Restaurant workers subject of UUA Common Read

All Unitarian Universalists are invited to read the book Behind the Kitchen Door this winter and spring. The book, by Saru Jayaraman, is the 2013-14 UUA Common Read. Congregations are encouraged to use the book as part of adult education and book group discussions and also in worship, as a way of reflecting on congregants’ dining-out practices and the lives of those who create and serve restaurant meals.

The book describes how restaurant workers live on very low wages, and how poor working conditions, including discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens, affect the meals that are served to us. The author, who launched a national restaurant workers organization after 9/11, tells the stories of ten restaurant workers in cities across the United States as she explores the political, economic, and moral implications of eating out.

She explains that what is at stake is not only our own health, but the health and well-being of the second largest private sector workforce—10 million people, many of them immigrants and many of them people of color.

The author is cofounder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an organization working to improve conditions for restaurant workers. The book is a resource for the new minimum wage campaign announced July 18 by the UU Service Committee and the UUA. The campaign has a goal of raising the minimum wage to $10. The book, published by Cornell University Press earlier this year, is available from the UUA Bookstore for $21.95, with discounts for multiple copies. The book includes a free discussion guide.

Certification deadline is February 3

The UUA’s online system for annual certification of membership for UU congregations is now open. All congregations are required to log in to their online accounts and submit this report before the deadline on Monday, February 3 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Congregations must submit their certified number of members and financial statistics from their recently ended fiscal year, including total operating expenditures. Learn more and review the certification process online, or contact data_services@uua.org with questions.

Congregations that do not certify by the deadline are not eligible to send voting delegates to General Assembly 2014.

Congregations can use their online accounts throughout the year to update their lists of member names and addresses to ensure delivery of UU World magazine. Changes in leadership can also be recorded throughout the year using the my.UUA.org account system.

Thirty Days of Love campaign set

The calendar of activities for Standing on the Side of Love’s annual 30 Days of Love program is now available on the SSL website. The program, designed as a month-long spiritual journey and commitment to sustained social action and service, begins January 18 and culminates February 16.

This is the third year for the campaign, which invites and encourages congregations and individual UUs to engage in a different act of social justice for each of the thirty days. Congregations are invited to sign up and to share their activities on the website during the campaign. The campaign will also include opportunities for personal transformation.

The campaign will send an email about each day’s theme, but congregations and individuals can also plan ahead to identify or develop activities in their own areas that fit that theme.

Author sought for multicultural practices book

Skinner House Books and the UUA’s Multicultural Ministries Team is seeking proposals for a book that will “inspire and give practical guidance” on the subject of making Unitarian Universalist communities authentically multicultural.

Writers are encouraged to address one or more of the following topics in such a book: leadership, justice, worship, and community. Mary Benard, Editorial Director for Skinner House, adds, “We are intentionally leaving the specifics about the form of the book open-ended. In fact,  we’re hopeful that we’ll publish more than one book as a result of this request for proposals. In the interest of timeliness, we will give preference to proposals that do not rely on more than three individuals to submit writing.”

Proposals should be grounded in personal experience, UU values and theology, and reflect a deep knowledge of the benefits and challenges of multicultural faith communities.

A complete proposal description is on the Skinner House website. Deadline for submissions is February 4. A complete list of other prospective books for which Skinner House is seeking authors is also on the website. Questions may be directed to mbenard @ uua.org.

Oct. 31 deadline for marginalized peoples survey

October 31 is the deadline for taking an online survey designed to gather information about the needs of people who are marginalized around issues that include ability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity. The Multicultural Ministries Sharing Project survey is open to anyone in the above groups who is at least 13 years old and has a UU affiliation. It is being conducted through the Multicultural Growth and Witness staff group in the Office for Congregational Advocacy and Witness.

The survey will be followed by focus groups, to be held through December. Those who do not fit the target categories are invited to share information about the survey with those for whom it is intended. If you have questions, contact Alex Kapitan, LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs administrator in the Multicultural Growth and Witness staff group.

UU World survey needs your voice

There’s still time to complete a UU World survey that will help determine the future of the magazine. The 31 questions include ones on whether you read the magazine in print form or online (or both), what social media you use, and your involvement with a congregation or other aspect of Unitarian Universalism.

The survey takes about five minutes and can be found at the Your Voice Counts link at the top of the uuworld.org webpage.

‘Behind the Kitchen Door’ new UUA Common Read

The book Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman has been chosen as the 2013–14 UUA Common Read.

The book describes how restaurant workers live on very low wages, and how poor working conditions, including discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens, affect the meals that are served to all of us. The author, who launched a national restaurant workers organization after 9/11, tells the stories of ten restaurant workers in cities across the United States as she explores the political, economic, and moral implications of eating out.

She explains that what is at stake is not only our own health, but the health and well-being of the second largest private sector workforce—10 million people, many of them immigrants and many of them people of color.

All Unitarian Universalists are invited to read Behind the Kitchen Door as a way to reflect on their own dining out practices and the lives of those who create the meals and serve the food.

The author is cofounder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an organization working to improve conditions for restaurant workers. The book is a resource for the new minimum wage campaign announced July 18 by the UU Service Committee and the UUA. The campaign has a goal of raising the minimum wage to $10. The book, published by Cornell University Press earlier this year, is available from the UUA Bookstore for $21.95, with discounts for multiple copies.

Survey looks at needs of marginalized people

In an effort to learn more about the needs of people who are marginalized around issues that include ability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity, the UUA’s Multicultural Ministries Sharing Project has launched a survey intended for individuals in those groups.

The survey, which is online and may be taken until October 31, is open to anyone in the above groups who is at least 13 years old and has a UU affiliation. It is being conducted through the Multicultural Growth and Witness staff group in the Office for Congregational Advocacy and Witness. The survey will be followed by focus groups, to be held October through December to help UU leaders and UUA staff “understand where we are now and what we need to be well-equipped to meet the ministry needs of UUs in the 21st century,” according to the news release announcing the sharing project.

Those who do not fit the target categories are invited to share information about the survey with those for whom it is intended. If you have questions, contact Alex Kapitan, LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs administrator in the Multicultural Growth and Witness staff group.

UU College of Social Justice trips planned

The Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice’s new programs for this fall and into next spring include a two-week trip to India, two to Chicago to learn about organizing for justice in the food industry, and four involving immigration justice.

The India trip, through the UU Holdeen India Program is to the state of Gujarat, where participants will witness the work of the Self Employed Women’s Association, a Holdeen Program partner, and will learn about efforts to organize Dalits, the people once branded as “untouchables.”

In Chicago, the Restaurant Opportunities Center, a partner of the UU Service Committee, will help participants on two trips learn about labor history, injustices in the restaurant industry, and organizing strategies.

The immigration justice trips, with BorderLinks, will delve into the connections between the food system and social justice and show how to stand with communities struggling for justice in the state of Chiapas. There is a separate program for seminarians. There are four trips in total.

Full information on the trips is on the UU College of Social Justice website.