Our every other week check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meetings are held online every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please email LeDayne and ask to be added to the Thursday meetings email list.
Want to learn more about we do on our calls? Watch this short video clip!
Click HERE to Access Zoom Recording:
In this Issue:
People often ask me how Buddhists answer the question: ‘Does God exist?’ The other day I was walking along the river. The wind was blowing. Suddenly I thought, Oh! The air really exists. We know that the air is there, but unless the wind blows against our face, we are not aware of it. Here in the wind I was suddenly aware, yes it’s really there. And the sun too. I was suddenly aware of the sun, shining through the bare trees. Its warmth, its brightness, and all this completely free, completely gratuitous. Simply there for us to enjoy. And without my knowing it, completely spontaneously, my two hands came together, and I realized that I was making a deep bow. And it occurred to me that this is all that matters: that we can bow, take a deep bow. Just that. Just that.
~Rev. Eido Tai Shimano
1. MeckMIN Updates
A NOTE ABOUT THESE MEETINGS
These meetings are open to anyone or any group interested in promoting the common good in our shared Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.
We do not allow announcements from for-profit groups promoting their businesses or campaigning from political candidates. Beyond that, we don’t have rules for who can speak or what they can share as long as they support our commitments to respectful conversation and the dignity of all people.
Because we have a very wide array of beliefs and understandings within our membership and because we want to keep these meetings open as an open forum, we’re going to add this disclaimer to the minutes: "The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations."
MECKMIN YOUTH SUMMIT
August, Friday 18 | 12:00 - 9 PM August, Saturday 19 | 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
We are excited to host an Interfaith Youth Summit this August! Every year we hold experiences for middle and high-school aged youth in Mecklenburg County. The purpose of these activities is to bring youth together from different faiths, races and socioeconomic backgrounds to learn more about each other’s traditions and to serve our local community. Participants will experience and visit various social agencies and houses of faith for worship, dialogue, fellowship, food and fun! Upon completion, attendees will be awarded with a certificate in religious-diversity.
We would LOVE your help in sharing the word about this great opportunity. Please download and share one or more of these social media announcements with middle and high schoolers you know and those who work with them.
OPEN TABLES Thursday, June 15th from | 6:30-8:00 PM
The next Open Table, open to all, will be held at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day, 5815 Carmel Rd on Thursday, June 15 at 6:30 PM. Please register HERE to attend. It is a potluck dinner and great opportunity to meet and connect.
The topic of discussion will be belonging.
BELONGING is identified as a basic human need in Maslow’s pyramid. Human beings are happier and healthier when they feel they belong and when that belonging lacks, it affects their self concept and ability to experience fulfillment.
We will be discussing the following questions:
• How do you define belonging and how do you experience it? Where do you feel you belong and why?
• Thinking of your own experiences, what fosters or inhibits a sense of belonging?
• Where do you want to feel a greater sense of belonging, yet haven’t and why?
• Which spaces do you make an effort to welcome others and create a sense of belonging?
• When you think about belonging, what hopes do you have for your community or your country?
Remember to bring a vegetarian potluck dish to share and show up ready to be authentic and curious. We will start assembling snack packs for the Latin American Coalition at 6:00 PM.
PLEASE HELP US CREATE A CONNECTED, COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY
I wanted to reach out and personally ask you to consider supporting the work of MeckMIN before the end of our fiscal year (June 30.)
At our recent Community Leader Awards Breakfast, attendees shared how MeckMIN helps them create CONNECTION, COMPASSION, and COMMUNITY. I invite you to watch this inspiring short video with some of the answers we received.
Since 1987, Mecklenburg Metropolitan Interfaith Network, MeckMIN has been building bridges across differences, creating light, and promoting interfaith collaboration to foster UNDERSTANDING, COMPASSION AND JUSTICE.
If you are a current individual or congregational donor – THANK YOU! You are the reason we can continue to do this crucial work!
