Season’s Greetings! Once again, the young adults of Chicago Chalice Connection invite our UU community to join us in the giving season by supporting community organizing that puts our principles into action. The 2016 UU Holiday Giving Guide prioritizes organizations that are local/Chicago-based, grassroots-led, and with whom we have relationships. We chose groups organizing on a variety of fronts that work from an intersectional analysis, and whose communities challenge supremacist systems and work towards collective liberation.
This year, as you invest in family, fellowship and gift-giving, please also consider investing in organizations doing the sacred work of building our beloved community.
A Long Walk Home
A Long Walk Home, Inc. (ALWH) is a Chicago-based national nonprofit that uses art to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women. On December 7th, ALWH introduced the Say Her Name Memorial project led by the Girl/Friend youth leaders. “Inspired by the #SayHerName hashtag and a swell of youth activism seeking justice for Rekia Boyd, this memorial will be a public art and research project focused on the interpersonal and police violence that black girls experience in Chicago. As a form of public art, the Say Her Name Memorial will create visibility around the issues that impact black girls and beautify the local community by drawing inspiration and support from North Lawndale residents. There are currently no memorials in Chicago that recognize the violence that African American girls and young women experience. As donors, you have the opportunity to be the first supporters for this historical public art project.”
DONATE HERE to support ALWH’s Say Her Name Memorial Campaign!
Black Lives Matter Chicago
Black Lives Matter Chicago is an intersectional vehicle that values Black people and their right to self-determination. BLM Chicago fights for justice with families most impacted while working to create just and equitable systems. They work to end state violence and the criminalization of Black communities by deconstructing white supremacist, capitalist, and patriarchal systems and structures. BLM Chicago is 100% volunteer run.
Currently, BLM Chicago is working tirelessly with the families of victims of police violence. In November 2016, the Chicago Police Department killed 5 Black people, 3 in one week alone. Donations to this organization would directly impact families and the communities of which they are a part.
DONATE HERE to send funds directly to the organization.
Kenwood Oakland Community Organization – KOCO
KOCO has been an instrument for grassroots democracy in the North Kenwood and Oakland communities of Chicago for nearly 40 years. Founded by religious and community leaders in the 1960s, KOCO facilitated organizing campaigns that increased the resources and services available to families and residents. Today, KOCO continues its work as a vehicle and voice of low-income and working families. Through the sustained engagement of low-income and working families, KOCO develops multi-generational leaders who impact decision-making processes and public policies, improving the quality of life in our local communities. KOCO has been on the forefront of the struggle for our public schools in Chicago.
KOCO has been on the forefront of the struggle for our public schools in Chicago, including Dyett High School in Bronzeville. KOCO members fought for Dyett to be a green technology school and continue open enrollment.
Learn more about KOCO on their website.
DONATE HERE to send funds directly to the organization.
Liberation Library provides books to youth in prison to encourage imagination, self-determination and connection to the outside worlds of their choosing. The organization believes that access to books is a right, not a privilege, and that books and relationships empower young people to change the criminal justice system.
To learn more about Liberation Library, check out their website.
DONATE BOOKS to Liberation Library.
Muslims Organize is a new and emerging organization of young Muslim women, femmes, and non-binary people of color in Chicago. Their goal is to organize and advocate for their communities locally and internationally. The organization is currently seeking seed money through a $5,000 crowdfunding campaign. The organizers plan to use the money to facilitate healing circles, to provide legal support, to foster political education, and to conduct teach-ins for community members and allies.
Here are some words from members of the organization:
Following the results of the 2016 presidential elections, this work is more urgent than ever. Our communities have already seen spikes in hate crimes since the start of the presidential campaigns and we can only imagine what is to come. We want to be proactive and protect our communities from bigotry, civil rights violations, and systemic oppression.
Consequently, Muslims Organize’s first funding need is self-defense for People of Color, femme/nonbinary Muslims.
DONATE HERE to support their crowdfunding campaign.
Like so many others, we are incredibly inspired by and grateful for the ongoing resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is why we went outside our priorities of supporting “local, Chicago-based organizations” to include this important regional justice work. Our struggles for environmental justice must center communities most impacted by environmental destruction and those at the intersections of other systems of oppression. Indigenous communities from around the world have rallied in support of the Lakota Sioux fighting the black snake aka the Dakota Access Pipeline. We are in solidarity with indigenous communities and peoples everywhere protecting our planet from corporate greed and destruction. WATER IS LIFE!
DONATE MONEY HERE to support the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund.
DONATE SUPPLIES to the Oceti Sakowin camp.
We strongly encourage people to learn which banks financially benefit from the Dakota Access Pipeline and ongoing settler colonialism and to WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY from these banks.
Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD)
Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) seeks to stop deportations in our communities through mobilization, advocacy and education. Since December 2012, OCAD has led public campaigns to stop deportations in the state of Illinois and has helped families to fight deportations of loved ones by connecting them to the proper legal venues and information that can make the difference between staying in this country or getting deported.
Learn more about OCAD on their website.
DONATE HERE to support OCAD’s work to stop deportations.
We’re excited to see what our collective impact will be!
More about this guide
Chicago is blessed with many people working for justice in a variety of ways. This guide is not a comprehensive list of organizations deserving of our support. It is however a compilation of organizations that some of us UU young adults have been supporting over the past year as we strive to live our faith as fully as we can.
In creating this guide, we developed a set of principles to determine what Chicago-based work was important for us to lift up in this moment. We prioritized organizations that:
- do multi-generational work
- engage in local justice work that has a racial justice lens
- are led by people most impacted, frontline communities
- create a balance of work to tear down oppressive structures and build up new, liberatory spaces and practices
- have a CCC member connected to their work