Thursday, November 15, 2012

Support Walmart's Striking Workers


Of the many unfair business tactics Walmart employs, their treatment of workers seeking to organize is one that speaks loudly and clearly. As far as Walmart management is concerned, unions will never be allowed in their stores!

Even as unions in American have been the great equalizer: It can be argued that there would be no middle class without the union movement. Imagine working 40, 50 or even 60 hours a week in a steel plant in the 1950's, and still not being able to afford a home or automobile, or to send your children to college . . . without unions, that most certainly would have been the case. Collective bargaining is a cornerstone of what fairness exists in employer/employee relationships. Even in companies without unions, their pay and benefits are influenced by those achieved through bargaining at other companies.

That Walmart, the largest employer in America, would forbid unions is understandable. Providing fair wages, reasonable benefits and union protections would reduce profits; however, it would also lift thousands out of poverty and reduce the burden on state and federal governments that now fund the safety net for Walmart employees, providing food stamps, health services, housing assistance, etc.

This year, on Black Friday, the group, Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), has planned strikes throughout the country. Please take a few moments to sign their petition at Color of Change by clicking here.

Also, click here to see other ways to support our brothers and sisters at Walmart on Black Friday, as recommended by the UFCW Minority Coalition through the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.

It's a small thing to do, but if millions of us do it, we can make a difference.

Rev. Rochelle Michael and Daryle Brown
Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team

PS And of course, DON'T SHOP AT WALMART!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Does Brother Ed Gardner Stand Alone?

When the American economy sneezes, the African American community catches pneumonia.

But what happens when the American economy catches pneumonia?

In the midst of our presidential election we are bombarded with the tragedy of a national unemployment rate of 8.2%. Of course, when unemployment was 6% or even 5%, there was no national panic concerning urban unemployment that often hovers near 50% for young black men. In a report from the Economic Policy Institute, unemployment for blacks in Chicago stood at 19%, higher than Detroit, and with only Las Vegas and Los Angeles with higher rates (at over 22%), as of July 2011.

Into this gap enters brother Ed Gardner a retired African American business man, now 87 years old. Mr. Gardner, the former President of Soft Sheen Products, whom was recently honored with a street sign by Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago, was infuriated when he came across a construction site at 2210 West 95th Street and there were no Black workers. He made quite a ruckus, threatening to "wallow in the wet concrete" until he was talked out of it by Alderman Bookins, Alderman Rugai and several police offices. That, however, did not end his indignation or his intent to do something about it.

As a result of Brother Gardner's fury, he has begun to organize protests of the construction activity, and specifically the lack of African American works, and the latest one, at which we encourage your participation is as follows:

Construction Jobs March and Rally 

Sunday, September 30, 20122:30 pm - Starting from the West corner of 95th Street & Western Ave. The group will walk in unison to 92nd and Western Ave.
3:00 pm - Rally

Please inform yourself on this issue:

See you at 95th & Western!

Kevin Tyson & Daryle Brown
Trinity Justice Watch Team

Monday, September 17, 2012

Register NOW! AND VOTE!


It's that time of the year, when our airwaves are flooded with political messages and candidates are vying for our attention through every media tool ever invented. While billions of dollars are begin spent to convince us how to vote, there are also millions of dollars being spent to keep many of us from voting. 

Did You Know?
  • In Chicago there are over 320,000 eligible voters that are not yet registered?
  • Just on the South Side of Chicago, there are over 125,000 unregistered, eligible voters?
  • Registering is as easy as filling out a form and mailing it inCLICK HERE to register or go to Forms must be delivered or post marked by October 9, 2012.
  • In 10 tightly contested states, there are 12.1 million unregistered, but potentially eligible Latino adults . . . In Florida alone there are 1.4 million.
  • Voter suppression laws have been passed in 14 states, and laws are pending in 8 others . . . Check out this video CLICK HERE.
  • In Florida, more people have been attacked by sharks in the last 4 years (72), than have committed voter fraud (49).
Don't let your rights be stolen. Don't suppress your own vote. This is YOUR country. GET REGISTERED AND VOTE!

Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Genocide By Another Name

Gun violence is probably the most debated issue in the United States. There are numerous calls and petitions for both the right to carry arms as a deterrent to street urban violence, and more strict gun control laws that would prevent "straw gun" purchases. 

For Black America, the fear of gun violence is common place. I would seriously doubt if any Black person that lives in a major city has not personally (or a family member or friend) had  a confrontation with a handgun, either as a victim, or a witness . . . maybe even as a perpetrator. Gun violence in Chicago has fractured communities like never before, to the point where we have become immune and accepting of violence being part of urban culture. 