If you are not, please consider a donation that will help continue programs like:
• The annual interfaith youth panel and other quarterly events that help middle and high schoolers to know and respect one another’s faiths
• Regular community service projects in which people of all faiths join together to work for the common good
• Open Tables dinner dialogues in which people of faith gather around a shared meal and dig into significant topics
• and Our stellar annual community-wide Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.
Connected, compassionate community is good for everyone, and we hope you’ll join in making it happen!
LAST CHANCE TO HELP SHAPE MECKMIN’S FUTURE BY TAKING OUR SURVEY
The past few years have been a time of rapid change, and this seems like a good time to step back and take a close look at the programs and projects through which MeckMIN is working to create an interconnected community committed to mutual support and shared service.
Whether you have been a part of MeckMIN for decades or just learned about us, we want to get YOUR thoughts on what we're doing and could be doing to fulfill our mission. We hope you'll take a few minutes to complete this survey to share your feedback and ideas.
You can answer for an organization (such as a congregation or nonprofit) and/or as an individual.
The required questions will take 15 minutes or less. There are also OPTIONAL open-ended questions -- you can answer none, some, or all of them.
THANK YOU in advance for helping to shape our shared future.
NC MEDASSIST WAREHOUSE FAMILY-ORIENTED SERVICE PROJECT
Sunday, July 30 | 1 - 4 PM
Join us on Sunday, July 30 from 1 to 4 pm at NC MedAssist (4428 Taggart Creek Road, Suite 101, Charlotte, NC 28208) for an afternoon of sorting, organizing, and packing over-the-counter medicines, and other duties as needed.
Please note the following:
• There may be some heavy lifting.
• Dress comfortably but modestly - no tank tops or flip flops
• All shoes must be closed-toe
• Volunteer 12 years and older are welcome
2. Non-Profit Updates
The views and opinions expressed below are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.
RACE UNITY DAY - OVERCOMING RACISM: The Role of Religion & Faith Communities
NEW DATE Sunday, June 25 - 4 PM
LATIN AMERICAN COALITION: TITLE 42 UPDATE & CITY OF IMMIGRANTS 5K/10K
Diego Torres | Latin American Coalition | Integration@mylac.org
CLT City of Immigrants 5k/10k | jUNE 17: benefitting Latin American Coalition. After the race, stick around for live music, games, prizes, and fun for the whole family.
Title 42 update: There has not been as large an increase as was expected but it is still a strain. We had 23 families in April, and 43 families in May after Title 42 expired so we had a 100% increase in families. Anything you can donate is much appreciated. And thank you to those who have already donated.
The next resource fair for new arrivals will be held August 5. Volunteers are needed.
MIGRANT SERVICES - CHURCH WORLD SERVICE
Madison Burke | email@example.com | Migrant Services Coordinator | (c) 919.520.1071 | (o) 919.680.4310
The Immigrant Solidarity Fund, or ISF, is a state-wide, grassroots effort to support undocumented families and mixed-status families who are facing financial hardship due to natural disaster, emergency, or ICE detention or deportation. The project was founded out of the Church World Service (CWS) Durham office in 2019. CWS Durham is a local immigration & resettlement office of Church World Service (CWS), a global humanitarian organization. Since 2009, CWS Durham has welcomed refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers from around the globe into lives of freedom, hope, and opportunity in Durham and our surrounding communities.
100% of all gifts to the ISF go directly to families, as overhead costs are covered by another funding source. CWS works with people of all faith and is staffed by people of all faiths. And they can easily work with multiple languages. We work in several counties throughout the state, including the Triangle, Triad, Charlotte, Asheville, and Greenville areas. More information on the ISF, including information on how to apply and support the fund, is available here: Immigrant Solidarity Fund | CWS Durham. For any questions and concerns, please feel free to contact Madison.
NEW VOTER ID RULES FOR NC
Pam Pearson | firstname.lastname@example.org | 704-641-4845
Pam Pearson of Vote Riders was unable to join today but plans to bring an update at our next meeting on June 22.
