September 2016: A Moral Monday in Springfield - Bill Sasso, UUANI Board member from Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship
On Monday, September 12th, Rev. Sarah Richards and I travelled to Springfield to participate in the nationwide Moral Monday protest. It was a bright, warm day as we stood with hundreds of other demonstrators beneath the statue of Abraham Lincoln in front of the State Capitol.
Elaborating the principles of the Higher Ground Moral Declaration (see http://www.moralrevival.org/moraldeclaration), speakers – including Rev. Sarah – reminded us of the moral and constitutional bases of the rights we were there to promote, including economic justice, equality in education, healthcare for all, criminal justice reform, and protection of constitutional rights for all.
These speakers were followed by others who described how those principles had been violated in their own lives and experiences. At the end of the demonstration, we sent a delegation into the Capitol to present our statement to Governor Bruce Rauner, while the rest of us marched around the building, with our banners held high and our chants echoing through the Capitol parking lots.
In the Springfield, Illinois, Moral Monday, the UU Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI) played a central role as one of the coordinating groups. When our Fellowship showed up, we weren’t alone – we were there with those who travelled to Springfield from UU congregations in Evanston, Chicago, Oak Park, Hinsdale, Naperville, Rockford, DeKalb, Peoria, Quincy, Champaign, and Bloomington-Normal. It was great to see such a visible UU presence at the Capitol! And our statewide action was part of a larger national effort, encompassing at least 28 states. Across America, voices were raised in support of the values that we, as Unitarian Universalists, have covenanted to affirm and promote. When the call went out, our Fellowship was among those who answered!