By Denise Janssen Eager

It is with a heavy heart I share that Well in the Desert’s guiding light, Arlene Rosenthal, passed away peacefully Tuesday evening. She was 79 years old.

UUCOD had a long lasting partnership with Arlene and Well in the Desert.

As Well in the Desert’s president, Arlene was a fearless, tireless, and big-hearted advocate keeping those who live unhoused front & center in Palm Springs’ eye. In my long history of social justice activism, she taught me more about humility & compassion than anyone. Any day of the week, she could always be found either at the office, the cooling center, or at one of the lunch sites talking with those who came through to listen to their story, find out what they needed, and how she could help. She created opportunities for those to join her with what she called her ‘feminist egalitarian style of leadership’. After over 21 years of service to Well in the Desert, she retired this past summer to focus on her health and family. Yet she kept a watchful eye from afar while letting those who took over Well in the Desert’s helm, lead.

Over the years our beloved community has developed a deep connection with Arlene’s advocacy. In 2016 and 2018, UUCOD donated 95 Personal Care Kits to Well in the Desert. These are bags filled with full-size toiletries that were then handed out when they went into the hillside to visit encampments.

Since 2018, we have donated over 5000 pairs of socks through our Socks on the Second program.

Also since 2018, UUCOD has collected & donated $2714.30 through Share the Plate.

That doesn’t even take into account the number of people in our Congregation who donated household items, clothing, & furniture on their own each month.

Over the years, Arlene visited UUCOD several times and each time, spoke with great affection for what we were doing and the relationship we had built with Well in the Desert. That was high praise as she always spoke candidly and never minced words.

She will be missed. Not just as a force for making us see that unhoused people in Palm Springs had faces, but also as a mentor and a friend.

Chris & I will be attending her funeral. Please let me know if you’d like to join us.

Social Justice Blog Posts

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The Social Justice Committee will be on the patio after the services in February to answer your questions about the propowsition. They will give you a handout explaining the pros and cons so you can cast an informed vote.

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UUCOD the Vote: May 2022, Voting Rights Campaign Resumes

Several states have already restricted voting rights to discourage voters from casting their ballots. We can help! Take action to reach those voters by working with national organizations coordinating volunteers who encourage voters to cast their ballot in 2022.

Your 2022 Election Questions Answered

Question 1: Have the Congressional Districts in the Coachella Valley changed in 2022?

Answer: Yes, District 36 currently represented by Representative Raul Ruiz has been split.