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Only Clay on the Wheel

By: Jake Morrill
A person's hands shape a clay vessel on a potter's wheel.

Jake Morrill

I want to be shaped in a way that lets me serve the eternal.

Continue reading "Only Clay on the Wheel"

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Surviving a Plague ... Again

National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Surviving a Plague … Again The year is 2021, I am 47, and I’m a 15-year survivor of the first plague of Generation X. Every part of that sentence makes me feel some kind of way. First of all … FORTY-SEVEN! I’m not one of those forever-young queens, so I’m very excited to be alive and grown...

Continue reading "Surviving a Plague ... Again"

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Putting on Armor

By: Shannon Lang
Five people of color are seen in a line, holding hands with arms crossed in a sign of solidarity.

Shannon Lang

In order to be welcoming, the systems of power and privilege in our spaces need to be actively dismantled.

Continue reading "Putting on Armor"

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Reclaiming My Culture

By: Mike Adams
Four members of the Squamish and Lil'wat Nations, with their backs to the camrea, are each draped in a traditional Squamish or Lil'wat blanket.

Mike Adams

I was leaving my mom in another world, located far away from mine.

Continue reading "Reclaiming My Culture"

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The Question

By: Erika A. Hewitt
A starry night sky and and an atmospheric glow blanket the well-lit southeastern African coast as the International Space Station orbited 263 miles above.

Erika A. Hewitt

I need to celebrate our human family, whose power and potential shimmer against the backdrop of deep time, because we aren’t at our best right now.

Continue reading "The Question"

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Letting the Questions Float By

By: Diane Dassow
Seen from behind, a person walks along a low-tide beach. Kelp covered rocks in foreground. Gentle surf and ocean waves in distance.

Diane Dassow

I am learning to give up needing to know the answers, and instead live with the questions.

Continue reading "Letting the Questions Float By"

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A Thousand Voices

By: Tania Márquez
The stub of a lit taper candle burns brightly on a bed of cempasúchil, or Mexican marigolds.

Tania Márquez

The dead aren’t really dead; their stories are perpetually being told by the world around us.

Continue reading "A Thousand Voices"

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Permissions & Licensing

photo of skinner house books
permissions and licensing information for UUA publications and digital resources, including Skinner House and UUA books, Worship Web, Tapestry of Faith, UUWorld, and uua.org

Continue reading "Permissions & Licensing"

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Not Lost, Just Different

By: Shaya French
A clear hourglass filled with blue sand rests on the page of a calendar

Shaya French

If this year is a "lost" year, then I am bound to live a lost life.

Continue reading "Not Lost, Just Different"

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

Pandemic Reckoning

Illustration including a map of the USA with a black and white US flag superimposed, with an orange background of Covid viruses.

Joshua Eaton

Six experts in public health, racial injustice, economic inequality, extremism, and Unitarian Universalist theology talk about the deep fissures the past year has revealed—and how we can move forward.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

In Tulsa, Faith Leaders Call for Massacre Reparations

Rev. Dr. Robert Turner prays on a street painting of Black Lives Matter in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, August 4, 2020

Elaine McArdle

One hundred years after the violent destruction of a prosperous Black neighborhood, a coalition of faith communities is building support for reparations.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

Excitement Builds for 2021 ‘Circle ’Round’ General Assembly

Illustration of a computer with the 2021 UUA General Assembly logo

Staff Writer

UUA’s second all-virtual General Assembly is focused on improving user experience and providing more opportunities for interaction.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

Q&A: Saunder Choi, GA Music Coordinator

Saunder Choi, GA Music Coordinator

Elaine McArdle

Filipino composer and music director at UU Community Church of Santa Monica, California, provides creative direction for UUA General Assembly 2021.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

More than 4,200 UUs ‘Circle ’Round’ virtually for 2021 General Assembly

A screen shot of UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray speaking during the Service of the Living Tradition, June 24, during the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Virtual General Assembly 2021.

Elaine McArdle, Sonja L. Cohen

UUA’s second online-only General Assembly focuses on dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

General Assembly Special Collections Recipients Thrive and Grow

FFLIC Youth Leader, Kaliyah Isis Watson, speaks at a ‘#NoMorePrisons Campaign’ press conference in front of the Louisiana State Capitol

Elaine McArdle

Financial contributions from GA participants make significant change possible: a look at the work of three recent recipients.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

UUA President’s Report, General Assembly 2021

A screen shot of UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray presenting her annual report, June 24, during the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Virtual General Assembly 2021.

Susan Frederick-Gray

Three core priorities will continue to guide our work.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

Widening the Circle of Concern, Together, to Upend White Supremacy

Image of a group of people in an audience with the text "Widening the circle of concern", and the UUA logo.

Heather Beasley Doyle

Five central Illinois congregations collaborate, aided by a new UUA study/action guide.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

An Ingathering Greeting from UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray

Screen Shot of Susan Frederick-Gray giving an Ingathering greeting Fall 2021.

Susan Frederick-Gray

There is great healing and sustaining power in our faith, even if the ways we gather look different than before.   

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

Congregations adapt to evolving COVID guidance

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia, participate in a Flower Communion in the congregation's memorial garden in May 2021.

Kat McKim

As the Delta variant complicates plans for a return to in-person worship, congregations continue to explore a variety of models for being in community.

☐ ☆ ✇ Google Alert - UU

Bloomington Portrait Group creating in person once again - The Herald-Times

Bloomington artists spend 2-hour sessions creating images of live models representing diverse swath of area people every other week.
☐ ☆ ✇ Google Alert - UU

Holiday Fair 2021 - The Unitarian Church of Montpelier

The Holidays are coming! Wreaths. It is time to order your holiday wreaths and we will add a red bird, if you wish. You can choose between decorated ...
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2021 Auction - Paradise Found Needs your Items - Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley

Our mission as an enduring liberal religious community in the Unitarian Universalist tradition is to transform lives and care for the world. SECTION ...
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Thanksgiving's symbolic gathering | National Life | bluemountaineagle.com

The Rev. Suzanne Wasilczuk of Duluth reflects on diversity, appreciation and goodwill to all as she visits Blue Hills Unitarian-Universalists as ...
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After California oil spill, environmentalists plan to sue US | National | chronicleonline.com

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A month after a Southern California offshore oil spill, environmental advocates said Tuesday that they plan to sue ...
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Food insecurity: Mark Roberts and his labradoodle roll through the state to fight hunger

The two crossed the Sagamore Bridge, despite the wind, on a trip that began in West Stockbridge, to raise cash and awareness of food insecurity.
☐ ☆ ✇ Google Alert - UU

Fall Landscape Work Parties - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark - UUFN

Fall and the Landscape Team are a great way to connect at UUFN. Get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and feel good about helping maintain the UUFNs ...
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VUUJAZ Valley Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona

The mission of VUUJAZ is to promote social justice work at VUU by helping the many diverse social justice groups and projects communicate with one ...
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State of Our Ministry - Discussion Circles - UU Ministers Association

Our circles will be facilitated by Paul Langston-Daley who is an experienced restorative practitioner and joined by Melissa Carvill Ziemer who is ...
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Racial Healing Monthly Group - Albany Unitarian Universalist

We continue to hold that space and open it up to other BIPOC members of Albany UU. We meet on the second Monday of the month from 7:00 to 8:00 pm ...
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Final Week for Holiday Basket Donations! - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito

This Sunday, November 7, is the final day to donate hot chocolate packets and monetary contributions for this year's Holiday Basket Project.
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Talking About Death Won't Kill You - Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun

Many of us were raised not to speak of death, but it is as normal to our life experience as birth. The best time to discuss end-of-life issues is when ...
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First Universalist Church of Minneapolis » Wednesday Evening Worship Nov. 3

On Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m, Julica Hermann de la Fuente and Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout will lead us in a short time of meditation and reflection, ...
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Explore history of Wischmeyer model boats at Nov. 7 porch talk: West Shore Chatter - cleveland.com

Learn about Wischmeyer model boats, the history of Veterans Day, a free rededication concert for West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church's pipe ...
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[Virtual Sunday Service] Roving the Red Planet: The Past, Present and Future of Martian Exploration

Sunday November 7, 2021: Michelle Nichols, Director of Public Observing at the Adler Planetarium, will speak on the topic, Roving the Red...
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Some Buffalo polling sites report steady flow of voters, but turnout low at many others - Buffalo News

Today's turnout got off to a somewhat slow start at a sampling of polling sites in Buffalo and in Erie County.
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Kelly Khatib on Twitter: "#Election2021 : I'm out at Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood as ...

