Here’s Why I’m Attending ONE Wake’s Founding Assembly — And Why I Hope You Will Too

UUFR recently made a big commitment. We teamed up with our sister congregation Yavneh and promised to turn out 200 members for the ONE Wake Founding Assembly on Oct. 13.

At the founding assembly, ONE Wake will invite elected officials, political candidates and corporate leaders to work together with UUFR and 40 other congregations to take collective action on affordable housing, equality in education, and ensuring livable wages. They will also kick off an ambitious nonpartisan Get Out the Vote campaign to ensure that every registered voter votes on Nov. 3.

Let me explain why I’ll be one of the people at this meeting, and why I hope you will be too.

I’ve been volunteering with ONE Wake since UUFR began considering joining last fall. (UUFR officially joined ONE Wake in June.) I’m now a co-chair of the affordable housing committee. We’re still very early in our work, but I’ve already seen how collective action makes a difference. We have already helped far more people than UUFR could have served working in isolation.

ONE Wake spent time determining the needs of the community, and then we broke into teams to address our three focus areas. On our team, a large group of experienced volunteers took a research-based approach to solving Wake’s affordable housing crisis. We identified the cost of land as the place where we could have an impact, and we began working on a plan to encourage governments to donate publicly owned land for affordable development.

Then, COVID-19 upended all our plans. It was quickly apparent that school closures and loss of jobs meant all of the teams had to refocus.

The affordable housing team identified the potential eviction crisis resulting from all of the job loss.  We identified Wake County Government as having the capability to provide some relief. We quickly mobilized to support $22 million in funding for rental relief and emergency sheltering of the homeless. The county approved the funding after more than 750 members of ONE Wake sent comments supporting the plans.

At October’s founding assembly, we want to show that ONE Wake and UUFR are important forces shaping the future of Wake County. A large turnout will show that UUFR is truly committed to this work, and that our community cares about affordable housing, education equity, and other social justice issues.

Just by your presence at this meeting, you will be making a difference. Please go here to sign up today. Note – every person in your household who is interested in participating should register separately – we want to be sure everyone is counted!

– Jim Hurdis