While some activists correctly place the blame on gangs, drugs, and the economic environment, for the rise in gun violence, we must also look at public policy that has allowed gun manufacturers and merchants to create a Wal-Mart and eBay climate for gun distribution: buy in bulk for more savings, and if you do not qualify, buy through a third party. At some point, we must realize that Black and Latino communities are under siege from gun policies that contribute to an escalating homicide rate and renders our streets unsafe. We are looking at the extermination of a young generation that will know guns better than mathematics. It's time we change public policy to suppress the sales and distribution of handguns and assault weapons, and begin to place more emphasis on deterrents to violence through peaceful means. It is hard to imagine that more guns in the hands of "law-biding citizens" will deter gun violence. The end result of our current approach is a dead community and a dead generation.

In an effort to curb gun violence in our community we have joined with the Faith Community of  St. Sabina, as well as other faith based and community organizations, to demand common sense gun legislation be passed. Please take a few moments to sign this petition to Governor Quinn asking support for legislation that requires handguns be titled like automobiles, and that prohibits the purchase and possession of military style assault weapons. Find out more about this interfaith effort by visiting

Kevin Tyson
Trinity UCC Justice Watch

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Anti-Incarceration Sunday, May 5, 2012

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.  Hebrews 13:3


Out of any three African Americans,  chances are that one of you three has a loved one currently under control of the criminal justice system–national, state or local– either in jail/prison, on probation or parole.

There is an epidemic rampaging right before our eyes, ripping through our families, leaving children with one and often no parent to raise them, that is crushing our communities and destroying any semblance of social fabric. It is sweeping young black and brown men of color off our streets, affecting the poor and disadvantaged disproportionately, and increasingly affecting young ladies and women.

What is so insidious, so heart wrenching, about this epidemic is that it is imminently curable . . . if only enough people cared! In fact, if this epidemic was occurring anywhere else but the black and brown and poor neighborhoods of our country, all of our greatest scientists, researchers and, yes, even politicians, would be in a mad rush to find a cure.

I’m not talking about a new flu strain, or STD, or some antibiotic resistant microbe, the epidemic I am talking about is mass incarceration. Today, as the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference has called May 6th, Anti-Incarceration/Justice Sunday, below are a few alarming facts:

  • In the 1970’s prison activists were horrified that there were over 250,000 people in U.S. prisons, yet today there are more than 2.3 million people incarcerated . . . the vast majority of them black, brown or poor
  • America leads the world in incarcerating our people, at rate of 743 per 100,000, more than Russia, than China
  • And racial disparities are astounding and indefensible! Black men are incarcerated at 5 times that of white men and Latino men twice that of white men, and for Black men between the ages of 25 and 29 . . . the number is 15 times that of white men

As tragic as these figures are, it doesn’t end there. Even after our brothers and sisters complete their sentences, parole and probation obligations; there is a blazing red “F” attached to them for the rest of their lives. Depending on where you live, an ex-felon can be legally discriminated against in various ways: voting restrictions, disqualified for public benefits like food stamps, federal housing or student loans, even disqualified for jury duty.

The hard work dismantling our broken justice system has begun. One way you can join the fight is by contacting the Trinity UCC Prison Ministry and The Next Movement committee at

Daryle Brown
Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Health Education Needs Your Support!


There are several bills that need your support to assure they are enacted into law, and that are critical to the health of our children and community:

House Bill 3027 - The Sexual Health Education Bill
This bill aims to modernize Illinois’ sex education law and create a standard for existing sexual health education courses for students in grades 6-12. This education empowers teens with the best prevention tools. Sexual health curricula must be updated and based on the latest scientific information.  HB 3027 would require existing sex ed programs to teach complete, medically accurate, and developmentally and age-appropriate content.

The bill gives school districts the flexibility to choose among numerous eligible curricula, and curricula are required to stress abstinence as the only 100% ensured method of avoiding unintended pregnancy, STDs and HIV/AIDS, but also teach about contraceptive options as a means of prevention. Parents can opt to remove their children from any sex ed class for any reason.

Click Here to sign a petition in support of this bill.

Real Education of Healthy Youth Act of 2011
This is a federal bill that would end funding of the "Abstinence until Marriage" program and redirect the funding to the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), a state grant funding stream. Currently the government is spending $50M a year on this program even though the 10-year study of the program indicated it had no impact on teen behavior. In contrast, PREP has been scientifically evaluated to have a measurable impact.

Click Here to  address a message to your representation in Washington and encourage the support this legislation.

Illinois is Planning to Cut HIV Prevention Funding by 50%!

Governor Pat Quinn and the General Assembly are considering cutting state funding for HIV programs by $4 million, which will a lower state funding for HIV prevention, housing, corrections, minority health, perinatal HIV, and harm reduction programs by 50%.

Based on public health data, 108 additional people could become infected with HIV, resulting in over $40 million in lifetime medical costs. Nearly 1,000 HIV-positive persons would lose access to housing and vital supportive services. We estimate that this reduction will actually increase costs to Illinois by $6.9 million next fiscal year.

Click Here to make your voice heard and contact your elected officials now!