#Election2021 : I'm out at Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood as voters come in to cast their ballot. What you need to know on your way to ...
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First ballot initiative to change policing in Minneapolis fails | National News | tullahomanews.com

CNN's Omar Jimenez reports on Minneapolis voters rejecting the measure to replace the police department.
☐ ☆ ✇ Google Alert - UU

Muskegon City Commission getting 2 new members after incumbent defeated - mlive.com

Rachel Gorman and Rebecca St. Clair were the top vote-getters among four seeking two at-large seats, according to unofficial results.
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Multicultural Center Hosts LGBTQIA-Plus Resource Fair | University of Arkansas

The Multicultural Center, as part of its cultural communities expansion, is hosting an LGBTQIA+ Resource Fair in the Arkansas Union Rooms 507-509 ...
☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

I Am Called to Show Up for Climate Justice

Selfie of Zoë Johnston in Washington, D.C., with the Capitol building in the background, October 15, 2021, to join in protest and arrest to demand climate action.

I am a college student, but more urgently, I am a young Unitarian Universalist working to save my future.

☐ ☆ ✇ uuworld.org: latest stories

Following Indigenous Leadership, UUs Join Major Climate Action in D.C.

Photo of a group of  UU clergy and congregational leaders holding banners participating in the multifaith delegation at the White House, 2021.

Elaine McArdle

People v. Fossil Fuels Demands Biden Stop New Projects

☐ ☆ ✇ UUpdates

A sunny autumn day in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden

By: Andrew J Brown
Susanna and I spent a lovely morning and early afternoon in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and, for your enjoyment, I include here a few photographs.  Just click on a photo to enlarge it All were taken with a Fuji X100V and are straight out of camera jpegs
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Pagan Community Notes: Week of November 1, 2021

In this week's Pagan Community Notes, announcements of rituals and events, as well as crossings of the Veil. Continue reading Pagan Community Notes: Week of November 1, 2021 at The Wild Hunt.
☐ ☆ ✇ UUpdates


Prayer beads serve as a focus for meditation. Much more than a mnemonic aid to prayer, prayer beads engage the senses to create a state of mindfulness. Find something to hold onto today, the touch of which helps remind you to return to your center.
☐ ☆ ✇ UUpdates

MU: The Zen Koan as a Love Letter

    Mu: A Love Letter Tom Wardle Empty Moon Zen The Gateless Gate, Case One: Zhaozhou’s Dog A student of the way asked Zhaozhou (Joshu), “Has the dog Buddha nature or not?”Zhaozhou said, “Mu.” The Verse  Dog, Buddha nature—The full presentation of the whole;With a bit of “has” or “has not”Body is lost, life […]
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I Had to Postpone a Ritual and I’m Still Alive

I had plans to do something magical, spiritual, religious, and very important to me – and I had to postpone it. This was a hard thing for me to do.
☐ ☆ ✇ UUpdates

Wobblies Filled the Jail in Spokane Free Speech Fight

By: Patrick Murfin
The IWW relied on street meetings like this one in New York state to organize workers.  When Spokane, Washington authorities tried to shut them down in 1909 they sparked a legendary Free Speech Fight. I didn’t start out to be probably the greatest landmark battle for free speech and free assembly in Americanhistory.   It grew out of the practical, if militant concerns of a labor union trying to establish itselfin an all important local industry—the lumber trade of the Pacific Northwest. But on November 2, 1909 the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) launched a Free Speech Fight in the streets of Spokane , Washington.   Before the first day was out 103 workers trying to mount a literal wooden soap box on Stevens Street had been h...
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Joe Manchin Might be a Senator from West Virginia but he’s Paid for by Corporations

Joe Manchin is doing everything he can to undermine effective legislation to address the climate crisis and stop any sort of expansion of the social safety net. Like a lot of people, I have been feeling a lot of anger and despair over his power to dictate the Democratic Party’s legislative agenda at a time […]
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Website update

By: Dan Harper
The last time I did a major update of my main website was around 2009. It was looking pretty old and creaky. So I did a complete redesign, and it’s now responsive and html5 compliant. On the content side, I added some significant new content, including an essay on change management in congregations. I did … Continue reading "Website update"
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UU Minute #57

By: Meredith Garmon
Charles Chauncy Charles Chauncy served the prominent First Church of Boston for 60 years: 35 as assistant minister and another 25 as senior minister. His support of the American Revolution in sermons and pamphlets led him to be called "theologian of the American Revolution". Born into the elite Puritan merchant class that ruled Boston, Chauncy came to oppose the Great Awakening and spoke out against religious enthusiasm stirred up by revival preachers. 1. Despite his Puritan heritage, Chauncy rejected Calvin’s doctrine of total depravity, and argued that human beings have God-given "natural powers" that were meant to be nurtured toward "an actual likeness to God in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness". 2. Chauncy and other more...
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UU Minute #58

By: Meredith Garmon
Charles Chauncy, Universalist, and Jonathan Mayhew, Unitarian Charles Chauncy rejected such Calvinist doctrines as total depravity and predestination. Chauncy was also a universalist. Chauncy completed his major theological work, The Mystery Hid from Ages and Generations , in 1765, but for 20 years could not bring himself to publish it. Finally, late in life, anonymously, he published his book: 400 pages of biblical support for universal salvation, that God wills and ensures the salvation of all humanity. Charles Chauncy is understood by most scholars to have had an Arian Christology. Quick review of Christology. In the first three centuries after Jesus’ death, Christian churches understood Jesus in a variety of ways. In particular, th...
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UU Minute #59

By: Meredith Garmon
King's Chapel and James Freeman, part 1 Remember Thomas Emlyn? Emlyn was featured in episodes 42 and 43. He was the first British preacher to definitely describe himself with the word Unitarian. Years after his death, reprints of Emlyn’s book, “An Humble Inquiry into the Scripture Account of Jesus Christ” made their way to America’s shores where they aided and abetted the growing liberalism. In 1757, a group of New Hampshire churches, influenced by Emlyn’s arguments, revised their catechism to delete all references to the trinity. Then an Episcopal Congregation – the oldest Episcopal Congregation in New England – went Unitarian. King’s Chapel in Boston had been established in 1686 as an Anglican Church. In 1782, facing a ...
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UU Minute #60

By: Meredith Garmon
King's Chapel and James Freeman, part 2 The Anglican/Episcopalian congregation, King’s Chapel, in Boston, faced a clergy shortage after American independence, so, in 1782, they called congregationalist James Freeman, then 23 years old and fresh out of Harvard. Under Freeman’s influence the congregation revised their Book of Common Prayer to delete references to the Trinity. When the congregation sought to have Freeman ordained, however, the Anglican bishops refused. King’s Chapel chose to take a page from the polity of their neighboring congregationalist churches, and, in 1787, ordained James Freeman themselves – a power which, under congregational polity, is in the hands of congregations, not of bishops or church hierarchy. King...
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Every choice we make at the polls can change the course of history.

