This Memorial Day we are in mourning for too many. The first Memorial Day was held in Charleston SC in 1865 by former slaves to honor the Union soldiers who had freed them from chattel slavery, one of America’s original sins. This May 25 marked the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, one of many who have died unnecessarily at the hands of the police, an example of the racism embedded in our culture for over 400 years, which we have committed to work to dismantle. We are mourning the mass murder in Buffalo, and now the mass murder of elementary school children and teachers in Uvalde, TX. We are in mourning for America’s ongoing repeated mass murders and gun violence, and mindful that this nation stands out in the world for this reason. We call on the U.S Senate to take action and pass gun violence legislation. That is clearly the will of the people, who want to protect our children. We re-commit to doing what each and all can do to end gun violence and to protect children and the vulnerable and marginalized from violence and violation. Each is a spark of the divine, and the hope and light of the world. We do this best, together in the community of communities.
This Memorial Day we are in mourning for too many. East Shore Unitarian Church will welcome our congregation and community to mourn with us this Memorial Day. All ages are invited to attend this time together. We will hold an interfaith vigil at East Shore Unitarian Church at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 30 for our soldiers, our murdered brethren, children, and against the culture of racism and gun violence. Join in person (masks required) or via Zoom Meeting 892 3341 3265, Passcode: Memorial
In response to the tragic shooting in Buffalo, NY, the East Shore Unitarian Church reaffirms its commitment to anti-racism and calls on the United States to confront its racist history and dismantle white supremacy.
Statement approved by the Board, May 19, 2022
To read the full statement from the UUA, click here.
“Three Years, 2 Months and 9 Days” was written and recited by Ken Workman.
In this recording, Ken Workman, Duwamish Tribal Elder and fifth generation Great-Grandson of Chief Seattle, shares his poem “Three Years, 2 Months and 9 Days.” He wrote this poem to mark the 170th Anniversary of the Denny Party Landing on the shores of Alki Beach. In “Three Years, 2 Months and 9 Days,” he reflects on the welcome by Chief Seattle and the Duwamish people to the Denny Party on November 13th, 1851. Only three short years later on January 22nd, 1855, the signing of the Treaty of Point Elliott forced the Duwamish people to lose their homelands and move onto reservations. Despite everything, Ken Workman reminds us that the Duwamish people have survived and are still here.
Ken Workman has shared his Duwamish wisdom numerous times at East Shore over the years. Most recently, he welcomed members of the Lummi House of Tears Carvers who came as part of their Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey.
Learn more about the Duwamish people and their history by visiting the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center: duwamishtribe.org
Many of you will recall the day last July when the Lummi House of Tears Carvers blessed us by visiting East Shore bringing their totem pole and stories to share with us. Our site was one of the last stops they made before heading out East to deliver the 24 foot totem pole carved by Master Carver Jewell James to Washington DC. The Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey brought public attention to the need to protect Native American sacred sites, lands, and waters across the country. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, the first Native American to hold this position, received the pole, its vision and welcomed the message.
An important element of the journey was a commemorative mural created by Guatemalan social artist. Her collaborative creation involved hundreds of people who contributed images and words to the mural. If you were at East Shore the day of the Totem Pole event, you will recall the 18 x 18 foot canvas stretched out in front of the RE building. During and after the blessing, we were all invited to paint images, visions and symbols of what is spiritually central to our lives and how we connect to Mother Earth.
At the end of the Red Road to DC journey, the Lummi returned to Washington state while Melanie returned to Guatemala where she refined and finished this stunning painting. Its title, “E Ala E”, a Hawaiian expression, refers to the morning sun which awakens us to each new day when we can decide how we will live that day and do right by all—the people in our lives, the sacred earth, land, waters and all living beings.
To learn more about the process of its creation, you can watch this 2 minute video
If you are curious, you can also learn more about Melanie’s approach to her work which this piece expresses so eloquently by visiting her website at: https://www.melanieschambach.com/
Although this painting is finished, in future it will serve as the basis for further communication and events. For instance, plans are afoot to bring this painting to the UU General Assembly in Portland, Oregon in June of this year. Digitizing the painting and its many elements will provide opportunities to interact with, learn about and reflect on the themes it expresses. A coloring book with pages available on the website available for download is in the planning stage as well.
Everyone is invited to contribute to Melanie Schambach’s larger project by donating to the ongoing Red Road to DC Mural project. Please consider donating to:
Red Road to DC Mural
c/o Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
1207 Ellsworth St
Bellingham, WA 98225
If you write a check make it out to Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship and on the memo line write: Red Road to DC Mural Project.
