Periodically, events take place that call for a response from the Board of JUUstice Washington.
JUUstWA Signs onto NGO ltr on the Columbia River Treaty
Additional information on the Columbia River Treaty:
Association of Northwest Steelheaders ● Boulder-White Clouds Council ● Center for Environmental Law and Policy ● Columbia Riverkeeper ● Deschutes River Alliance ● Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light ● Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs ● Faith Action Network ● Great Old Broads for Wilderness ● Greater Hells Canyon Council ● Idaho Conservation League ● Idaho Rivers United ● Idaho Wildlife Federation ● JUUstice Washington ● League of Women Voters of Washington ● Native Fish Society ● Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment ● Northwest Guides and Anglers Association ● Oregon Coast Alliance ● Oregon Wild ● Portland Audubon ● Save our Wild Salmon Coalition ● The Lands Council ● WaterWatch of Oregon ● Washington Wildlife Federation ● Washington Wild ● Wild Orca ● Wild Steelhead Coalition ● Snake River Waterkeeper ● Sierra Club
March 14, 2023
President Joe Biden
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington D.C. 20500
RE: U.S.-Canada Columbia River Treaty: Expand the U.S. Entity to Improve Governance and Outcomes
Dear President Biden,
On behalf of millions of our members, we write to request that your Administration take action to improve the governance of the U.S – Canada Columbia River Treaty (“Treaty”). Specifically, we ask that you use your executive authority to expand the U.S. Entity, the body that implements the Treaty for the U.S., to include a representative(s) for the health of the river’s ecosystem. We believe this action is urgently needed and in lockstep with your Administration’s commitment to improving transparency and representation in the governance of nature’s bounty, which in the case of the Columbia River, underpins the entirety of the Northwest’s environment, culture, and economy.
As you are aware, the United States – led by the State Department – and Canada are currently negotiating to modernize this 60-year old Treaty. The U.S. negotiating position is informed by the 2013 U.S. Entity Regional Recommendation for the Future of the Columbia River Treaty after 2024, which includes recommendations to improve the health of the Columbia River ecosystem for salmon and other species. Currently, Treaty dams in Canada impact U.S. salmon runs by reducing spring and early summer flows when juvenile salmon are migrating to the ocean, reducing overall adult returns. Enhancing these flows is especially critical in low-to-moderate water years, both to improve juvenile outmigration survival as well as to keep the river cooler longer through the summer. This impact is both an environmental and a social justice issue. Fortunately, both countries, with the strong support of Tribes in the U.S. and Indigenous Nations in Canada, have elevated the health of the river as an important purpose of a modernized Treaty. As such, an additional representative(s) on the U.S. Entity will also be necessary to ensure that the implementation of the Treaty can effectively fulfill this purpose.
The U.S. Entity is currently comprised of the Bonneville Power Administration (“BPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”). We strongly believe BPA and USACE are unable to give voice to the needs of salmon and the health of the river while simultaneously speaking for hydroelectric production and flood risk management. Over thirty years of failure by these agencies to stop, much less reverse, the salmon extinction crisis in the Columbia Basin supports this conclusion. Instead, a federal agency (or agencies) with expertise and a focus on the environment, and/or Tribal nations or entities, will be far better suited to represent the needs of the river and its fish and wildlife. Please note that we are well aware of the current push to reach an agreement with Canada on a modernized Treaty as soon as possible. With this request, we are not recommending a delay in negotiations but rather ask that this change to Treaty governance be made as or before we transition from negotiation to implementation of a modernized Treaty.