Today is Election Day - another chance for us to live into our deep beliefs about the power of the democratic process to create a world in which all people are free and thriving.    Voting is a collective act of discernment and imagination. When we cast our ballots for candidates that reflect our values and laws and ordinances that move us closer to the world we want to live in, we are taking sacred action together. So please--if you have the ability to vote, make sure you get to the polls today. (And if you don’t know how to find your polling place, click here .)    As both early voting and today’s ballots are counted in municipal and state elections around the country, our communities will be directly shaping the future of our ...
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Texas lawmaker investigates 850 books he says makes students uncomfortable

A Texas statehouse representative seeks the removal of over 800 books from public school libraries in his state. Continue reading Texas lawmaker investigates 850 books he says makes students uncomfortable at The Wild Hunt.
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Being Centered

Having my experience centered feels like my community is actively acknowledging my potential. What is your experience of being centered by others? What is your experience of being marginalized? How can you center others today?
☐ ☆ ✇ UUpdates

Five Years Ago—The Universe was Reset the Cubs Won the World Series

By: Patrick Murfin
Note — Just five years ago yesterday as the U.S. was about to slide into disaster, the thrilling victory of the Chicago Cubs in the World Series ending a 108 year drought lifted my heart and generations of the most faithful fans in baseball.  Since then, were have endured tough times and this past season a promising team stacked by beloved players, most of them veterans of the 2016 triumph sputtered out mid-season and were dealt away in a fire sale.  Heart breaking.  But there were glimmers of hope among the replacements and Cubs fans are every ready to hope for next year.  This is the blog entry I posted the morning of the day after the game. The morning after everything changed.  Barrels of ink have already been spilled.  More ...
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Of Richard Hooker, His Three-Legged Stool, and a Dream for a Progressive Zen Buddhism

    Today, the 3rd of November, the Anglican communion honors Richard Hooker, priest and theologian in its calendar of feasts. He was a central figure in the establishment of Anglicanism as a via media, a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism. Hooker was also a beautiful writer. He articulated a “threefold cord not quickly […]
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Not Lost, Just Different

Shaya French If this year is a "lost" year, then I am bound to live a lost life. Continue reading "Not Lost, Just Different"
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Guidonian hand

By: WisdomOfHands
A friend sent me an interesting link to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guidonian_hand on the Guidonian Hand. Used in Medieval music, the Guidonian hand was a mnemonic device used to assist singers in learning to sight-sing. From Wikipedia: "Some form of the device may have been used by Guido of Arezzo, a medieval music theorist who wrote a number of treatises, including one instructing singers in sightreading. The hand occurs in some manuscripts before Guido's time as a tool to find the semitone; it does not have the depicted form until the 12th century." Most of us have heard of the idea of tying a string around a finger to help us to remember something we might forget. The Guidonian Hand suggests the potential for our hands ...
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Lucky Lady Wins Trip to the Auld Sod—Old Man Will Tag Along

By: Patrick Murfin
The colorful fishing port of Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland has lots of pubs to lure lovers of Irish music . My wife Kathy, the luckiest human on Earth, won a trip to Irelandat a drawing last week during Irish Books, Arts & Music (IBAM) festival at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago! Previously she has won $30,000 on a lottery scratch off a few years ago, a big flat screen TV, a quality original oil painting, innumerable rafflesand 50-50 drawings.  And she stays ahead playing scratch offs spending no more than 20 or 30 a week.  I win jack shit.  Our sea-side "cottage" is much larger and more modern that the Murfin Estate stateside. This time the prize was a week at a “cottage” on the sea just outside of Dingle—a beauti...
☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

We Have Sided with Love for 10 Years--Let’s Vote Love in 2020, Join us Jan 12th

By: Side With Love

I hope this message reaches you surrounded by love. On December 12th, I sat bundled up, marveling at the last full moon of 2019 and this DECADE. I read in different astrological websites that this last full moon's powers, the Cold Moon's powers, encourages us to release the heaviness of the past, to honor the lessons we have learned and to prepare for what is to come in our lives, in our communities, and in the World. I welcomed the invitation with gladness. Under the direction of this Cold Moon, Side With Love celebrates a decade of confronting injustice, aligning with frontline communities and living a faithful witness. For 10 years, we have moved from behind the shadows and joined with frontline partners to proclaim that we embody a faith that demands us to do justice, to be love, and respect the inherent dignity of all.

The past decade has been a time of hope and harm. As we enter 2020 the stakes have never been higher for truly building a movement that harnesses the power of love to dismantle oppression. Side with Love will be working with UUtheVote in a variety of ways to bring out our communities to #VoteLove and #DefeatHate. Please join the UUtheVote Launch on Jan. 12th, 1 pm PST, 4 pm EST. 

As we reflect on this past decade, we offer a snapshot of the ways we have resisted, the voices and actions that expressed “This is what love looks like in action!” 


July 29, 2010, UUA Past-President Rev. Peter Morales, Rev. Susan Frederick‐Gray, former minister of the UU Congregation of Phoenix, and 27 other UU clergy and laypeople were arrested in downtown Phoenix, AZ for acts of peaceful civil disobedience. They were among 200 UUs, many from out of state, who came to Phoenix for actions in support of immigrant families on the National Day of Non‐Compliance with SB 1070, a repressive anti-immigrant bill that targetted all people of color for racial profiling by police. Consistent with the UU beliefs of the inherent worth and dignity of all and of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, these dedicated UUs stood on the side of love with Black and Brown people being targeted and threatened by this law. Standing on the Side of Love joined with Puente, an Arizona‐based human rights partner, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network to protest the bill and demand civil and human rights for all.


In 2014, UUs in Missouri and beyond took Standing on the Side of Love into the streets and embraced the Black Lives Matter movement displaying banners and raising funds. This was not without controversy and struggle within our UU movement. 

In 2015, Standing on the Side of Love was part of the Black Lives Matter track at General Assembly that brought in front line community organizers from Portland and across the country as we worked to educate and organize our people. At that same General Assembly, we celebrated the SCOTUS ruling that upheld same sex marriage while we mourned the massacre of our AME brethren by a white nationalist in Charleston, SC. 

Two years later on August 11-12, 2017 in Charlottesville, the dangerous rise of white supremacy was on full display as hundreds of white men with tiki torches marched on the University of Virginia campus and clashed with anti-fascist anarchists.

First and foremost, we honor the dedication and leadership of the members, staff and friends of Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church UU (TJMC-UU) who have been organizing against white supremacy for some time now. Christina Rivera, TJMC-UU’s Director of Administration and Finance and member of our UUA Board at the time, was with the clergy who peacefully marched to Emancipation Park where white nationalists were gathering around the statute of Robert E. Lee. 


Christina put out a call through Standing on the Side of Love for UUs from the region to come support them. UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, Rev. Jeanne Pupke, Sr. Minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, Rev. Linda Olson Peebles and many others answered our call. Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, the organizer, strategist and musician who was prominently featured at our UUA General Assembly in 2016, led the actions with the support of many, including Standing on the Side of Love staffer Nora Rasman. 


2019 Climate Strikes: These youth-led actions mobilized hundreds of thousands across the country to address the climate emergency that poses an existential threat to humanity. Our UU youth mobilized thousands of UUs to take part and Side with Love brought together a UU coalition to support them that included UU Ministry for Earth, UU State Action Networks and others. We saw the power of all pulling together. Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray and I brought Side with Love to the NYC strikes where we joined hundreds of UUs and thousands (tens of thousands) of our people.

We also offer at the end of this decade, things we have to mourn, voices we have lost along the way aswe confront the rise of fascism. The 22 black trans women who have been murdered, the LGBTQ folx who have been targeted, the migrants who have died in the desert, the families being held in cages through mass detention and the people locked up and locked out through mass incarceration. 

Lastly, as we are on the brink of 2020 we invite you to continue to Choose Love! We enter into another decade with the opportunity to align our actions, our faith, and our values. Join us as we add the power of our campaign to the movement to expand democracy. As we kick off our 2020, we invite you to prepare the ways you will Side With Love. 

We will move in coordination with our electoral justice kindred who continue to defend the quality of our democracy ensuring that if you choose to vote that your right is protected. Join the UUA as we launch #UUTheVote on January 12th 4 pm EST. The stakes continue to get higher day by day but we have an opportunity to guide and lead the way. Find out more about UU The Vote here www.uuthevote.org

May we prevail in 2020 as part of building a movement where all can thrive and be free.

Choose Love, 

May we prevail in 2020 as part of building a movement where all can thrive and be free.

Choose Love, 


Everette R. H. Thompson 

Side With Love, Campaign Manager 

P.S. 30 Days of Love will kick-off as we head into Dr. Martin Luther King Weekend January 18, 2020 - February 14, 2020 so please stay tuned and continue to be courageous in love! 

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

30 Days of Love: Join us as we uplift Movement, our Faith and this Moment!

By: Side With Love

Throughout 2020, Side with Love commits to celebrating the ways we resist, show up and disrupt injustice. We know this moment invites us to increase our radical resistance, our partnerships, and our dedication to embody our values and principles. Current social, political and economic realities afford us opportunities to practice our faith in ways we have never been called before. Don’t fret, friends! Our collective history has taught us how to fight back and when we fight together, WE WIN! We are not alone on this journey. Join us as we launch our 30 Days of Love where we will be together in intentional practice of preparing for the months, days and years ahead.

Check out our 30 Days of Love resources!

