Multiethnic and multi-faith human rights alliance United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations recognized for mobilizing people and policy in marginalized communities.
CHICAGO – On February 8, 2020, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (UCCRO), the Chicago grassroots organization that is responsible for trailblazing efforts in inter-racial and inter-religious congruity and respect in Chicago, was honored by Marguerite Casey Foundation with the eighth annual Patiño Moore Legacy Award.
The Patiño Moore Legacy Award is given to organizations in recognition for work in developing a deep understanding and trusting relationships across Black and Brown communities. This year’s award also honors the legacy of the late Pastor Ron Taylor, founding member and executive director of UCCRO, for the ways in which the organization helped racial and religious communities understand each other’s lived experiences, build stronger relationships and collective power. It is especially fitting that the award is being presented during Black History Month.
The recognition is unique, as it specifically recognizes partnerships in Black and Brown communities, especially those communities living in poverty, that successfully organize and find solutions collectively. The award includes a $150,000 grant to further support the group’s movement-building efforts toward a more just and equitable society.
“In a city that is notoriously segregated by race, religion, and neighborhood, UCCRO’s unique programming harnesses the power of listening and connection to foster change,” said Luz Vega-Marquis, President and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation. “Pastor Taylor was a front-line leader in fighting for social justice. His organization’s unique community-building programs form a base of understanding which creates real change across African American and Latino communities. For example, in UCCRO community forums revive storytelling and truth-telling traditions, so when Latinx families share their stories of deportation, Black families connect similarities to their experiences of mass incarceration. It’s this type of deep understanding that heals racial, religious and cultural divides and leads to community action.”
UCCRO members come together to develop intergenerational leadership to move a multiracial policy agenda forward with unique methodologies which include lived experience forums that anchor and sustain deep, long-term relationship building across communities. By providing safe spaces for individuals and communities to relate, UCCRO has created environments of racial healing, fostered reconciliation, and as a result, helped launch multiracial movement-building initiatives. This work has resulted in 11 coalition policy wins since the organization’s founding in 2005 that positively impact people of color in Illinois.
The Patiño Moore Legacy Award has a rich heritage of uplifting organizations that have conducted similar work in their communities. Previous awardees include Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and its executive director, Desmond Meade (2018), the group responsible for mobilizing millions of Floridians to pass Amendment 4 and restore voting rights to 1.4 million people, and Rev. William Barber (2017) for his “Moral Monday” peaceful protests in North Carolina, which gained international attention and acclaim.
A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities (ABFE) and Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) partner with Marguerite Casey Foundation each year in giving this award to foster collaboration between Latino and African American communities. The award is named after Dr. Douglas Patiño and Wenda Weekes Moore, independent leaders in the fields of higher education and public service, for their ongoing legacy of working together to improve relations between Black and Brown communities.
About Marguerite Casey Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation has nurtured a movement led by low-income families advocating for change by providing substantial long-term grants that cross issues, regions, egos, politics, race, and ethnicity. Through its multi-year general support grantmaking, the Foundation stands in partnership with grantees to sow the seeds of change. The Foundation doesn’t set the agenda; the families and activists on the ground do. The Foundation provides funding in the areas of advocacy, activism, and education, rather than issue-specific funding, recognizing that families do not experience poverty one issue at a time. For more information, visit caseygrants.org.