Some issues are dear to the hearts and minds of the members of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, but are too big to fully tackle within the Society. Two of those issues are climate change and racism.
On May 19, representatives from the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, South Presbyterian Church in Bergenfield, Temple Emeth in Teaneck, Buddhist Global Relief, Sustainable Bergen, and five other congregations, met to form a Greenfaith Community Circle.This Teaneck area group, supported by Greenfaith.org, plans to raise awareness about climate issues and act in protection of the earth. Six months after the Paris Climate Conference talks (COP21), all the congregations will mark the occasion and announce our alliance. That will be on Sunday, June 12.
Meanwhile, some of our members have already been busy on the environmental front. In the service of stopping dangerous train cars that carry explosive Bakken crude oil through residential neighborhoods, you can see Lou Steinberg sitting on the train tracks in Albany. He and Laszlo Berkovits participated in the Break Free from Fossil Fuels event held in Albany, New York on May 14. The mission: We will stop the “bomb train,” the presence of which is an act of environmental racism, class prejudice, and an illegal breach of the public trust.
Speaking of racism, another coalition is forming which will move our Being White and its Hidden Assumptions discussions to a new level. The YWCA of Bergen County is creating an alliance of the local Unitarian Churches, other congregations and local groups who are already in the process of raising awareness of the personal, structural and institutional racism that persists in our country. Samantha Plotino from the YWCA attended one of our workshops. They invited the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County to be one of the first members in this new coalition. The aim is to help designate and finance a team from each of the participating congregations to be trained by the Undoing Racism Project.
Another outgrowth of our workshops was the decision by our planning group to publicly support the efforts of active resistance to the dehumanization of Black people. To that end, we unveiled this banner at the Membership meeting on May 15. The banner is now displayed on our property facing Larch Ave.