We will be sharing and uplifting the work and action of our social justice movement partners, UUs, and UU adjacent kindred. Together, we will shape this World into a place where we all thrive. We invite you to join us, day by day, one choice at a time. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get up to date 30 Days of Love Actions.

There are many ways we will invite you to #SideWithLove throughout this year as we continue to construct a World where we each can live with dignity.

Today in movement, we lift up Black Mama’s Day Bail Out! It’s never too early to begin to prepare for Mothers’ Day!

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Protect Wamponaog Tribe Sovereignty

By: Side With Love

“Congress, I need you to put your head up, look up and see what is happening in your Administration. Look at what they are doing in the quiet while everybody is scrambling to keep their families safe and alive. Look what’s happening, under your own nose, the people that you have put in place to protect us and look after our sovereignty are the same people who are terminating us. . .400 Years after we welcomed you to these lands!” -- Vice Chairwoman Jessie Little Doe Baird

We are asking you to side with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts as they fight for their sovereignty and their right to their Tribal lands. Late last Friday afternoon, the Tribe was contacted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to inform them that the Secretary of the Interior has issued an order that will terminate the Tribe’s ability to self-govern, strip the Tribe of their reservation lands, and effectively terminate them as a recognized people. This is how the Trump administration is moving during the pandemic! This truly nefarious action must be vigorously opposed. Not only does it take away the sovereignty and lands from the Wampanoag people, it also sets a precedent for government orders against other indigenous peoples.Take the following actions TODAY:

  • Sign this petition calling on Congress to Pass the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act

  • Call Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs: (202) 224-2551. Urge him to support the forward movement of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act (Senate Bill 2628)

  • Call and email the Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, who issued the order to disestablish their reservation lands

  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and ask to Speak to your Senators. (Find your senator here). Urge your Senators to support the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act (Senate Bill 2628)

  • Make a donation to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe through their official website. Click here to donate now.

Learn More:

  • Watch this great 3-minute video by Teena Pugliese to hear directly from allies and leaders in the tribe about why this matters.

  • The Doctrine of Discovery has been the religious and legal basis of land theft, extractive capitalism, Indigenous genocide, and violent colonization. Learn more about the history of the Doctrine of Discovery--and Unitarian Universalist efforts to make amends and repudiate the Doctrine in contemporary times--by clicking here.

  • Learn more about the history and contemporary life of the Mashpee Wampanoag on the Tribe’s official website.

  • Read the UUA’s Official Statement here.

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Side With Love and Love Resists “In These Times: Webinar & Resources

By: Side With Love

We hope this message reaches you surrounded by love and knowing that you are not alone. Thank you so much for joining Side With Love and Love Resists “In These Times.” We wanted to provide you with ways that you can continue to be in motion right now. If you missed this webinar, you can check out the video: Side With Love & Love Resists In These Times We are also offering Closed Captioned Text and Audio versions as well. “In These Times” was a moment to assess what is at stake and how we can move together. We offer these highlights from various folx on the call and the following ways you can be in motion during our social distancing.

Dr. Charlene Sinclair, Senior Advisor to BlackPAC offered these reflections.

“In the midst of the pandemic, we're consenting to a higher level of authoritarian surveillance and criminalization than ever before. How do we need to think about this moment? And not be happy because there's some decarceration happening in some jails, when they're lining up tanks in Akron to make sure that people don't disobey the curfew? What are we doing when we have "progressive people" saying, "of course they need to arrest people and give them tickets." We are saying that there's no need for prisons in the same way. We have to be careful as a movement that our anxiety and fear doesn't actually move us down a pathway of consent to an authoritarian rule. ”

We encourage you to support the work of BlackPAC.

Brother Luis Suarez, Detention Watch Network stated:

"Nothing [about us] without us" comes to us from a disability justice movement. It captures the essence of how we must engage to maintain a constant line of communication with the people inside ICE jails and those who have survived the system. It helps to ensure that our work isn't having unintended negative consequences for people detained and responding to their needs. . .We're demanding freedom for all. No one will get released unless we demand everyone to be released. This isn't a time for exceptions. It's a matter of life or death. How the government has treated this crisis, we can't treat anyone as expendable. The least we can do is push for everyone to be released. We have heard about social distancing practices. This is impossible for people in detention centers. The definition of mass confinement poses a serious threat to public health. This, coupled with ICE's long standing history of medical neglect, abuse, etc. is a recipe for disaster. Lives are already at risk in detention.”

Take part in Detentions Watch Network Free Them All On-going Actions.

Rev. Suzanne Fast, EqUUal Access:

“Resist the systematic devaluation of disabled people during the pandemic, not only for these protocols about who gets health care.This is a time where our allies are crucial to people's survival. ... We seriously need you to be part of unmasking ableism on a regular, ongoing basis. Every time someone says, "it's not serious. It's not like real oppression" or "That's just a metaphor/they don't mean anything by that." When that happens, it reinforces that these lives don't carry the same value. When that goes unchallenged in the good times, that's how these crisis situations become more dangerous for us.”

Support and take action with the #NoBodyIsDisposable Campaign.

The UUA continues to fight in the right relationship with our movement and internally to our people. We uplift the words of Rev. Ashley Horan, UUA Organizing and Strategy Team Director:

“As we think about being UU organizers right now in our communities and congregations, one thing to think deeply about is getting crystal clear about our mission, who we are and what we do. That's usually to connect people, make them know that they're beloved to one another, to help people find belonging and meaning in the midst of a world that doesn't always make sense, and to build networks in our broader communities, to be part of creating that interdependent web of existence. To keep that well and whole.”

Join Rev. Michael Crumpler, UUA LGBTQ & Multicultural Ministries and UU the Vote for LGBTQ+ Equity and continue to build toward a just democracy.

Upcoming opportunities to Side With Love for these upcoming on-line offerings to be together: :

Side With Love joins Unitarian Universalists Ministry for Earth to present a live streaming of The Condor & The Eagle on Earth Day, April 22, 2020. This is a great way to close out Earth Day 2020, Register today!

Choose Love,

Everette R. H. Thompson

P. S. We are on the Side of the Poor People Campaign and We Must Do M.O.R.E. Tour!

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

"We will only get through this crisis by supporting each other": one congregation's story of stimulus relief fund redistribution

By: Side With Love

The UUA's Organizing Strategy Team has been encouraging Unitarian Universalists who have the "privilege of enough" to redistribute all or part of their stimulus checks (or the monetary equivalent) to grassroots organizations working to build freedom for all people through the UUs #ShareMyCheck campaign.  The following is a story of one congregation who has acted boldly and prophetically to do just this.  If you plan on redistributing your check, or have already given to freedom organizations with your stimulus money, please sign the pledge so we can track how much money UUs are redistributing in this time. 

Members of Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 2018

Members of Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 2018

“We will get there, heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will.”

We are living in a time of crisis, a time of fear, and a time of pandemic. We are also living in a time of great creativity, beautiful acts of solidarity, and we are always living in a time that is capable of love.

The leadership at the Second Unitarian Church of Chicago has been approaching this current moment with intentionality and dedication to our shared values. Like nearly every other UU church, we have moved our Sunday services online, we are doing children’s faith development classes over zoom, and we are figuring out how to keep everyone connected to one another. It is a struggle, of course, but a struggle we are engaged in together.

Among our shared ministry efforts is a commitment to redistributing funds members and friends of the church received via the government stimulus bill. Many of those at 2U are in a financially stable place, even as this pandemic continues. We had discussions among Board leadership and finance committee leadership to decide how we might go about collecting and sharing this money.

We recognized that Congress failed to get enough financial assistance to many people and that the restrictions on access to the funds disproportionately impact those who are most vulnerable right now. We recognized that as a church we had our own financial needs. Our pledge campaign had been winding down and we were not quite at the place we hoped we would be as a church. Should we be asking people to donate their stimulus money to support the ministry of the church? Would asking people to donate their stimulus money for redistribution reduce how much they pay on their pledge? Should we be redistributing the money within our own membership to those who may be struggling? There were many questions that we discussed.

A decision was made. We would encourage church members and friends to make a specific donation marked as CoronaCash that we would collect and redistribute to those who needed it more. A letter was sent out to the congregation, which you can read HERE. Whether one could donate 100%, 50%, or 1% of the money received via the stimulus bill, it would all be welcome. Our church would keep zero of what was donated in this campaign. We accepted nominations of organizations that were giving cash directly to undocumented folks, homeless folks, and other people in our area who either were excluded by the stimulus bill or who may have even greater financial need than what was being made available. We committed to only give to efforts that would give cash directly to individuals.

