Speaking Tour Update #2 – A Whale of a Time in Oregon

Group Photo at the First Unitarian Portland on June 6, 2019

Group Photo at the First Unitarian Portland on June 6, 2019

The UUMFE Justice for Each Generation Speaking Tour began in Portland, Oregon on June 6th, with a delicious vegan potluck and evening presentation.

Levi and his mom Leigh-Ann smile at the 1st Unitarian Podium in Eliot Chapel

Levi  began the evening with a presentation about how climate change is impacting his home in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida, about the Juliana v U.S. lawsuit, and about what we all can do to make a difference — from the small things to the big things.

[Pictured Left: Levi Draheim and his mom Leigh-Ann smiling at the podium in the Eliot Chapel of First Unitarian Portland]

Leonard Higgins shared his personal story as a retired IT manager and climate activist and made a compelling call for people to listen to the diagnosis of the climate crisis, consider the risks, and act accordingly.

I shared a bit of my personal story about how I got involved in climate justice activism and convinced of the power of faith-based organizing through the Tar Sands Blockade in 2012, and then gave an overview of the UU Ministry for Earth and the Create Climate Justice campaign.

The next morning, we said goodbye to our wonderful host Nancy and rolled down to Corvallis to meet with UU Buddhist, Patti Warner — our phenomenal orca whale puppet mastermind — and some arts helpers with the UU Fellowship of Corvallis. Patti saw our “Call to Arts” to create a Procession of Species in Spokane at the UUA General Assembly, and sprang into action. As a multi-media artist and arts-activist for 350-Corvallis, Patti engineered a design for whale puppet in short-order primarily out of re-used materials from the OSU college surplus store.

This was just a quick stop to support the art build and grab some lunch.  Next we went down to Eugene, where we presented during the Sunday morning worship service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Eugene. Levi gave the story for all ages and then spent the rest of the service with the middle school religious education class. Leonard and I each shared worship reflections. It was a great crowd and a very beautiful and moving worship service.

After the service, we had a lunch potluck and an art-build with Patti Warner and local eco-muralist Esteban Camacho Steffensen.

 

The next day, the whale construction continued, back in Corvallis. The orca “skin” was fitted onto the whale body and attached with velcro, and adjustments were made to add the dorsal fin, tale, and flippers.

As we were working, local volunteers with the Sunrise Movement came by to grab art supplies and organize petitions for two high school walk-out rallies planned for the following day. Levi was invited to speak at both rallies and plans were made…

Around 5:30 pm, we quickly dusted off and headed over to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis (UUFC) for another fabulous evening potluck and presentation.

We spent the night in Corvallis with members of UUFC, and we met up with quite a few more UUFC members the next morning to support the high-schoolers walking out of class to rally for climate justice at both the Crescent Valley HS and Corvallis High School. Levi had a blast leading chants and blowing a conch shell that Patti had given him. the event made it to print on the front page of the Corvallis Gazette-Times!

The next day, Levi and Leigh-Ann attended a fundraiser event for Our Children’s Trust in Portland, and then we made our way into Washington on the 13th… Stay tuned for another update soon!

Please support UUMFE’s fundraising and speaking tour by donating online to the Faithify campaign to Catalyze the UU Climate Justice movement!

If you are going to General Assembly, make sure to RSVP for the Procession of Species & UUMFE 30th Anniversary Dinner Celebration where we will be marching with the whale puppet!


Extra links:

Tour Backgrond information

Tour Update #1

Tour Update #3

Aly Tharp
Aly Tharp
Aly Tharp is the program director at the UU Ministry for Earth and has been with UUMFE since 2014, initially serving as the network coordinator for the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice. Aly lives in Austin, Texas, and in their free time is an arts-activist and community organizer supporting a local food forest on public parkland and Gulf South climate justice movements.