trans folks and LGBQIA+ allies to gather information, access resources, and find ways to make Cincinnati a more inclusive community. Find the Facebook Event page here.

    Friday at noon

    Way of the Cross has been moved to the American Queen Paddle Wheel across from Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, at noon Friday with a .5 mile walk to Smale Riverfront Park. More information here.

    Next Thursday, April 4th at 8:00 p.m.

    Join an intimate conversation with former Bernie Sanders staffer and UU Katie Thomas Carol, Esq: entitled “Keep Calling And Writing: How the Climate Justice Movement Affects Federal Legislation.” Drawing from almost a decade of experience on Capitol Hill working on energy and environmental policy and legislation, Katie will speak in her personal capacity about the power UUs have to help drive the progressive agenda. Katie will pull from examples of her work for the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment for Rep. Ro Khanna (CA). RSVP here.

    Saturday 4/6 at 10AM

    Walk to End Violence will begin at 10 am Saturday, 4/6 at CCPA (Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy), 1425 Linn St with coffee and donuts available beginning at 9. Walk in honor of those affected by gun violence. More info at https://www.eventcreate.come/walkcincinnati

    On Thursday, May 2

    On Thursday, May 2, Green Umbrella presents Sustainability Summit: From Vision to Action at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Keynote speaker will be Jacqui Patterson, Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Energy Project. More info at

    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”

    MLK, Letters from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963 (almost two years prior to the march on Edmund Pettus Bridge; Boston UU minister and Southern Christian Leadership Conference member Reverend James Reeb died from injuries sustained after a beating prior to the march and Viola Liuzzo, a member of First UU Detroit, was killed after the march while ferrying marchers to the bus station and airport)

  • Social Justice/Public Witness Week of 3/18/24

    Thursday is a trifecta of opportunities for public witness…

    The Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center is at the forefront of protecting immigrant and labor rights in this region. At the next Community Issues Forum tomorrow at noon at Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E 4th St, Magda Orlander, campaign coordinator for CIWC, will discuss the unique struggles that low wage and immigrant workers face in Greater Cincinnati as well as several recent labor rights cases where workers prevailed against abusive employers. Recent changes in local and federal government that have had a positive impact will also be reviewed. Bring a lunch, buy a Silverglade sandwich for $6.50 or watch on YouTube here.

    Then at 3

    Right to Be presents Bystander Intervention to Stop Antisemitic Harassment; this 75-minute training will teach you the 5Ds of bystander intervention methodology, created in collaboration with T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. They’ll start by talking about the forms of antisemitism that the Jewish community faces right now — from microaggressions to violence — using a tool we call the, “Spectrum of Disrespect.” You’ll learn what to look for and the positive impact that bystander intervention has on individuals and communities. Register here.

    Finally at 5:30

    The Anderson Township Trustees are considering incorporating Sunlite Pool, Marian Spencer’s legacy, into their park system. Tomorrow’s meeting begins at 5:30 at the Anderson Center, 7850 Five Mile Rd. You do not have to be a resident to attend; strength in numbers is important!


    I am at Bethesda North awaiting the results of another surgery for Grif and may not publish this weekend; if you have something of interest to the membership, please send to

  • Social Justice/Public Witness Newsletter – Week of 3/9/24

    ACLU Ohio has an action team meeting at Clifton Branch Library, 3400 Brookline. The SW Ohio team coordinator, Riley Taylor, was raised at First UU. For more information, email her.

    Wednesday, you can zoom in to the MARCC delegate meeting at noon. Josh Spring, Executive Director of  Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, will discuss the rise of homelesseness and what we, as people of conscience, can do to make more units of low-income housing available. You may recall that MARCC adopted housing affordability/accessibility as a 2024 priority late last year. Zoom in here.

    The Taft Lecture Series presents Dr. Robert Bullard, a man often called the “Father of Environmental Justice” at Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E Fourth St. Bullard was the first scientist to publish systematic research on the links between race and exposure to pollution, which he documented for a 1979 lawsuit; prior to that no one fully understood how a person’s surroundings affect their health. For more than four decades, Bullard has integrated human and civil rights with environmental justice and embraced the principle that all people and communities have a right to equal protection and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. More information here and registration here. You might also be interested in learning about the medical consequences of climate change, and its adverse effects on human society (e.g. migration, poverty, food insecurity, etc.) on March 25th at 7. Speakers include Kathleen Downey, MD and Caroljean Willie, SC, Ph.D. Register for the virtual program here.

    SURJ-Cincinnati (Showing Up for Racial Justice) presents Sisters at Heart. A young English teacher at an LA high school reached out to TV shows looking for a way to connect her students to reading and writing through prime time. Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery responded with an invitation for the class to come to the set. As a thank you, the group collaborated on a storyline about black-and-white friendship that became a 1970 holiday episode; Montgomery often referred to as her favorite. Registration for the Zoom link here.

  • 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

    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:

    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!

  • 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.