As of May 17th we raised and distributed our first installment of CoronaCash. We were able to distribute $5,750. We sent $2,000 to a campaign giving $500 to homeless adults in Chicago, $1,000 to a group giving cash assistance to undocumented people on the Westside of the city, $1,000 to an organization giving cash assistance to transgender women of color on the Southside of the city, $1,000 to an organization giving direct support to sex workers across the city, and $750 to an organization giving cash cards to homeless youth throughout the city. We continue to raise money to be distributed again, knowing that some of us are just getting our checks in the mail. The intention is to give our last installment out in mid-June, timely distribution has felt important given the extreme need right now.

We continue to have our own financial needs as a congregation. We have received our own financial support from the government through the PPP grants. Our commitment to share the money beyond our community does not negate our own community needs; it highlights the truth that we will only get through this crisis by supporting each other. We journey together with love.

by Rev. Jason Lydon, Minister, Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, IL

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

A new day for Side with Love

By: Side With Love

Unitarian Universalists are often called “the Love People” by our communities who see us out working for justice. From hosting free weddings for LGBTQIA+ people before marriage equality was the law of the land, to taking to the streets as part of the global Climate Strikes, to opening our sanctuaries to protesters fleeing state violence, to organizing with coalition partners to shut down immigration detention facilities, “the Love People” have been showing up for years to embody our values, take courageous action, and build together as a part of broader movements for justice and liberation.  

Sometimes, Unitarian Universalists have shown up holding our congregational banners.  Other times, it’s been at the call of joint UU campaigns like Love Resists or Create Climate Justice.  And sometimes, we’ve rallied together through efforts like UU the Vote, or in our yellow shirts as a part of Side With Love. 

For some UUs, however, it has been confusing to try to understand the relationship between these many different justice campaigns and programs. Too often, the existence of these many “brands” has made the work seem disjointed, or even that issues are in competition with one another for resources and attention. And as a result, we have not always been as aligned, coordinated, or powerful as we could be. 

One thing is clear: the world needs Unitarian Universalists to show up for justice with spiritual grounding, generosity, humility, courage, and concrete skills. At various moments, we may be asked to bring these resources to particular struggles--pushing for electoral justice and voting rights, combating criminalization, working for LGBTQIA+ liberation, resisting climate catastrophe--but fundamentally, these are all facets of our shared work for collective liberation. 

Since its inception, the Side With Love campaign in particular has articulated one of Unitarian Universalism’s most cherished values: that it is a spiritual practice to choose love over fear. The beauty and the power of Side With Love has always been that invitation to be brave, to show up when we’re called, to occupy space with loving resistance rather than fearful retreat. We are most powerful when we understand that all the issues we care most deeply about are fundamentally interlinked, and that each of us has a role to play in building a world in which all people can be free and thrive. When we bring our best selves to our justice work, whichever specific issue or campaign it might be, we are choosing to Side With Love. 

And so, going forward, we are proud to announce that all of the UUA’s justice work will be housed under the Side With Love banner, through which we will continue to offer UUs regular opportunities for political education, spiritual sustenance, skills-based trainings, and mobilizations for action. We will be explicitly building on the infrastructure, organizing experience, relationships, and momentum we developed in 2020 through UU the Vote. In that vein, we will also invite UUs into specific work on issue-based campaigns from time to time: Side With Love will be encouraging people to #UUtheVote in 2022; to #CreateClimateJustice in partnership with the UU Ministry for Earth; and to declare that #LoveResists criminalization, along with our beloved partners at the UU Service Committee. These campaigns will be aligned and coordinated, and part of the overarching organizing strategy of Side With Love. 

To better reflect this intentional integration into Side With Love, we have also re-structured our Organizing Strategy Team--the UUA staff group that holds responsibility for the outward-facing justice ministries and campaigns of the Association. Working together, this team will be focusing on creating an impactful, engaging, nourishing multi-issue hub where UUs come to ground our spirits, grow our skills, and act together for justice. Following this message, you can see brief profiles of each of the Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team members, along with contact information and details about the portfolios of work they lead. 

In short: we will still be supporting our partners, congregations, and people of faith and conscience who are concerned about climate justice, decriminalization, democracy, and LGBTQ+ and gender justice as well as other issues that require a faith-filled response. We’re simply being more intentional in our declaration that all our prophetic justice work requires us to Side With Love.

To hear more reflections about how Unitarian Universalists are being called to Side With Love in the coming time, and ways to get involved, join our team at UUA General Assembly for our live workshop, “Harvesting Lessons, Planting Seeds: Reflections on Organizing, 2016-2021” on Thursday, June 24, 5:00-6:30pm ET/2:00-3:30pm PT. Check out all our General Assembly offerings here.  

We are so grateful for the ways Unitarian Universalists continue to Side With Love in so many ways, and in so many places. The work that lies ahead of us is immense, but we know that we carry on the legacy of generations before us who have brought us to this point. We are excited for our next phase together, and we can’t wait to build with you. We are so glad to be in the struggle together. 

In faith and solidarity,

The Rev. Ashley Horan, UUA Organizing Strategy Director 

On behalf of Side With Love’s Organizing Strategy Team

Meet your Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team

The Rev. Ashley Horan (she/her) is the UUA’s Organizing Strategy Director, and leads the Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team. In this role, Ashley shapes the big-picture vision and goals for the UUA’s outward-facing justice work, advises senior UUA leadership on justice-related issues, and supervises the staff team that designs and implements the work of Side With Love and all its related programs and campaigns.  


Nicole Pressley (she/her), formerly the National Organizer for UU the Vote, now serves as Field & Programs Director, and as a member of the Side With Love leadership team. In this role, Nicole supervises the team of field organizers, and creates opportunities for UUs to engage in leadership development, skill building, and collective action.

Everette Thompson (he/him), formerly the Campaign Manager for Side With Love, now serves as Political Education & Spiritual Sustenance Strategist, and as a member of the Side With Love leadership team. In this role, Everette designs opportunities for UUs to deepen their political grounding and analysis of critical justice issues and movements, and offers ways for people to nurture and sustain their spirits as they engage in long-haul work for justice. 


Audra Friend (she/her) serves the Side With Love team as Data, Communications, and Technology Specialist. In this role, Audra creates the technical infrastructure that makes our digital organizing possible, and supports the creation of compelling narratives that link our values to our actions for justice. 

Susan Leslie (she/her) currently serves as our Coalitions & Partnerships Organizer, after 29 years on UUA staff in a wide variety of justice-related roles. As a part of the field organizing team, Susan focuses on supporting strong, accountable connections between UU congregations, frontline movement partners, and faith-based coalitions. Beginning July 1, Susan will be working 60% time in her last year on staff before retiring in July 2022. 

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The Rev. Michael Crumpler (he/him), Multicultural & LGBTQIA+ Programs Director, is based in the UUA’s Ministries and Faith Development staff group, and contributes 40% of his time to the Side With Love team. Michael holds Side With Love’s LGBTQIA+ and gender justice organizing, oversees the UUA’s Welcoming Congregations program, and publishes the Uplift newsletter and blog. 

Aly Tharp (she/her or they/them) is the UU Ministry For Earth (UUMFE) Director of Programs and Partnerships, and serves as an ad hoc member of the Side With Love team. In this role, she serves as a liaison between the UUA and the ecosystem of UU climate justice organizing, and oversees Create Climate Justice, a joint project of the UUA and UUMFE. Aly collaborates and advises on climate- and earth-justice related organizing and strategy. 


We’re consolidating our various email newsletters to reflect our new focus. To subscribe to our newsletters or update your subscription info, please visit https://sidewithlove.org/subscribe.

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

General Assembly 2021 is over. Now what?

By: Side With Love

Each year, thousands of Unitarian Universalists gather together for our annual General Assembly (GA), where we learn about cutting edge thinking and practices in our faith, do the business of the Association, and join our hearts and our spirits together in worship, song, and action. This year’s GA was the second in which we assembled not in an overly-air conditioned convention center, but in online chat spaces and Zoom rooms and livestreams. And even though so many of us are yearning for the in-the-flesh experience of being together, this was a truly remarkable, soul-expanding week that underscored for all of us that the heart of Unitarian Universalist faith is love, and that the expression of that faith is our shared work for justice. 