We also would like to request the opportunity to schedule a virtual meeting with relevant members of your Administration soon, as well as an in-person meeting, likely in spring, to discuss these issues further. We will follow up soon for this purpose. In the meantime, if you have questions or if we can assist in any way, please contact: Joseph Bogaard at email@example.com.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Joseph Bogaard, Executive Director, Save our Wild Salmon Coalition / Dan Ritzman, Director, Lands, Water, Wildlife Campaign Sierra Club
Neil Brandt, Executive Director, WaterWatch of Oregon
Lunell Haught, President, League of Women Voters of Washington
Trish Rolfe, Executive Director, Center for Environmental Law and Policy
Rev. AC Churchill, Executive Director, Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light
Miles Johnson, Legal Director, Columbia Riverkeeper
Mitch Cutter, Salmon & Steelhead Associate, Idaho Conservation League
Stephen Pfeiffer, Conservation Associate, Idaho Rivers United
Brian Brooks, Executive Director, Idaho Wildlife Federation
John McGlenn, President, Washington Wildlife Federation
Buck Ryan, Executive Director, Snake River Waterkeeper
Elise DeGooyer, Executive Director, Faith Action Network
Grant Putnam, President, Northwest Guides and Anglers Association
Jason Wedemeyer, Executive Director, Association of Northwest Steelheaders
Cameron La Follette, Executive Director, Oregon Coast Alliance
Steve Pedery, Conservation Director, Oregon Wild
Tom Uniack, Executive Director, Washington Wild
Amanda Parrish, Executive Director, The Lands Council
Joe Liebezeit, Interim Statewide Conservation Director, Portland Audubon
Mark Sherwood, Executive Director, Native Fish Society
Julian Matthews, Director, Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment
George Milne, President, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs
Sarah Cloud, Executive Director, Deschutes River Alliance
Rich Simms, Founding Member, Wild Steelhead Coalition
Deborah Giles, PhD., Science and Research Director, Wild Orca
Deb Cruz, President, JUUstice Washington
Emily Cain, Executive Director, Greater Hells Canyon Council
Lynne Stone, Director, Boulder-White Clouds Council
Genia Moncada, Leadership Team, Advocacy Chair, Polly Dyer Seattle Broads, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Brenda Mallory, Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality Antony Blinken, Secretary, U.S. Department of State
Traffic Safety For All
It’s Time to Prioritize Traffic Safety for All
Ending traffic stops for non-moving violations will increase safety and equity while refocusing needed resources on high-risk behavior.
What the “Traffic Safety for All” bill does
This bill helps law enforcement officers focus on traffic stops related to road safety issues such as impaired/distracted driving and reckless driving.
The bill creates a pool of grant money for cities, counties, tribes, and nonprofits to create pilot programs that help people comply with the law and fix their vehicles to avoid low-level violations: repair vouchers, taillight installation workshops, helmet vouchers, fee waivers for expired tabs, etc. This solution-oriented fund ensures safer vehicles on the road, supports low-income drivers, including cyclists, and fixes vehicles to improve road safety.
At the same time, it will reduce disproportionate impacts on communities of color and low-income people, by reducing unnecessary low-level stops and other interactions that often lead to criminal system entanglement, debt, bankruptcy, and interpersonal violence. The bill prevents officers from pulling people over for equipment failures and expired tabs unless there’s a safety risk. It also restricts irrelevant questioning and voluntary searches for low-level offenses while allowing officers to stop people for impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding and unrestrained passengers – the leading causes of traffic accidents.
These two facets of the bill will ensure law enforcement has capacity and resources to focus on issues of immediate safety on the roadways. A final component will provide more robust data collection on stops to better understand current conditions and help us evaluate the implementation of the bill’s other provisions.
Why this bill is critical
Safety in transportation is a key concern for every community, but safety can mean different things to different groups of people. While we need to take action to prevent dangerous driving behaviors, low-level traffic stops have led to some people being targeted based on their perceived race, vehicle type, and driving location, and can lead to escalating interactions between community members and police.
Traffic stops are by far the most common interaction that people have with law enforcement. In Washington state, officers stop Black drivers disproportionately. Black, Latinx, Native American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander drivers were searched at a rate up to 5x higher than white motorists even though officers are more likely to find weapons and drugs while searching the cars of white drivers. There is limited evidence that low-level traffic stops improve safety. A report conducted by
the Policing Project1 assessing traffic stops and policing strategies in Nashville found no relationship between non-moving traffic stops and crime rates, either short-term or long-term.
