The Social Justice Committee meets regularly on the third Sunday of the month after service via Zoom. The meeting is open to all who are interested.
The path of Social Justice at UUFHC is determined each year based on the need and interest of our membership. Funds for the committee's work are supplied via special monthly collections during our Sunday morning services, September through June. The Social Justice Committee strives to educate our community about social justice issues using many sources, including those provided by the UU College and Social Justice, monthly documentary nights, and hands-on volunteer opportunities.
In 2020, the U.S. had one death by suicide every 11 minutes. Suicide is a leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 years old. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Persons experiencing a mental health crisis have a new way to reach out for help.
Modeled after 911, the three-digit 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is designed to be a memorable and quick number that connects people who are suicidal or in any other mental health crisis to a trained mental health professional.
Their web page contains the history of the new hotline, links to suicide statistics, links to suicide prevention resources, and more. Here's the link:
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – SAMHSA
The Community Outreach Committee (COC) was recently established as an extension of the work accomplished by the COVID-19 Relief Project that was completed earlier in 2020. The mission of this committee is:
The idea behind this mission is to help and support UUFHC-initiated projects that focus on helping folks within our local community, many of whom are experiencing particularly hard times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several examples of this work include:
The Sharing Table on Saturday, January 30. UUFHC, with support from UU Fallston, served 275+ people.
In February of 2022 our Fellowship chose to partner with two other faith communities to support an Afghan refugee family.
The Noori family of 13, arrived on Valentine's Day, and with them came all of the challenges you might expect from a family with 11 children, one of whom was born in route to America. No one in the family had ever been to school, had never visited a doctor or dentist, and had no knowledge of the English language. And thus, our journey began. Representatives from each of the church communities formed a core group who laid out all of the areas of service that needed to be provided, and worked to engage other volunteers to accomplish these goals.
We have all learned so much over the past year about the Afghan culture, about each other, and about ourselves. Our core group met every week (46 meetings in all) as well as numerous interactions by email and phone. There were more than 25 volunteers from UUFHC that helped make all of this happen.
For over a decade, UUFHC has been known as the church on Rt. 22 that houses the Silent Witnesses, raising the awareness of our entire community about the tragedies of domestic violence. This year, however, because of COVID-19, we will not be holding a ceremony. Anyone is welcome to drive into the parking lot and sit for a moment of silence in reverence to the lives lost.
UUFHC has prominently displayed the Silent Witness figures for 18 years. A grant for the project was funded by Harford Community College at that time. Since then, the figures have been displayed outside the church during the month of October which is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Originating in 1990, the Silent Witness National Initiative began with a group of 8 women from the St. Paul/Minneapolis area who decided to address the issue of domestic violence murders in their community. They created 27 life-sized red wooden figures representing women who were murdered by a spouse or partner and called the figures Silent Witnesses.
According to the American Psychological Association, women who are victims of domestic violence are 8 times more likely
to be killed by an intimate partner if there are firearms in the home.
FBI data indicates that 30% of female homicide victims are killed by husbands or boyfriends.
This translates into the deaths of four women per day at the hands of male partners.
Women often times remain in an abusive relationship because it can be dangerous and difficult for them to leave.
If they threatened to leave or are separated from their abuser, this is the most dangerous time
and when they are most apt to be killed. Why is this? According to the
Strengthen Our Sisters website,
Murder is the ultimate expression of the batter's need to control the woman's behavior.
Knowing this, women need organizations like SARC to help them design a plan to leave safely.
SARC's free services include a 24/7 helpline, a shelter, counseling and legal services.
For more information visit www.sarc-maryland.org or call the 24/7 phone number 410-836-8430.
The UUFHC members coordinating this year's commemoration stated,
The Silent Witness Initiative helps us
understand the profound damage violence brings to our lives, and hopefully raises the awareness in our
community about the tragedies that have occurred right here in Harford County.
Our statues are a silent remembrance of those victims and we especially welcome family and friends of those victims.
The mission of the Silent Witness project is to promote peace, healing and responsibility in adult relationships in order to eliminate domestic murders in the United States by 2020. You can learn more about the Silent Witness National Initiative by visiting its website at www.silentwitness.net.
If you are interested in finding a community that offers fellowship, personal growth, and opportunities to give something back to society, please consider visiting UUFHC. Social Justice Committee announcements are posted on the wall over the food table in the coffee room. You can also find us on Facebook.For more information on the Social Justice Committee or our projects, please contact Susan Knause (firstname.lastname@example.org).