Some highlights from the week:

  • Our Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team was thrilled to see so many of you in our on-demand and live workshops (and we look forward to sharing some highlights and content from them in the coming weeks with those of you who did not attend GA, too!). We were especially excited to share our learnings coming out of the just-published UU the Vote report, and to publicly debut Side With Love’s new Action Center!

  • We were also incredibly touched by your generosity in donating to the Side With Love special collection on Saturday, which raised nearly $33,000. Thank you so much for making the work possible. (If you would still like to make a gift, text SWL to 91999 or click here.)

  • On Saturday, we partnered with African American Roundtable in phonebanking in support of a moral budget for Milwaukee, with less funding for racist policing and more resources for real social supports and structures of safety and stability for the people. More than 30 of you joined us in calling, and together we made more than 550 calls, and had more than 50 deep canvassing conversations with Milwaukee residents--many of which led to commitments of deeper engagement and support from the people we reached. Join us on July 8th for the next chance to join us and the African American Roundtable in support of the #LiberateMKE campaign!

  • Building a democracy where everyone has a voice and where those historically excluded from systems of governance find justice, is a fight that continues beyond election seasons. Our co-Ware lecturers at General Assembly, Stacey Abrams and Desmond Meade, gave rousing commentary on what it means to build just and democratic futures for us all. It included passing legislation like the For the People Act and John Lewis Act to expand access to voting rights, remove money from politics, end harmful gerrymandering, and restore critical elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It also includes resisting the criminalization of protests and people with marginalized identities that move us closer to justice and liberation. And it includes partnering with those most impacted to dismantle systems of oppression and collectively reimagine communities and the systems that help us thrive. 

  • Finally, we were inspired by the ways Unitarian Universalists engage in the democratic process together to articulate our shared values and call for embodied work for justice. This year, we were heartened to see the decisive votes that our delegates cast in favor of this year’s Statement of Conscience (“Undoing Systemic White Supremacy”), and the resounding affirmation of three Actions of Immediate Witness declaring our support for systemic solutions to address the devastation caused by COVID-19; our call to defend and advocate with transgender, nonbinary, and intersex Communities; and the urgency of defending democracy and combating voter suppression. 

It is always a gift to be together in worship, action, and embodying in the democratic process. We are grateful for all of you who engaged in GA activities with us, and with our siblings in faith. Stay tuned for many more opportunities coming soon to join us in the work as we continue to Circle ‘Round for Freedom, Justice, and Courage.


In faith and solidarity,

Rev. Ashley Horan, UUA Organizing Strategy Director

On behalf of the Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Meet Side With Love's new Congregational Justice Organizer!

By: Side With Love

A note from Nicole Pressley, Field and Programs Director:

Whether you’re talking about organizing or Unitarian Universalism, you don’t get very far without mentioning the centrality of relationship, community, and learning. As a living faith, we commit to transforming ourselves and our world as we build beloved community. 

This is why I am excited to announce that Rev. Ranwa Hammamy will be joining the UUA’s Organizing Strategy Team as the new Congregational Justice Organizer. The OST is the base for all of the UUA’s outward-facing justice ministries, including UU the Vote, Side With Love, Love Resists, Create Climate Justice, and more. Rev. Ranwa’s skill, commitment to racial justice-rooted organizing, and invitational leadership are markers of their powerful justice ministry that have supported organizations like UU Justice Ministry of California and Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Ministries.  

As we build Side With Love’s organizing capacity and infrastructure, we’re looking forward to Rev. Ranwa sharing their powerful leadership to support congregational and local teams. By building new and stronger relationships with our Unitarian Universalist communities, we can create deeply connected networks of leaders to grow our impact, learn from one another, and reflect on collective work.  

I am so grateful that Rev. Ranwa has chosen to join our team and look forward to how they will support our congregations and leaders in transformational justice work. Come welcome Rev. Ranwa Hammamy in their new position at our Side With Love Action Center launch on Sunday, September 12, 2pm EST/1pm CST/ 12pm MST/11am PST.

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy

I am humbled and excited to join the Organizing Strategy Team as a Congregational Justice Organizer! 

I became a Unitarian Universalist in 2010, joining the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia and its choir. Every Sunday, when I sat in the choir pews, a flag swayed gently above my head, embroidered with an image of one of Unitarianism’s most prophetic ancestors – Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Over the years, I’ve come to learn so much about and from Harper’s bold and courageous faith, and how it motivated her perseverant work for abolition, universal suffrage, economic justice, gender equality, and more. As a Unitarian Universalist & Muslim, I hold a deep appreciation of how her lived faith wove together her African Methodist Episcopal roots and her Unitarian wings. 

I know that what I believe and how I act are inextricably connected. Whether it is teaching anti-racism in a Sunday school classroom in New York, interrupting inhumane immigration proceedings in San Diego, or protesting the desecration of sacred lands by Enbridge in Minnesota, my actions are out of a joyful obligation to my beliefs. 

As the Congregational Justice Organizer with the Organizing Strategy Team, I am excited to learn about, celebrate, connect, and support the ways YOU have found to live out your faith. Serving as the Executive Director of the UU Justice Ministry of California showed me how vibrant and varied our congregational justice ministries can be, and that is in just one state! I am eager to get to know you, your teams, your communities, your work, your dreams, your struggles, and your strengths, and help build those bridges that motivate bold and courageous action. And I am ESPECIALLY excited to meet you at the launch of the Side with Love Action Center on Sunday, September 12 at 2pm EST!

RSVP now

Our world is at a turning point, and we have the power and responsibility to choose its direction. As Harper once wrote, “Are there not wrongs to be righted?” We can choose to continue the cycles of racism, capitalism, and imperialism by restoring the white supremacist status-quo that pretends to look like “change” when it knows we are tired or scared. Or, we can be bold and courageous like our ancestor Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and take new action in faith-rooted and collective ways. 

Through our collective faith-rooted work, Unitarian Universalist congregations can be epicenters of imagination and generativity. We have already witnessed this power. In the past 18 months our communities have met unfathomable challenges, grief, violence, and destruction with adaptability, resilience, steadfastness, love, and creativity. Our congregations have been physical and virtual spaces where we have sustained each other, remembered that we are always part of something larger than ourselves, and effectively embraced our shared power. And with the Side with Love Action Center, our congregations will grow even stronger as integral spaces for our interconnected work for liberation. By coming together on Sunday, September 12 for the Action Center Launch with others in your congregation – committee members, established justice teams, or anyone you think might be interested in organizing together within your community – you will be part of the next phase of our prophetic work as a faith. 

We face challenging times ahead, just as we and our ancestors have endured before. As individuals and congregations, we affirm and live by a set of principles that are not reserved for our most comfortable or privileged moments, but that speak the deepest truth in the most difficult and uncertain times of our lives. We all have parts to play in building that interconnected web of liberation, gifts that you and your congregation can bring, truths that your community and partners can share, and a faith that achieves its fullest potential and power when we come together to connect, create, act, and Side with Love. We need you – we all need each other – to build with us our new Side with Love Action Center so together we can build a bold, courageous, and liberated world.

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy

Congregational Justice Organizer

Meet Side With Love's new Congregational Justice Organizer!

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Join us for our virtual Action Center Launch event this Sunday

By: Side With Love

In the midst of devastating climate change, the appalling stripping away of voting and reproductive rights, the criminalization of migration, and the state sanctioned violence of policing - it can feel as though we are powerless to stop the tides of oppression. But nothing could be further from the truth. 

This Sunday is our Side With Love Action Center Launch, where we will come together as communities and as a faith and claim our collective power. We will learn from leaders of critical campaigns, and begin to mobilize within our own congregations and communities to make life-saving, liberation-cultivating change.


We are excited to have Aquene Freechild (Co-Director of Public Citizen’s “Democracy is for People” campaign), Rev. Tamara Lebak (Founder of the Restorative Justice Institute of Oklahoma), and Cherri Foytlin (Founder of the L’Eau Est La Vie Camp in Louisiana) sharing their wisdom and calls to communal action that will have an impact. And we will build our interdependent web of liberation within and between our congregations as we mobilize in intentional, relational, and sustainable ways.  

We know you wouldn’t be here with us if you did not believe another world is possible, and that we have the power to make it come to life. As we organize and activate our campaigns for Climate Justice, Decriminalization, LGBTQ+ & Gender Justice, and Democracy & Voting Rights, we need you to bring your faith in that liberated world, and your commitment to moving us towards it. 


