Justice/Faith in Action

“This is what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

The mission of our Faith in Action Team is to increase awareness of justice issues impacting our brothers and sisters in our local community, Chicago and the state. We provide opportunities for Southminster members and friends to participate in actions that influence public policy toward a more just world.

If you have a passion for justice:

Racial, Social and Economic Justice

Southminster Faith in Action team members join with other CRS members to help abolish the unfair use of money bond in Illinois.

Many people in our country are just now becoming aware of systemic racism as a result of the death of George Floyd. Our Faith in Action team works with our adult and youth members to increase their awareness of racism and what they can do to help eliminate it. We also call on our state and national legislators regularly to ask for their support of legislation that will alleviate racial, social and economic injustice. And we meet regularly with several Northwest Suburban churches to learn about and support each other’s justice efforts.

Specifically, we have begun working with Restore Justice to help create a more fair criminal justice system for youth (children and young adults, under age 25) convicted of crimes, who are currently serving—or at the risk of serving—40 years or more in the adult system. Overwhelmingly, these are young Black men from Cook and its neighboring counties.  We visit with our state legislators to encourage their support of policies that allow those who are rehabilitated to go home, and that ensure those incarcerated, their families, and victim families have opportunities for healing and justice.

As a member church in the Community Renewal Society (CRS), we worked hard on the passage of ECPS, the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance, at the Chicago City Council on July 21, 2021. This historic ordinance brings about a level of community oversight of policing never before seen in this country. ECPS lays the groundwork for more transparency and accountability within the Chicago Police Department, which will lead to the more just treatment of people of color.

Immigration

Our team will be assisting RefugeeOne to meet urgent needs for the resettling of about 800 refugees before the end of its fiscal year (June 2022). About half are expected to be from Afghanistan, while many others will be from Burma/Myanmar, Syria and Congo. Our first effort included the collection of blankets and comforters to keep the refugees warm.

We also provide support for a family that lives at Chalice House, instead of in detention, while navigating the U.S. asylum process. This home is owned by the Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist in Palatine.

Just Housing

Ribbon cutting for Hart’s Place, Arlington Heights’ first supportive housing facility. Using the scissors are (from left): Hugh Brady, The Task Force, North and Northwest Suburban Supportive Housing for Individuals with Mental Illness; Richard Koenig, Housing Opportunity Development Corp.; Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes; and Jessica Berzac, UP Holdings Development. Southminster members were active in encouraging the Village Board’s approval for the facility.

Adequate housing is a human right. A home is the center of our social, emotional and sometimes economic lives — a place to live in peace, security and dignity. It is important to have affordable housing in our area so the people who work here and desire good schools and parks, and safe surroundings for their children are able to access these things. Our Faith in Action Team spoke out loudly in support of Crescent Place, a proposed 40-unit, mixed-income housing complex on Rand Road, which was approved by the Arlington Heights Village Board in September 2021.

It is also important to provide supportive housing for underserved people with mental and physical challenge. We worked closely with The Task Force, North and Northwest Suburban Supportive Housing for Individuals with Mental Illness, to secure approval from the Village Board for the building of Heart’s Place, a privately owned and operated 18 unit permanent supportive housing community with one and two-bedroom apartments in Arlington Heights.

Our Faith in Action team also helped turn out support for the Village Board’s approval of Shelter Inc.’s new Transitional Living Program site in Arlington Heights. This is a home for male youths under guardianship by DCFS who are between the ages of 17.50 and 21 and are aging out of the welfare system.

We will continue to fight for affordable and supportive housing for all who need it.

Linda Waycie, co-chair of the Faith in Action team, has worked tirelessly to bring supportive housing to the Northwestern Suburbs. 

Environmental Justice

Contamination from Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) chemicals is a national public health and environmental emergency. PFAS negatively affect the blood and organs of nearly every living being, and are called “forever chemicals” because they resist degradation and remain in the body for decades. Southminster is helping to increase awareness of these chemicals and support for legislation on the national and state level that would declare these substances hazardous. Learn more here.

Do you care about racial, economic and social injustice? Do you want to be part of the movement to create a more just society? For more information, please contact our justice leaders Linda Waycie at , or Sandy Bourseau at .

 “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people.” – Isaiah 10:1-2

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