Yvette Baker | email@example.com | C(704) 4494727
Community Outreach AARP
Currently advocating nationally to ensure the SSA works more fluidly, shorter wait times. In the local community they are discussing issues like fraud affecting seniors. They can provide someone to come and discuss how to spot fraud, protect from fraud, etc. They also are working to educate around Brain health. And they have a newer program called “Home Fit” which helps people age in place. They can recommend contractors who offer discounts to make your home senior friendly.
BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY ACTION
Tara Vannoy | firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Service Coordinator | (o) 828-438-6255 ext. 1531, (f) 828-433-5721
Serena McCorkle | email@example.com
BRCA offers a weatherization program that is free to low income residents. People call it by many names but it helps folks save energy and improve safety and utility bill costs. They focus on elderly, households with children and those that are particularly burdened. Provide education, evaluate the dwelling, repair or replace heating and air systems, make minor repairs, insulate as needed, install detectors and more.
Do Single family homes, multi family homes without no more than 4 units or 5 buildings plus additional types of dwellings. Must be below 200% of federal poverty guidelines or if you receive the SSI from Social Security, low energy assistance and a few other programs. See the site for full details.
REDRESS MOVEMENT: JUST ACTION BOOK RELEASE & DISCUSSION Monday, June 12, 2023• 6:30 PM, First Baptist Church - West
1801 Oaklawn Ave, Charlotte, NC 28216 US
Jasmine Wright | 704-724-7068
Sr. Organizer, Charlotte
Redress is an emerging racial justice movement. They were founded by Richard Rothstein of the Color of Law and they work to redress the segregation of neighborhood housing. Charlotte was specifically chosen because it is under attack.
Richard Rothstein is returning to Charlotte Monday June 12th at 6:30. with his newest book.
Please come and consider joining the roundtable to support Redress.
SPEAKER ON UKRANIAN MINISTRY VISITS UNITY PRESBYTERIAN Denver, NC
Jay Sloan, Elder | firstname.lastname@example.org | (C) 703-623-9254 Unity Presbyterian Church, Denver, NC
Rev. Robert Gamble, Executive Director of the Presbyterian Church USA's validated ministry called "This Child Here" www.thischildhere.org will be at Unity on Sunday, June 11 to tell of his work with women and children in war-torn Ukraine. His talk will begin at 12:15pm. Rev. Gamble works with families, particularly women and children, displaced by the war, providing practical support as well as activities that work to relieve trauma. Times of games, art therapy, and conversation, all led by a psychologist, have become a valuable part of his work. Children, who range in age from 4-year-olds to older teens, enjoy a litany of crafts, choir, guitar, and games designed to build trust and community. The community is welcome! Come, enjoy lunch, and find out more about this valuable ministry.
SPACES REMAIN IN BRAVEWORKS SUMMER COHORT
Braveworks summer cohort for refugee and immigrant women begins next Friday June 16th and we have 5 spaces remaining. We meet every Friday from 10-2pm at Project 658. Lunch and childcare are provided. Program participants will learn to make jewelry, language development, job readiness, financial literacy and receive a stipend for participating! Please contact Aliyah Bradley @ email@example.com for more information. Thank you!
FOOD DRIVERS NEEDED
Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays has experienced a busy year so far. In the face of food inflation and recent reductions in SNAP benefits, our community has relied on us more than ever before. The number of individuals we have fed has already surpassed last year's figures by over 30%, and we haven't even reached summer yet. Traditionally, the summer months bring a surge in demand as families grapple with the challenge of providing three meals a day for their children.
Although the summer months bring a high demand for food distribution, they tend to be our slowest period for food donations and food drives. Let's aim to achieve record-breaking numbers of food donations this summer! Together, we can make a significant impact and ensure that no one in our community goes hungry. You can help!! Hold a food drive to make an impact on hunger this summer!