1 Policing Project, NYU School of Law, An Assessment of Traffic Stops and Policing Strategies in Nashville.
“Everyone deserves to move safely and freely through the world, but too many Washingtonians lack access to safe transportation. As our state continues to see record-high traffic deaths caused by poor infrastructure and reckless driving, this bill will shift lawenforcement’s focus to pressing safety issues while providing solutions to non- moving violations that move away from harmful punitive measures.” – Transportation Choices Coalition
“My son was killed over expired tabs. We have to ask ourselves, was it worth it? Is that a good use of police time? Getting stopped for something like that makes us question the officer’s motives, it makes us feel targeted. Did that traffic stop make anyone safer?” – Sonia Joseph, mother of Giovonn Joseph McDade
Statewide and National Support for Traffic Safety for All
A.Philip Randolph Institute Seattle Chapter • ACLU of Washington • Alliance for Gun Responsibility • Asian Counseling and Referral Service • CAIR-WA • Carl Maxey Center • Center for Policing Equity • Clark County Justice Group • Columbia Legal Services • El Centro de la Raza • Food Lifeline • Futurewise • Greater Spokane Progress • Health and Justice Recovery Alliance • I Did The Time • Indivisible Kirkland • JUUstice Washington • King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight • Law Office of Jackson Millikan, PLLC • Move Redmond • MyAdvocate Next Steps Washington • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) • OneAmerica • Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington • Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) • People Power WA • Proactive Persistent People for Progress (P4) • PROTEC17 • Revive Center For Returning Citizens • Riveters Collective • Riveters Collective – Justice System Committee • Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, • Showing Up for Racial Justice (Olympia Chapter) • Sisters in Solidarity • Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR) • The National Police Accountability Project • Transportation Choices Coalition • UFCW 3000 • Unidos of Snohomish County • Urban Indians Northwest • Vashon Maury Showing Up for Racial Justice Criminal Justice Action Team • WA Partners for Social Change • Wallingford Indivisible • Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers • Washington Coalition for Police Accountability • Washington Defender Association • Washington for Black Lives (WA4BL) • Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) • Whose Streets? Our Streets!
“For too long, Black drivers have been failed and harmed by a heavy-handed, discriminatory approach to policing that has come at the cost of real solutions that deliver safety. We now clearly see the effects of decades of disinvestment in road infrastructure paired with over- enforcement: egregious racial disparities in traffic crashes and stops alike. This legislation is an important step toward redesigning traffic safety to be more equitable and effective. Reforms to limit low-level, unnecessary traffic stops, invest in innovative unarmed response systems, and collect data to monitor progress will make roads safer for everyone–including for Black road users who live with heightened danger of police violence and crashes.” Center for Policing Equity
“As a Black mother, I’m scared for my children each time they get on the road. I have educated them about how to act and what to do if they are stopped by police. But Black people have been hurt by police even when we do the right thing – when you’re reaching to get your wallet or insurance. We need to stop the unnecessary stops.” – Tonya Isabell, Washington Coalition for Police Accountability
“This is about the freedom to get in your car and go out for skittles or head home from work in peace. My brother was killed by police when he was on his way to pick up his son from school. He was killed because they assumed he was dangerous – even though he was seat- belted in the car. Reducing traffic stops reduces the chances of using force, so everyone can go home safe at the end of the day. – Nickeia Hunter, sister of Carlos Hunter
UU Statement of Commitment in Response to Climate-Forced Displacement
Approved by members of the Board July 10, 2022
In light of the global challenge of forced displacement caused by the climate crisis, Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations—the UU Ministry for Earth, UUs for a Just Economic Community, Side With Love, UUA Office at the United Nations, UUs for Social Justice, and the UU Service Committee—join forces to issue the following statement of solidarity and commitment:
Recognizing the interdependence of life on Earth and the accountable pursuit of justice, equity and compassion is central to creating a thriving 21st Century.
