Summer is a busy time full of vacations, summer camp, time with family, celebrations, and more. With our packed schedules and, hopefully, time to recharge, we must not forget to set aside a few moments to reflect and take action.
For many in the U.S., the Fourth of July is a reminder of the freedoms that remain out of reach and the unfulfilled promise of “liberty and justice for all” in the United States. Marginalized communities, including women, People of Color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities, have long lived without the freedoms afforded to more privileged communities, and fundamental freedoms continue to be stripped away.
Just days before Independence Day, the Supreme Court released its decisions in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, effectively ending race-based affirmative action, and 303 Creative v. Elenis establishing a broad new free speech exemption for businesses that provide custom goods and services and opening the door for discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, as well as religious minorities and others. The Fourth also brings deep pain in our community, as we continue to mourn the loss of the seven people murdered one year ago in a shooting at the July 4th parade in Highland Park, IL, including WRJ member Jacki Sundheim. May their memories be for a blessing, and let these circumstances move our legislatures and communities into bold action to enable all people, particularly those most marginalized, to live freely—free from discrimination, harassment, restrictions on reproductive healthcare, and the threats of gun violence and destruction from climate change.
Together, we can work to pursue a society of wholeness, justice, and compassion. Here are six actions (in no particular order) you can take this summer to fight for true justice and freedom:
Urge your members of Congress to support the Assault Weapons Ban and safeguard our communities.
Urge your members of Congress to support the Equality Act, which provides explicit and consistent nondiscrimination protections for gender identity and sexual orientation.
Join Power for Purpose: The Reform Movement’s 2023 Campaign for Climate Justice! Through August 8, the White House is accepting comments on rules to limit carbon pollution from power plants that are a top driver of climate change. If you are clergy, submit a comment here, and if you are not clergy, submit your comment here to encourage the White House to adopt the strongest possible carbon rules.
Each of us can do our part for the environment. Here are two ideas from WRJ Board Member Leslie Brier. Purchase reusable paper towels. They are easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and cut down on trash. Speaking of trash, do you compost? See if there is a local composting company that will deliver and pick up buckets to put your food scraps in, and they will take care of the rest!
Urge your members of Congress to support the Right to Contraception Act, which would codify an individual’s right to access contraception and for healthcare providers to provide them.
Bullying and harassment know no boundaries. They cross into our congregations and exist in the U.S., Canada, and worldwide. Engage with the WRJ says STOP initiative by reading and sharing this resource on how to identify and disrupt microaggressions within your community.
Remember, every little bit helps! Enjoy your summer.