1. Determine date(s) and location
2. Register your food drive
3. Start collecting and have fun!
Check Out our Food Drive Tool Kit
For any food drive questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org | (704) 343-5031
Sign up to hold a Food Drive HERE
CENTER FOR COMMUNITY TRANSITION: SECOND CHANCE ART AUCTION Sunday, June 11 | 12 - 3 PM | Mint Museum Uptown
We are thrilled to announce plans for our second annual Art Auction for Second Chances scheduled for Sunday, June 11, 2023, at The Mint Museum Uptown. For almost 50 years, CCT has helped strengthen the Charlotte Region by helping justice involved individuals and their families find healthier, more productive lifestyles. We do this in three distinct ways: providing employment and training services, supporting alternatives to incarceration, and restoring and strengthening family bonds. Join us for this free event that is open to the public.
You can bid on unique pieces donated by artists from right here in the Queen City, and beyond. It’s FREE and open to the public. Light appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. Cash bar available.
For details click HERE
3. General Information
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE FOR FIRST YEAR GRANTEES BIPOC founded and led groups
Originally launched in response to the civic unrest that erupted in Charlotte in the fall of 2016, Unite Charlotte provides not only funding, but also capacity-building initiatives, to local grassroots organizations advancing racial equity and addressing economic mobility. The 2024 Unite Charlotte First Year funding application will open on Monday, June 12 at noon. The link to the online application will be available on this page until the submission deadline— Friday, June 30 at noon.
Agencies interested in applying are asked to read through the documents provided in the Resource Folder and attend the following virtual events:
• 2024 Unite Charlotte First Year Information Session | Thursday, June 1 | 10:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m. | Zoom Code: &p3b9#RC | VIEW SESSION
• “How to Write a Grant Application” Workshop | Tuesday, June 6 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Zoom | REGISTER HERE
• United Way Financial Certification Workshop | Thursday, June 15 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Zoom | REGISTER HERE
2024 Unite Charlotte First Year funding will include one-year grant awards of $25,000 to 25 nonprofit agencies that:
• Are BIPOC-founded and led (BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color)
• Have an operating budget under $250,000
• Serve Mecklenburg County residents
• Demonstrate a commitment to serving historically marginalized groups
For full 2024 Unite Charlotte First Year application process details, please go to the Resource Folder below. There you will find links to various documents, including the 2024 Unite Charlotte Grant Information Packet and the Financial Certification Resource Guide.
Please note that the Unite Charlotte Second Year and Unite Charlotte Third Year application processes are by invitation only.
Please email questions to email@example.com
Unite Charlotte Resources
CLICK HERE to learn more about Unite Charlotte.
CLICK HERE to access the Unite Charlotte Resource Folder.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON ASYLUM IN THE USA
Lindsay LaPlante | firstname.lastname@example.org
Asylum is a hot topic right now. With the lead up to and the expiration of Title 42 today, there has been a lot of media coverage and conversation around the topic of asylum in USA.
Here at RSS, one of our pillars has always been dedication to facilitating access to good information for everyone who is connected to us in community. There is so much information floating around and much of it is partial, political, or inaccurate.
We have been getting a wide variety of questions from our friends, neighbors, and partners today. I'd like to share some of those questions with you as well as the answers that you might need when it comes to navigating what's going on. Knowing the facts is an important part of the toolkit that we all need to help build a Charlotte that is more welcoming, especially as people continue to arrive here looking for answers and support.
If you are looking to take action immediately, please see the last question below on how to support the work of welcome in Charlotte.
Please don't hesitate to reply to this email if there are other questions you have.
Questions and Answers on Asylum in the USA
Question: What is Title 42 and why is it ending?
Title 42 is actually an entire section of U.S. legislation that has to do with public health.
