Running and Dying While Black

by Jennifer Seaich, First Congregational UCC, Pocatello, ID
being black 2A few weeks ago in Baltimore, Freddy Gray, a 25-year-old black man, made eye contact with police. He then ran and was chased, handcuffed and placed facedown on the floor of a police van. His cries for help were ignored. Six officers were charged in Freddie Grays’ death. The surprise is that police were charged, not that another young black man is dead.

A brief video in which an African American mother chases and beats her 16-year-old son in the middle of a Baltimore riot has gone viral, with captions like “Hero Mom!” or “You go, Girl!”

Facebook commenters seem convinced this mother beat her son because rioting is wrong, yet she reported she was terrified her son could be another Freddie Gray.

It’s somehow funny when a tough black momma puts her hands on her hips and smacks her boy, though few people cheer at a parent hitting a child in the grocery store parking lot.

Reproductive Health: ONE KEY QUESTION to BRAVE Responses

By the Rev. Andrea Cano, Ainsworth UCC, Portland, OR

Hobby-LobbyAt my age, well into the post-menopausal 60’s, there’s a lot to embracing cronehood. It is a time to mine experiences for wisdom, continue to learn and deepen my understanding of life, and still be involved in matters of consequence.

One of those matters surfaced in the July 7 issue of Slate Magazine[1] in an article titled “Would you like to become pregnant next year?” This query is the heart of the ONE KEY QUESTION campaign being launched by the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health.[2]

The initiative aims to assure that during each medical visit, women of child bearing age are asked the question, and the response then “triggers a doctor-patient discussion that will keep women healthier, help eliminate health disparities, and save tax payer dollars.”

If the woman answers ‘yes’, resources, a pre-natal care plan, and counseling are suggested for a healthy pregnancy.  If she does not intend to get pregnant, the discussion focuses on a wide range of contraceptive options to prevent unplanned pregnancy.  If she is uncertain, she is encouraged to take preventive measures until she is sure, because 85% of couples not using contraceptives will become pregnant the next year, whether they intend to or not.

Jobs With Justice and Right to Work

By Don Johnson, Zion United Church of Christ, Gresham, OR
right to work is wrongThe Jobs With Justice breakfast on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 found the faith community, especially the United Church of Christ, very well represented. At least six UCC pastors were in attendance.

A large concern at the meeting was that there are currently 24 Right to Work states, and Oregon is being targeted to become the 25th. This effort is primarily promoted and funded by large corporations. One strategy is to use the words “choice” and “freedom” in their advertising. Corporations want to end organized labor so they can cut wages and benefits, which they claim are the reasons for higher prices. The real reason is probably greed. A posting on “Face Book” a few weeks ago by Global listed the pay ratio of CEOs vs. the average worker in various countries: Japan 11:1, Germany 12:1, France 15:1, Canada 20:1, UK 22:1, Mexico 47:1, USA 145:1. Many corporations pay their employees so poorly that they must rely on assistance to support and meet the medical needs of their families. Most corporations in the United States are doing quite well during these times, but the average worker is falling behind.