Repeal HIV Discrimination Act

Criminal transmission of HIV laws demonize people with HIV and increase stigma.  When someone is charged with criminal transmission of HIV, their HIV-positive status is disclosed to the community, and often the world, through demonizing press coverage.  Severe sentences perpetuate misconceptions that people with HIV are highly infectious, toxic, and dangerous. Criminal transmission of HIV laws can lead individuals to avoid HIV testing and treatment because they fear being tarred with the same brush.

The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act (HR 3053) would require the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to update guidelines and assist states in changing discriminatory criminalization policies against people living with HIV/AIDS.  Please tell your Congressional representative to co-sponsor this critical piece of legislation.

Click Hear to send a message to your legislative representative.

Thank you for taking a stand on health education and non-discriminatory practices.

Trinity UCC
HIV/AIDS Ministry

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Howard Morgan's Fight Should Be Everyones Fight!

Many, but not enough, have heard of the travesty of justice that is represented by the Howard Morgan shooting. First a few facts:

  • Howard Morgan is a former Chicago Police Officer, and following that career, spent 13 years as a Railroad Police Officer.
  • On February 21, 2005, Mr. Morgan was forced from his vehicle and shot by police officers 28 times, 21 of those shots were into his back . . . miraculously he survived.
  • As unbelievable as it may seem, he was charged with four counts of attempted murder, along with other firearm charges (he was a police officer and was carrying a weapon legally).
  • In 2007, he was acquitted of 3 charges and the jury was hung on the remaining counts; the judge declared a mistrial.
  • With evidence and a witness in his favor, and the appearance of double jeopardy, he was tried on the remaining charges this year and is currently awaiting sentencing:
    • The state could only produce 3 of 25 bullets removed from his body - the other bullets could have proven he was shot with his own gun
    • He was never tested for gun residue to confirm he fired his weapon
    • The state never produced the bullet proof vest the office claimed had been shot into
If Howard Morgan had died of his many gunshot wounds this would have been just one more case that got sweep away from the public's vision. The fact that he lived to tell the story should serve as a wake-up call to us all. We should demand justice for Brother Morgan, as well as for ourselves. We should demand Howard Morgan's release, while also demanding our police live up the slogan of "To Serve and Protect." It's time for our police to work with our communities to remove the few bad apples that give them all a bad reputation and that generates the haze of distrust that reduces citizen/police cooperation to near zero.

It is in the interest of us all to bring true justice to bear on this case. To cure the larger issue is certainly going to take time and resources. To begin, however, please click here to go the the Free Howard Morgan website and sign his petition demanding justice.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."  
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

Daryle Brown
Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team

Monday, February 13, 2012

Are We Serious?

When Pastor Moss informs us of how industries, companies, governments, or even individuals, are taking advantage of the poor and disadvantaged among us, do we pay attention? And if we pay attention, do we change our behavior to try to tip the scales back towards “justice?”

Initially, in the fall of 2010, Pastor Moss identified the scandalous tactics being implemented by the Koch brothers, using their billions to manipulate both people and governments to serve their insatiable greed. Pastor warned us that the Koch brothers, owners of the “largest company you’ve never heard of,” were the secret funding source behind the Tea Party, and a staunch opponent of environment regulations. Since that time our congregation was encouraged to boycott Koch Industries’ brands so as not to finance our own destruction. Did we?

Now, thanks to insightful reporting by Bill Press of Tribune Media Services, we find that the Koch brothers have collected over 49 million dollars in “Anti-Obama” funding, and another writer indicates they have pledged 60 million dollars of their own. They are the principle funders of 57 right wing political action groups, including Americans for Prosperity, which alone spent $45M in the 2010 elections! Some key issues that AFP supports:
  • Repealing the Affordable Health Care Act
  • Repealing the Dodd/Frank Act that provides rules and regulations to reduce the chance of another banking system collapse
  • Opposition to the Clean Air Act's ability to address greenhouse gas emissions
  • Elimination of tax credits and subsidies for "green" technologies
  • Elimination of estate taxes (now only paid on the value of estates that is over $5 million)

If providing health care for all is a priority, if we are to be good stewards of the earth God has given to us, if we want a fair tax system and accountable banking system, we must be willing to work for it. Yes, it is a hassle keeping track of various boycotts and other socially conscious actions, and sometimes it feels like we are tossing beans at an elephant, but consistency is critical. If you haven't joined in the boycott of Koch Industries' products, please do. And, for those of you that are already taking part in this important action, please continue.
  • Brawny or Mardi Gras Paper Towels
  • Angel Soft, Soft ‘n Gentle or Quilted Northern Toilet Paper
  • Mardi Gras, Sparkle, Vanity Fair, Dixie or Zee Napkins
  • Dixie Plates, Bowls or Cups
  • Stainmaster Carpet
  • Any products from Georgia Pacific (building products)

Together we make a difference.

Daryle Brown
Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team