Sunday’s Action Center Launch is a turning point, not just for Unitarian Universalists, but for our world. Today we face those tides of oppression together, knowing that we are rooted in something stronger, more powerful, and more true than their violence. Today, tomorrow, and every day after, we will build interconnected teams, take impactful action, and change the world with our collective love. 

Ranwa Hammamy.jpg

In faith, justice, and power,

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy

Congregational Justice Organizer

PS - There’s still time to invite others in your congregation to join your team and sign up for today’s launch! Send them the event sign up page so they can be a part of our movement!

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Ground, Grow, & Act Together: the Action Center has launched!

By: Side With Love

On Sunday, September 12th, hundreds of UU gathered for the launch of the new Side With Love Action Center: a place where we can ground, grow, and act together. As we move into this recovery, we cannot go back to normal. The Side With Love Action Center is a place to harness the power of our faith to contend with the systems of oppression that create multiple, intersecting crises. Our justice campaigns (Creating Climate Justice, UU the Vote, LGBTQ ministries and Love Resists) are joining together to skill up our commun ity, take action to advance our values, and build grassroots power to confront injustice on the national and local levels. 


At the launch, our speakers  Cherri Foylin (L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp), Aquene Freechild (Public Citizen), and Rev. Tamara Lebak (Restorative Justice Institute of Oklahoma), joined us to talk about how interlocking systems of oppression are impacting our communities and invited us into the work of building beloved community. 

We know our battles and our lives are bound together. Let’s mobilize our folx across our justice campaigns to show up at this critical moment. With so much at stake, now is the time to build moral courage and stronger organizing capacity to win for our communities. 

In case you missed it!  

How to get started!

  1. Watch the Action Center launch video individually or with our congregation

  2. Download and review the Launch Guide

  3. Join us for the following Action Center events:

    1. Join us for the the first Action Center action and political education event: From #NoDAPL to #StopLine3: Water Protectors, Movement Building, and Solidarity Tuesday, September 14, 2021 8:00 PM -  9:30 PM ET

    2. Come to the Volunteer Squad Activation Huddle: Sunday, September 26, 2021 4:00 PM -  5:30 PM ET

    3. Join the Community of Praxis Gathering: Monday, October 25, 2021 7:00 PM -  8:30 PM ET

    4. Join the next Skill Up: Sunday, October 17, 2021 4:00 PM -  5:30 PM ET

  4. Organize your congregation to host an Action Center event

  5. Tell your story and report your work with the Story & Report Form  

Actions and Political Education for your Teams!

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UU the Vote: Democracy & Voting Rights

Political Education 



Create Climate Justice

Political Education 


  • Stop the Money Pipeline to divest from Fossil Fuels 
    Support folx impacted by Hurricane Ida

  • Members of the Congressional ‘Squad’ – including Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Cori Bush – have joined together to call on President Biden to stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline. This action has elevated our call to stop Line 3. Now we need to continue this momentum and build more pressure on President Biden to act. Here are two ways you can help right now:

  1. Call the White House: Demand that Biden’s Administration revoke the Line 3 permit immediately. Click here for a sample script and the number to call.


Love Resists: criminalization, deportation, and detention


BREAKING NEWS! On Monday the Oklahoma Board of Pardons voted to make a recommendation to Governor Stitt to commute the death sentence of Julius Jones. A huge Justice for Julius interfaith and community rally was held after our Action Launch (Sunday, Sept. 12th) at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Very soon there will be next steps and action to urge Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt to listen to the recommendation of the Oklahoma Parole Board. Please check www.justiceforjulius.com/events which will be updated soon for how to take action on the Governor.

Oklahoma is ground zero for the restorative justice movement, see https://www.restorativejusticeok.org/ for resources, training, and ways to connect. 

Ground, Grow, & Act Together: the Action Center has launched!

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Opportunities to be in Solidarity with Water Protectors

By: Side With Love

On September 14, we hosted “From #NoDAPL to #StopLine3: Water Protectors, Movement Building and Solidarity,” featuring a conversation with Michael “Rattler” Markus and the Rev. Karen Van Fossan.

water protector solidarity webinar graphic.png

We heard compelling testimony from both of our guests about the powerful organizing of the Water Protectors, the through-lines of movement organizing across time and space, the role of multinational corporations in violating treaty rights, and the impacts of our government’s ongoing criminalization of protest, free speech, and actions of conscience. We are so grateful for their wisdom and leadership.

Building on the energy and inspiration of last night’s storytelling, Side With Love invites you to use last night’s conversation as an on-ramp into the cycle of learning, growth, and action as part of our wide network of faithful organizers and activists.





At the request of Michael “Rattler” Markus and the other #NoDAPL political prisoners, those of us on the call last night committed to a practice of writing letters to President Biden, urging him to pardon the five #NoDAPL political prisoners. Here is your step by step guide for honoring this request for solidarity:

Type or neatly hand write your own letter using dark ink on 8 ½ x 11” white paper. Letters should be addressed to:

President Joseph R. Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave

Washington, D.C. 20500

Include the following points in your letter:

1) YOUR CONNECTION TO THE ISSUE: What motivates you to write about this issue? Situate yourself with context, such as:

I’m a person of faith who believes we are called to protect the earth as a sacred gift…

I’m a climate activist who has been personally involved in the pipeline struggles…

I’m an American citizen who is deeply concerned about the anti-democratic trend toward criminalizing the exercise of free speech through protest...


Red Fawn Fallis/Janis

Michael “Little Feather” Giron

Michael “Rattler” Markus

Dion Ortiz

James White


  • Our Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and assembly, and criminalizing protest is a threat to democracy. Water Protectors should have never been arrested, charged with federal crimes, or incarcerated.

  • Our Constitution is supposed to honor treaties with sovereign Indigenous nations, and the Dakota Access Pipeline--like Line 3, Keystone XL, and all pipelines--is a violation of treaty law that Indigenous people have every right to resist.

  • Our climate is in crisis, and the Water Protector movement is morally just. President Biden has committed to combating climate change, and should honor the Water Protectors’ leadership by pardoning these five political prisoners who were wrongly convicted for their witness.

4) Now organize your congregation or community!

  • Reach out to 10 of your friends, share these resources with them, and invite them to join you on zoom or in person (where safe) for a letter-writing party.

  • Recruit your congregation’s climate justice, racial justice, or social justice team to sponsor a letter writing party after services on Sunday, or at another time.


As we heard last night, the #NoDAPL political prisoners continue to experience the financial impacts of their trials and incarceration. Part of our ongoing commitment to solidarity is “leveraging our spiritual, financial, human, and infrastructural resources in support of Water Protectors, especially those who face ongoing charges and prison sentences, and their loved ones.” In that spirit, we ask you to make a donation to the UU Ministry for Earth’s #NoDAPL Political Prisoner Support fund, which will direct all contributions directly to the Water Protectors.

We’re so grateful to be in the struggle with all of you at the intersection of our shared work for climate justice, democracy, and decriminalization.

In faith and solidarity,

The Rev. Ashley Horan

Organizing Strategy Director

Side With Love - UUA

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

The People Need the Freedom to Vote

By: Side With Love

After incredible organizing and mobilization of voters for the 2020 election cycle, we caught a glimpse of what real democracy looks like. We not only witnessed the power of the people, we collectively claimed it. Next week the Freedom to Vote Act will be coming up for a vote in the Senate, to help us keep power in the people’s hands. 


All around the country, there have been attempts - some successful - to restrict the freedom to vote for millions of Americans. These efforts to restrict voting rights strategically harm communities of color, young voters, disabled voters, and new citizens. The freedom to vote has never been fully realized in this country, and despite that we have organized for significant changes and wins. But we cannot stop there. Take action to support the Freedom to Vote Act today!

The Freedom to Vote Act is a bold and necessary move towards real democracy. It includes provisions that would expand equitable access to voter registration across the country, such as requiring automatic voter registration systems through state DMVs, access to online voter registration, and same-day voter registration at all polling locations by 2024. 

