World AIDS Day

Written by Sylar Rella, OEP’s Gender Justice Organizer Intern

On December 1st of each year, the world comes together to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS: to remember and honor the overwhelming amount of lives lost from AIDS, and to provide visibility and support for those living with HIV today. Although the AIDS pandemic was from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s, the virus itself never went away. Language was and continues to be a powerful tool in widespread erasure of the mass death and loss that occurred in that time--primarily that of the queer community, BIPOC, and those living in poverty. ACT UP, an organization dedicated to fighting for the visibility and rights of those living with HIV and dying of AIDS, coined the phrase “Silence = Death”; this sentiment is still incredibly relevant today, not just with HIV/AIDS, but with all kinds of marginalized voices and bodies that are routinely and systemically overlooked or dismissed. 

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Youth Group Grant Recipients

Congratulations to our first two groups of grant recipients for our Community Engagement Grants for Youth Groups. 

OEP’s Community Engagement Grants for Youth Groups pose as a new initiative within OEP to give back to our local communities. Through these grants, we hope to encourage community engagement and growth, and develop a better, more beautiful world than the one we came into.

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Read Aloud Project: November Books

The Read Aloud Project was created by Priscilla Weddle and Marie Benner-Rhoades to provide homeschooling resources in peace and justice during the pandemic. For November, the project highlighted books about Native American culture to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. In December, holiday books will be read for the project. If you are interested in recording a video for the project, please email Priscilla at [email protected]. Here are the books that were read for the project in November:

 

Today On Election Day by Catherine Stier, Illustrated by David Leonard

Summary: “The school gym is a polling place and Bailey, Ren, David, Meg, Aiden, and Isabella know all about Election Day and voting! Bailey helped her Aunt Julia run for a seat on the city council. Aiden goes with his grandpa to vote. David’s brother Jake will be voting for the first time. Meg talks about how years ago, some citizens were not permitted to vote. A perfect picture book for future voters of America, Today on Election Day will simultaneously entertain and educate.”

Reflective Question: What are some qualities you look for in candidates?

Worksheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JJbgDKqK9U_wEWikEFJMDvNHMvPD9sqYXKI9ypQfIN4/edit?usp=sharing

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Advent Prayer and Worship Resources

Heart beat in an EKG

 

Welcome to an online Advent prayer retreat for peace & justice workers. Use these resources, songs and links for personal prayer and devotion anytime during the Advent season. Advent is a fitting time to ask, How is Christ’s birth being prepared in us again this season? At the end of this wrenching year of 2020, you are invited to make yourself a cup of tea, light a candle, and spend some time in prayer. Prepare for Emmanuel, the Prince of Peace, to be born again in your life, family, community, and in our world. Some of these resources may also be fitting for a corporate worship you are planning - feel free to use any of them in any way you see fit!

We stand in solidarity with you, united in these challenging times. May we may be refreshed again with Christ's birth this season, inspiring us to pursue peace everlasting.

Go in peace & love for one another
-Dennis Duett

(Source. The picture above is to keep in mind the heart of the season and this picture feels extra relevant related to our current health pandemic. Remember the "heart" of the issues at hand, and love one another )

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Contemporary Native Literature

On November 12th, I attended a webinar hosted by Lee & Low Books about contemporary Native American children’s literature and educational resources. The guest speakers were Traci Sorell, author of Indian No More, and Carla Messinger, author of When the Shadbush Blooms. For the first part of the webinar, Sorell and Messinger talked about the meaning behind their books. Sorell’s book Indian No More is based on a true story about a 10 year old Umpqua girl and her family being forced to relocate to a different reservation after their tribal rights are terminated in the 1950s. Messinger’s book When the Shadbush Blooms discusses the past and present lives of the Lenape people. When discussing the importance of her book, Messinger provided a shocking statistic showing how 40 percent of Americans think that Native Americans do not exist or are extinct. For this very reason, Sorell and Messinger believe it is important to read children’s books that highlight the present lives of Native people.

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