- Unitarian Universalism Connection
“We are not in this alone. We cannot respond adequately to the challenges of this time simply as individual congregations, nor solely as Unitarian Universalists.”
~ Rev. Susan Frederick–Gray
Effective justice work means reaching out, gathering in and uniting our voices, passions and resources and bringing them to bear on the injustices that are besieging humanity at home and abroad in the greater global family. In these challenging times, we recognize that effective justice work is ever more important to the soul of Unitarian Universalism. We, too, recognize that we cannot do it alone.
Two UU organizations in the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Justice Network (the Network) and Washington State UU Voices for Justice (Voices) have been working diligently for several years, building their respective activist bases and engaging in critical justice efforts throughout the State of Washington and across the Pacific Northwest region.
- The Network forges pathways between UU individuals and congregations throughout Washington, the Pacific Northwest andbeyond. It tracks and provides leadership, support and expertise to tackle the challenges in a variety of social and environmental justice issues across congregations, cities, and, as necessary, states, regions, and nations.
- Voices focuses its efforts and resources on legislative advocacy and lobbying, participating in hearings and organizing action on policy issues on a statewide level. It provides training and informed voices to speak to members of the state legislature and uses video technology to increase participation of UUs from outside the Puget Sound area.
In a recent retreat attended by both organizations, we engaged in a deep exploration of why both organizations are committed to justice work. Our bottom line: “Love is How; Love is Why.” We came to terms with the idea that our goals and ideals of justice would be best served if we united our voices, efforts and resources.
We shared with excitement ideas about how we could best expand sorely needed support to address an array of justice challenges faced by communities in Washington and the Pacific Northwest. We discussed potential future leaders, future allies inside and outside the UU community, underrepresented constituencies, key programs, and needed infrastructure. We especially considered how to support states in the Pacific Northwest that do not have State Action Networks.
We, both the Network and Voices, envision a new organization that will expand, deepen and strengthen the participation of UUs, with particular emphasis on those from historically marginalized communities, youth, young adults, religious professionals, and congregational leaders. The development of this new organization will strengthen UU justice work in all areas and for all ages, but initially will place particular emphasis on Black Lives Matter and antiracism, economic justice, climate justice, First/American Indian Nations, immigration, education, and LGBTQA+ rights.
This Faithify campaign is a necessary step towards meeting the goals and ideals of this new organization. We are raising funds so that we can:
- Better support and connect UU justice makers so that they can make the most significant impact on issues that are important to them. We will:
- Recruit highly-engaged issue leaders, convening six issue-specific, professionally facilitated virtual meetings specifically for leaders.
- Establish at least three issue-specific steering committees that are self-managing by mid-year.
- Develop and promote webinars and additional training opportunities to foster expertise and effectiveness in legislative advocacy, justice community building, asset mapping, civil disobedience, direct action and more.
- Initiate relationships with and encourage participation from and leadership by UUs from historically marginalized communities, youth, young adults, religious professionals, and congregational leaders. We will:
- Cultivate relationships with youth and young adult programs and groups and campus ministries. Invite dialogues regarding their aspirations for justice, invite their leadership and collaboration in developing the future organization, and offer to co-develop with them programs and services that support their justice aspirations.
- Cultivate relationships with representatives from historically marginalized communities such as DRUUM, BLUU, EqUUal, Northwest Tribes, and LGBTQA+. Extend existing dialogue regarding their aspirations for justice, invite their leadership and collaboration in developing the future organization, offer to co-develop with them programs and services that support their justice aspirations, and promote effective partnerships.
- Recruit highly-engaged UU ministers and religious educators. Invite dialogue regarding their aspirations for UU justice and congregationally-based justice work for all ages. Enlist their help in engaging and supporting the justice potential of families, youth, young adults and individuals from historically marginalized communities.
- Upgrade existing programs that support legislative advocacy and environmental and social justice education and action;
- Expand our collaboration with other UU and non-UU justice organizations and other interfaith and social and environmental justice NGOs working with our members.
- Begin to lay the foundation for an organization that has the administrative skills and resources to sustainably support the justice work of paid staff, volunteers, and members.
In order to fully achieve this vision, we need to take the following steps, all of which require additional funds:
- Hire a quarter-time Program Manager to be the principal spokesperson for WA SAN’s evolution, to liaise with its constituencies, and to oversee implementation of the above goals.
- Retain an organizational coach and professional facilitator to mentor the founding boards, program manager, and WA SAN Evolution Leadership Team throughout the project year. The organizational coach will also train facilitators who will work directly with issue teams to facilitate group and leadership development, as well as facilitate visioning/feedback sessions with members.
- Conduct two retreats for the boards of the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Justice Network and Washington State UU Voices for Justice.
- Fund travel expenses for the Program Manager and organizational representatives to attend the Unitarian Universalist 2018 General Assembly, for their own professional and spiritual development and to liaise with other members of CUUSAN (Coalition of State Action Networks) .
- Fund the technical and administrative supports needed to develop a single, powerful database and more effectively use social media.
Through this Faithify Campaign and a sister campaign currently targeted for June 2018, we intend to meet our obligation of a matching grant from the UU Fund for UU Social Responsibility ($4,000), plus an additional $2000 that we need to fully cover this project’s budget for 2018 (a total of $6,000 yet to be raised).
In this campaign, we have set a minimum goal of $2,000 as our out-of-the gate project ask. We invite you to consider giving more — a stretch gift — to help us cover the additional $4,000 we need. Wouldn’t it be grand if your gift helped us be fully funded sooner, so we could dedicate all of our time to justice action and capacity building this year. We hope you’ll consider a stretch gift that will get us to our goal even faster.
Funds raised in both campaigns will be applied to:
- supporting a newly hired program manager,
- providing the necessary technical support required to merge the existing organizations’ resources (e.g. website consolidation, database consolidation, etc.), and
- retaining professional professional organizational coaching and facilitation services to support the WA SAN Evolution Leadership (our paid leaders and our volunteer board and issue leaders).
While we are only asking the minimum required to meet our projected budget we appreciate any and all contributions, and we guarantee all funds raised will be put to good use in supporting justice work in Washington State, throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.