Unitarian Universalism is a faith tradition anchored in religious pluralism, the rhythms of nature, and the inherent worth and dignity of each person. The ongoing climate crisis challenges all of our core values as a faith tradition. As organizations currently or historically affiliated with Unitarian Universalism, we feel compelled to speak and act in solidarity with front-line communities facing forced climate displacement. In keeping with these principles of repair and justice, we urge governments, world leaders, corporate actors, and congregations to respond to the global challenge of climate-forced displacement by centering the human rights of affected communities.
As the climate crisis escalates, the needs of those that are suffering the worst effects of climate change—a crisis chiefly caused by carbon emissions from wealthier industrialized nations like the United States—have gained wider acknowledgment. The climate crisis is not a matter for future generations to address; it is already upon us. In early March 2022, the world’s leading climate scientists issued their starkest warning yet about the failure of global leaders to stem carbon emissions. Humanity is on pace to exceed the 1.5 degrees of warming that scientists estimate is the limit the Earth can sustain without risking an unstoppable chain reaction of climate harms.
Due to this collective policy failure, communities around the globe and in the U.S. are already facing the effects of climate destruction. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, front-line, and other oppressed and marginalized communities — who have done the least to contribute to the climate crisis historically—are facing the worst of its effects. Many of these communities have been displaced from their homes, and millions more will follow in the decades ahead. Communities across the U.S.—as well as in other countries—are already experiencing these pressures, and the reality that parts of the U.S. will become uninhabitable is increasingly hard to ignore.
This involuntary climate exile is both a global and a domestic human rights violation on a massive scale. Not only does it deprive millions of people of their rightful home, it also forces them to seek resettlement in a global community that has done little to ensure the safe and dignified reception of people seeking asylum—particularly migrants of color. In the U.S., people are forced to abandon their traditional homes and communities or look to build infrastructure mitigation strategies that outstrip the resource and financing capacity of their households and local governments.
Even as we acknowledge that climate displacement is a present reality and not a hypothetical risk, we also reject the fatalism and defeatism that would deny the possibility of further collective action to forestall or address it. To this end, we shall share the power of our voices and influence with those who have less recourse to engage decision-makers, be they elected, appointed, or corporate actors. We pledge to coordinate our advocacy in order to persuade the international and domestic community to:
Prevent further climate displacement by mitigating the effects of climate change and ensuring a just transition to clean and renewable energy sources;
Ensure—in the event of displacement that cannot be forestalled—that communities are able to relocate safely, with dignity, and in a self-determined way that respects their integrity and identity;
Provide communities with the resources they need to adapt-in-place to the effects of climate change, and to compensate for the loss and damage they have already incurred as a result of anthropogenic warming;
Redress past failures and address root harms and causes as part of our accountable behavior to those suffering harm.
Climate displacement is already occurring around the world. Our leaders have a choice as to the pace at which it unfolds and the treatment of people who endure it. We urge them to act now, before even more people are deprived of their homes.
JUUstice Washington Board Statement on Commitment to Racial Justice
Approved by members of the Board 27 June 2020
In the long and continuous struggle to bend the arc of history toward justice and compassion and turn away from white supremacy, and racism more generally, JUUstice Washington reaffirms our commitment to work to:
- Dismantle systemic racism against people of color in education, employment, housing, voting rights, access to health care, safety and other areas of inequity;
- Prevent and overturn the disproportionate effects of environmental degradation on communities of color; and
- Implement equitable and ethical treatment in the criminal justice and judicial systems that disproportionately render inequitable treatment of people of color.
We are called to this work by Unitarian Universalist Principles and the Unitarian Universalist living tradition of supporting and leading social and environmental justice movements locally and in broader communities.
We are committed to engage in faithful discernment that we may know when to speak and when to listen, when to lead and when to follow, when to be an active presence and when to bear witness. We are committed to the short- and long-term natures of achieving the goals of equity, justice and compassion.
We encourage all JUUstice Washington members and Unitarian Universalist congregations to move boldly forward to make this time in history a tipping point toward racial justice.
