Undoing Racism Committee

We are a long-standing committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair whose goal is to work with our congregation and the wider community to develop, strengthen and act upon anti-racist, multicultural perspectives through worship services, educational programs, lectures, book & film discussions, other cultural events, and community involvement.

The goal of the Undoing Racism Committee is to give UUCM members and friends the opportunity to act on their commitments to racial justice. We work closely with the UU Legislative Ministry of NJ and seek guidance from the UU Association. Through self-examination and learning, we are able to act with more direction and impact.

Jane Gaertner serves as chair. For information, contact uucmurc@googlegroups.com

When we Meet:

  • The URC meets on the third Sunday each month following the second service or after the single service when scheduled.

As I See It
A Monthly Take on Race in America from Members of the Undoing Racism Committee

September 2016

Ban Solitary Confinement, Support National Prisoner Work Strike

In early June, the Undoing Racism Committee presented a program to bring attention to and support legislation to end solitary confinement in New Jersey prisons. Senate bill S51 was passed by the New Jersey Senate that week. To ensure that the legislation is passed by the Assembly and signed by the governor, our Undoing Racism Committee and UU Legislative Ministry of NJ have launched The Out the Box North Jersey Campaign.

The Box, which is a replica of a solitary confinement cell, is a powerful way to educate and activate concerned citizens to press for criminal justice reform. UUCM opened The Box on our lawn three months ago. The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood will host The Box from September 9th thru 25th. Union Congregational in Montclair will sponsor The Box in October.

On a related issue, prisoners all across America will go on strike to call for the abolition of what is termed “prison slavery” on September 9, 2016. This is the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising. Prisons maintain their bottom line by paying inmate workers, disproportionately Black and Latino, much less than minimum wage or, in three states, nothing at all. While this exploitation saves taxpayers money in the short term, leaving prisoners impoverished and without marketable skills leads to the high cost of re-incarceration. It takes courage to go on strike in ordinary circumstances, but the prisons have an increased ability to punish workers who participate in the strike. They risk not only their “wages,” but also their limited freedom and, if placed in solitary confinement, their health.  We urge our community to stand in solidarity with prisoners.  It is our goal to educate the public about these issues that NJ and the nation face in light of the U.S. mass incarceration problem.

Interest has been expressed by 3 other congregations and dates will be set in the near future. For more information or to forward leads, please contact Becky Doggett at R.Doggett@comcast.net or 973-651-6396 (voice or text).

Jane Gaertner
Chair, The Undoing Racism Committee