zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)

Arizona outlawed "ethnic studies" courses in public schools and removed nearly 100 books that were used as texts or supplemental reading in these courses from classrooms in Tucson. We cheered the efforts of Tony Diaz, the so-called "librotraficante" who smuggled nearly 1,000 copies of these books in a caravan from Houston to Tucson, setting up "underground libraries" to house the books and make them widely available to children and adults.

(The post details the plan: UUs attending this year's General Assembly are being asked to bring one of the banned books with them to the convention; the books will be on display during the week and then donated to the underground library system. The HUUmanists homepage includes instructions (last paragraph under "What's New") on how to contribute to the project even if one isn't attending GA.
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (onions)
I was asked to speak during this morning's services about Room in the Inn. This is what I said:

Room in the Inn is a program here at First UU where, every other Friday night from November through March, we provide 8 homeless men with overnight shelter at the Morgan House [a building across from the sanctuary used for some meetings, classes, and events]. We pick them up from downtown and provide them each with a mattress, two hot meals, a sack lunch, and the opportunity to take hot showers and to get their clothes washed.

When I tell people I volunteer as a host for Room in the Inn, a reaction I often get is, "Oh. I couldn't do that." To be honest, that's where I was at when I started helping out. My attitude the first couple of years was pretty much, "I'll cook anything you want, and as much as you want, but please don't ask me to drive or to host."

If you've ever been stuck with me in a car trying to get out of downtown, you understand why I don't offer to drive. But with hosting, about four years ago, I started asking myself, "Are you okay with being afraid of this the rest of your life? Can you ask people to take your religion seriously if you don't follow through on the things you find hard or scary?"

That's what pushed me into finally signing up. And then I discovered that serving as a host wasn't actually that scary or hard -- and, at times, it's even fun. You get to watch movies and ballgames in the name of providing sanctuary -- which is an awfully sweet deal -- and it's also a way to learn more about the other servers and hosts: last time, people ended up chatting about everything from car auctions to wedding plans, as well as providing running commentary on the really bad movie we were watching.

The bottom line is, Room in the Inn needs more volunteers, especially people willing to serve as hosts. We especially need people for the 10 pm to 4 am shift, and the 4 to 7 a.m. shift. I encourage you to visit the Room in the Inn table in the Social Hall after this service, or to ask me and other volunteers more questions about what's involved. [asked other hosts to raise their hands]. There are five more Friday nights on the schedule, and there are twenty volunteer slots that have to be filled for each of those Fridays -- including cooking and driving -- so any help you can give will be appreciated. Thank you.


zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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