JUUstice Washington Joins Latino Civic Alliance
The Board of JUUstice Washington voted unanimously to join Latino Civci Alliance in asking the Governor, Legislature and State Agencies to make farm worker health and safety a priority, especially in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Among many other groups, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the agricultural workers very hard. The have been deemed “essential workers” and required to continue working in order to keep food supply systems operational. However, in spite of being essential workers, farmworkers are not receiving the equipment and safety protocols necessary to perform their work without risking exposure to COVID-19 for individuals and entire communities. JUUstice Washington granted Latino Civic Alliance permission was granted to use our name and logo on a flyer produced by Latino Civic Alliance requesting our greater community to petition Governor Inslee and the WA State Legislature to act.
Our Children’s Trust Amicus Brief Signatory
On or about May 31, 2019 a quorum was achieved by email voting to sign-on to the Our Children’s Trust (OTC) amicus brief described below. Organizations signing on needed their statements filed with OTC by June 2, 2019.
The JUUstice Washington Board of Directors and the Social and Environmental Justice Committee of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship have voted to become signatories on an interfaith amicus brief to be filed on behalf of the youth in Aji P. v. State of WashingtonOur Children’s Trust.
The Statement submitted to OTC by JUUstice Washington for inclusion in the amicus brief Motion to File is as follows:
“JUUstice Washington, a Unitarian Universalist State Action Network is a signatory to this brief because it works diligently with Unitarian Universalist (“UU”) congregations throughout the State of Washington to carry out its principles, one being the Seventh Principle in which we affirm and promote, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” In addition to this Principle, JUUstice Washington also affirms and promotes our Sixth Source of Living Tradition with which we draw upon, “Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” JUUstice Washington fully supports and believes in these youth and their challenge to their elders that climate change is within the purview of the public trust and they have the right to secure and preserve their future and those of future generations.”
JUUstice Washington Statement of Support for Trans Community
On March 1, 2019, UU Worldmagazine published an article entitled “After L, G, and B” which hascaused harm to transgender and non-binary people. In the article, a cisgender woman wrote about her perspective and experience while intending to be an ally to transgender people. In its public response, Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together (TRUUsT) explains the harm caused by this article:
“The UU World’s article titled “After L, G, and B” frames the trans experience by centering a white, heterosexual, cisgender woman’s experience. By doing so, it reduces trans people to objects—something that happens far too often in society and in our UU communities. The use of harmful slurs, the conflation of intersex and trans experience, and a repeated focus on surgery, hormones, and pronouns perpetuates stereotypes around trans experiences that devalues the gifts we have to bring to the world and Unitarian Universalism.”
JUUstice Washington is committed to dismantling institutional and systemic oppression, including oppression based on gender identity/expression. We encourage you to read the UU Worldarticle and TRUUsT’sresponse, and explore the additional resources listed below. The Unitarian Universalist community is a space in which trans UUs regularly experience oppression. UU World’s commissioning and publication of “After L, G, and B” is reflective of and adds to that collective oppression. We call on our cisgender members to develop new knowledge and skills that are needed to create a safe and inclusive community in which the inherent worth and dignity of all people is truly valued and honored.
After L, G, and B (Kimberly French, Contributing Editor, UU World)
Putting the “T” First: Public Statement on This Week’s UU World Article (TRUUsT Steering Committee)
What It Takes to De-Center Privilege: The Failure of this Week’s UU World Article (Alex Kapitan)
Our Story Hurt People (Christopher Walton, Editor, UU World)
Tips For Talking about the UU World Article (Transforming Hearts Collective)
TRUUsT Calls on All Unitarian Universalists to Take Action to Support Trans UUs (TRUUsT)
Report on the Experiences of Trans Unitarian Universalists (TRUUsT)
Transgender Inclusion in Congregations course (Rev. Mykal Slack & Zr. Alex Kapitan, Transforming Hearts Collective)
Transgender Inclusion & Affirmation Questions to Consider (LGBTQ Ministries office, Unitarian Universalist Association, 2012)