When people talk about it today, they are talking about an emergency rule that was enacted by the Trump administration early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule in practice essentially removed the right to declare asylum for most who were attempting to claim it. The policy was enacted in March 2020 and has allowed the federal government to expel over 2.8 million people who crossed the U.S. border with Mexico and were not allowed to claim asylum.
The rule expired at midnight on Thursday in conjunction with the expiration of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency declaration.
Question: Why is the expiration of the rule under Title 42 important?
The expiration of this rule returns the country to pre-COVID public health rules, which means that the right to claim asylum should be restored for millions who have been denied access since 2020.
However, in advance of expiration, the Biden administration announced a new policy which blocks migrants from seeking asylum if they pass through a country that offers asylum before reaching the United States. It will require that these individuals apply for asylum in those countries first before they will be allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S., effectively keeping in place restricted rights to claim asylum.
Question: What is asylum in the USA?
The right to asylum is cemented into international and federal law.
The right to asylum has been around since Ancient Greece. It was passed into modern international law in 1948 in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. It was further strengthened in the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 UN Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
In 1980, the United States adopted the right to asylum into our own federal law with the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.
As party to the 1951 UN Convention, the 1967 UN Protocol, and our own federal laws since 1980, the USA is obliged to recognize valid claims to asylum.
Question: What is the difference between an asylum seeker, an asylee, and a refugee in the United States?
An asylum seeker is someone who has arrived in the USA and has made a formal claim for asylum.
An asylee is someone who has been granted asylum based on a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
A refugee is someone who has been granted refugee status outside of the United States based on well-founded fear of persecution for the same reasons as asylees and is then resettled here through the federal refugee resettlement program.
There is no difference between a refugee and an asylee in the United States other than the location that they have made their claim to protection. Both refugees and asylees qualify for assistance and support through the federal refugee resettlement program.
Question: Who can seek support through RSS as program participants?
RSS is the only post-resettlement agency in greater Charlotte area.
As established in our organizational bylaws and additional policy updates, RSS is able to directly support refugees, former refugees, asylum seekers, asylees, special immigrant visa holders, humanitarian parolees, and their respective families as program participants. To date this year, RSS has directly supported 560 enrolled program participants and their families through community navigation support, food access assistance, language access resources, workforce development, mentorship programming, preschool and youth educational support, and community events.
Question: Which organizations in the City of Charlotte are working with asylum-seekers, asylees, and refugees? How can I help?
Know that you are already helping by doing the work to educate yourself on forced migration. If you are interested in learning even more, please click here to connect with us for more information on attending or scheduling a future Refugee 101 educational session.
Many of the organizations in Charlotte doing this work are not huge and would most benefit from financial support of any size. You can find a list of RSS and some of our partner agencies below who support these groups directly and links of where to donate:
NONPROFITS CAN SUBMIT COMMENTS ON VOTER ID RULES Through June 23
In April, the NC Supreme Court issued a decision reinstating a 2018 law that requires North Carolinians to show photo identification when voting in elections. Many nonprofit organizations have expressed concerns that the voter ID law could make voting more difficult for many people served by nonprofits, particularly seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income citizens. Voter ID requirements will go into effect for this fall’s municipal elections.
Last Friday, the NC State Board of Elections published proposals for two temporary rules to implement the photo ID requirements for in-person and absentee-by-mail voters in North Carolina, beginning with the 2023 municipal elections. Both proposed rules are open for public comment through Friday, June 23. Nonprofits who serve people who may be affected by the new photo ID requirements may want to consider submitting comments on the proposed rules. NCSBE has posted the text of the rules and information for how to submit comments. If you need help getting started, the National Council of Nonprofits has useful tips for nonprofits on submitting public comments to proposed rules.
QUEEN CITY JUNETEENTH PARADE Saturday, June 17 | 10:00 AM
PRAYER FOR NONPROFIT LEADERS
i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birthday of life and of love and wings:
and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any—
lifted from the no of all nothing—
human merely being doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Next meeting – Two weeks from today - Thursday at 11 a.m.