For more information, contact Deb Cruz at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
Vivien Hao, a filmmaker from Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA has partnered with Shulee Ong (director, videographer and editor) and Lori Lai (associate producer) to create a 60-90 minute documentary film that lifts up Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) who identify as Unitarian Universalist. Vivien identifies as API herself. Years ago she was inspired by traveling photo exhibitions she had seen that spotlighted people of color, and by seeing only pictures of white men at UUA headquarters, to make something that focused on API in Unitarian Universalism. The re-emphasis on the 8th Principle and Widening the Circle Report and multiculturalism within the Unitarian Universalist Association inspired her to make this film now.
Once made, a social media campaign will advertise it as being available for viewing through her church’s website. Churches who partnered with her on this project can do an advance screening, and it will be submitted to various opportunities to reach non-Unitarian Universalists. The film will be made with a viewing audience of unchurched API in mind.
Funding for this project has been received from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism and the Pacific Western Region of the UUA.
East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, WA is a partner of Vivien Hao’s film. The film is tentatively called Invisible No More. We are inviting all people who identify as Asian, Pacific Islander (API) and Unitarian Universalist (UU) in Washington State to consider submitting their story of their experiences being an API UU.
The criteria for being considered for the film are: 1) you self- identify as API and UU. You do not need to be a member of a UU congregation; 2) and have a compelling story of contribution to communities or the UU world. Contributions can be of leadership, activism, or representation.
How To Submit Your Story
If you are interested in being considered for Vivien’s film, please send a one – two paragraph summary of your story to [email protected] along with your phone number by March 31st. You will be contacted by Vivien for an interview if you are a candidate for her film.
If you have further questions before submitting your story, please contact Grace at [email protected].
Interviewees from all areas of WA State are welcome to submit their stories for consideration. Vivien will make the final selections. Recruitment of interviewees is happening in other large metropolitan areas besides Seattle. Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, and New York City are examples.
Film format is expected to be that of a story with video and possibly, narration by the interviewee. Interviews will be recorded. An overall story arc will be created after interviews are done. Interviewees can preview the finished product and comment on it. Time required from the interviewees is estimated to be a half day (3-4hrs) plus a pre-interview (.5 hour). Location filming will happen separately. Weekends or weekdays can be arranged for interviewing. Generally late March – early April would be ideal for interviewing but later months can be arranged.
Biographies of the Film’s Creators
Vivien Hao, is a co-founder of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of DRUMM, a former Journey Toward Wholeness trainer for the UUA and a past congregational president of Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, where she has been active for more than 25 years. She currently chairs the Multicultural Transformation Team at PUC. Vivien is a semi-retired school public relations director with experience in community organizing, project management, public relations, marketing and digital storytelling. She was associate producer of the award-winning documentary “Vincent Who?” about the socio/political impact of the hate crime murder of a Chinese American Detroit native. Vivien has a BA in journalism from the University of Southern California. As a former TV news reporter and producer, Vivien will serve as project manager and producer/writer of the Invisible No More project.
Shulee Ong is a key member of the production team for Sunday livestream services at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. She is a former member of the UUSF Board of Trustees. Currently, she produces interactive on-line videos and other training materials for the San Francisco School Unified District. In 1990, Shulee produced a documentary, Because This About Love, on gay and lesbian marriage which was aired on select PBS stations throughout U.S. including KQED, the San Francisco PBS affiliate. Shulee spearheaded the UUSF team that produced, directed and edited a video series, Beloved Stories to highlight BIPOC members of the congregation; one of these videos was featured in the 2019 GA program. Shulee also directed a documentary, Beloved Universalists, Living the UU Faith in the Philippines; an early version of this film was featured in the 2021 GA program, “Filipinos as UUs”. Shulee earned a B.F.A in Media from Mass. College of Art and M.S. in Educational Technology from San Francisco State University. She will serve as director/videographer and editor of the Invisible No More project.
Lori Lai is a long-time collaborator with Shulee Ong on various video projects including Because This is about Love, Beloved Stories and Beloved Universalists, Living the UU Faith in the Philippines. Currently she is the Treasurer, UUSF Board of Trustees and chair of the Finance Committee as well as former chair of the Human Rights Working Group. She is working in the COVID-19 testing industry specializing in human factors and medical device usability. Lori will serve as associate producer of the project.
Thank you to all who gave so generously to the Na’ah Illahee Fund, recipient of East Shore’s Share the Plate collection during the month of October. Donations collected through East Shore were over $800 in addition to donations ESUC members sent directly via the NIF website.
As a follow-up to the visit of Susan Balbas, the NIF Director, to our October 3rd morning church service, we encourage you to learn more about their efforts to build indigenous community, culture and leadership.
You are cordially invited to attend their Blue Jay Festival, an annual festival which will be held this year virtually from November 15th to 20th. NIF is excited to host a collection of virtual events featuring indigenous stories, art, learning and conversation. All festival events are FREE and available via zoom. Feel free to join for one story or the whole week! (INSERT Festival Schedule.)
For more information and the link to their interactive festival schedule, please go directly to their website.