Voting itself would become more accessible, with the requirement of at least 15 consecutive days of early in-person voting, no-excuse mail voting for all voters in federal elections, accessible drop boxes, an easy way to cure deficient ballots, and the inclusion of all provisional ballots for eligible races in a county

And the Freedom to Vote Act includes protections that prevent future efforts to restrict voters’ rights. It bans partisan gerrymandering and redistricting, reduces the influence of corporations or wealthy donors through increased disclosure requirements, and protects election officials from intimidation or undue influence by partisan poll watchers.  

Friends, the Freedom to Vote Act is a reflection of our commitment to justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, particularly as it relates to governance and our responsibility to care for one another. And because of its promotion of real democracy, there are efforts in the Senate to block or defeat it. We cannot let the collective power of the people be denied. That’s why the timing for reaching out to our Senators now is so key. UUs are continuing to come together with organizers around the country to take strategic action to protect the freedom to vote, and we need you to:

Join a Meeting with Your Senator

UUs for Social Justice (UUSJ) in DC will be holding direct federal advocacy meetings with Senate staff on Voting Rights (both Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act) from the following states: Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin. We need your help & will train and orient you! If you want to participate please fill out this form. If you are from Alabama, Alaska, or Arizona please email anna@uusj.org.

Phonebank to Voters in Arizona & West Virginia

Join Common Cause for one (or more!) of its daily phonebanks to voters in Arizona and West Virginia to advocate for the Freedom to Vote Act and an end to the filibuster that is preventing the passage of liberatory legislation. 

Get Ready, Stay Ready!

We’re here to bend the arc for as long as it takes, and that means staying connected and supported. Stay tuned for an upcoming Pop-Up virtual event following the Senate’s vote on the Freedom to Vote Act next week, so we can sustain our spirits in the movement and plan our next actions!

We know that the moral arc of the universe is long, and that it bends towards justice. But it needs our hands, hearts, and faith to do so. You can take strategic action to promote and protect voting rights today, by showing your support for the Freedom to Vote Act as part of the long-haul movement towards real democracy

Ranwa Hammamy.jpg

In faith and justice,

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy

Congregational Justice Organizer, Side With Love

The People Need the Freedom to Vote

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

How do we build hope? Social Witness Convenings on Oct 6 and 13

By: Side With Love
CSW Social Witness convening.png

Paulo Freire wrote that “to do without hope, in the struggle to improve the world, is a frivolous illusion.”

How do we build hope? When we share our stories, move together for justice, and side with love we build hope! We know this and yet as co-chairs of the Commission on Social Witness, Alison and I have learned that hope is in short supply.

Folx are overwhelmed, and it’s no wonder! The sheer scale of challenges we face in our personal lives coping with the pandemic, and in our hurting world, is unprecedented.

Attacks on the transgender and gender nonconforming community, erosion of our basic right to vote, environmental crises leveling poor and POCI communities, and a global pandemic devastating folx who are already laboring in harsh conditions and lacking basic healthcare. We are all in need of some potent hope!

That is why Alison and I have created two hope-filled evenings - UU Social Witness Convenings on Oct. 6 & 13 - to gather together and side with love. We have invited 20+ speakers who are doing amazing work with inspiring organizations (including TRUUsT, BLUU, DRUUMM, ARE, UUJEC, UUSJ, State Action Networks in AZ and NC, the UUA Administration and Side with Love Organizing Strategy Team staff, and more) to come together, share stories of justice, and fill our hearts and minds with tangible ways to get our hope going! 

We are enthusiastically inviting you to join us for two gatherings to make connections, get inspired, and start building more justice and more hope in our world. Let’s gather, inspire, and launch social witness action! The two events will focus on four critical social justice statements. We affirmed and adopted these statements at General Assembly 2021, now let’s act on them!

  • “Undoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action"

  • “Defend and Advocate with Transgender, Nonbinary, and Intersex Communities”

  • “Stop Voter Suppression and Partner for Voting Rights and a Multiracial Democracy” 

  • “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Justice. Healing. Courage.” 

Check out the complete list of fabulous speakers and details.

Sign up for one or both events:

All UUs are invited--no prior experience or knowledge is necessary! The meeting will take place via Zoom. Zoom accessibility features are outlined here at this link

Alison and I cannot wait to gather with other UUs, bear witness to what each of our guests is doing, and share ways everyone can get involved in making justice a reality, no matter what our resources or bandwidth might be. We UUs are called to bring forth the beloved community as much as we can in this life. Let’s keep hope and justice going!

Blessings of Hope and Resilience,

Pippin Whitaker & Alison Aguilar Lopez Gutierrez McLeod

Co-Chairs, UUA Commission on Social Witness

How do we build hope? Social Witness Convenings on Oct 6 and 13

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

We’ll get there, we know we will

By: Side With Love

Some days, it’s not about the “victories.” In our commitment to Side With Love and co-create a world where all thrive, some days are about the steadfast action we take knowing that there isn’t a sure “victory” coming. This is true for all of our moments. We continue to learn, build skills, and cultivate relationships to build power to win for our communities. 

Right now so much is at stake and so many of our communities suffer under the violence of white supremacy and capitalism. Whether you’re organizing for a multi-racial democracy, to stop pipelines and build a fossil free future, to stop deportations, or win reproductive and gender justice, this moment feels rough. While we can never promise victory, we can promise that no movement has been successful without the sustained actions and collective support of the community. 

Join us for one of our regular organizing opportunities at the Side With Love Action Center.


Today, everyday, we harness love’s power for liberation. Sustaining ourselves for the long-term movement means resourcing ourselves to make it through the moments when “the road will be muddy and rough.” Building our networks, capacity, and resilience means taking intentional and strategic action that at first glance may not appear to be moving us forward. But a closer look at those moments when there may not appear to be “victories” in political arenas reveals a different kind of victory - one of our persevering faith. 

We have been working with broad coalitions to get care and safety for our communities, renewable energy policies, a path to citizenship, and democracy reform through the Build Back Better and Freedom to Vote Acts currently stalled in Congress. It’s been a very hard few weeks as we witness the lack of accountability to the impacted people who should be at the center of shaping these policies. Instead we see migrants left out, indigenous sovereignty ignored, and moves for more cuts in funding to economic justice and safety programs, while billions of subsidies to fossil fuel companies and false climate solutions in the legislation are ignored and pipeline projects move forward. 

We need massive investments in climate, care, and justice to transform our economy and our world. We need to build multiracial democracy and secure access to the ballot for millions of people who face restrictions and obstacles to casting their vote. And so, we continue mobilizing and building powerful people’s movements that follow Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and impacted communities who have clear pathways for how we build back better for all. We will get there.

That’s why we began the start of this congregational year with the launch of our Side with Love Action Center. We know it is going to take all of us, finding our roles, taking the next step, learning and coming together in one hub -- UUs and our partners - for collective action and community support. You can also join our Side with Love Squads and meet up on our Slack channel.

This is a time to speak truth to power and fight together for our values and our people. As our UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray says -- This is no time for a casual faith!

Find one or more actions you can take here at the Action Center and invite others to join you.

October Actions:

  • Oct 2: Women’s March for Abortion Justice. Find one near you.

  • Oct. 6 & 13: Social Witness Convenings on Actions of Immediate Witness for defending transgender communities, protecting voting rights, just recovery from the pandemic, and Statement of Conscience on undoing systemic white supremacy.

  • Oct.11-15: People vs. Fossil Fuels Week of Action. Join the multi-faith delegation

  • Oct. 17-18: #Faiths4ClimateJustice Global Multifaith Action, two weeks before the global climate negotiations to make our demands clear. Find actions near you.  

  • Petition for the People’s Response Act that redefines public safety as public health and funds community-based approaches.

Let’s continue to call Congress and tell them to pass the Build Back Better Act--with no cuts and a path to citizenship, the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Together, we can build faithful power to win all we can for our communities and get ready to UU the Vote for the 2022 electoral season. 

Change will not come by advancing timid, weak policies. Liberation will not come by maintaining the status quo. Winning will take bold imagining, time and effort, care and investment, and organizing. It will take faith.

In solidarity,

UUA Side with Love Organizing Strategy Team

Rev. Ashley Horan, Organizing Strategy Director

Nicole Pressley, Field and Programs Director

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, Congregational Justice Organizer

Susan Leslie, Coalitions & Partnerships Organizer

Audra Friend, Digital Communications, Data & Technology Specialist

Rev. Michael Crumpler, LGBTQ & Multicultural Programs Director

Adrian Ballou, LGBTQ & Multicultural Programs Intern

Rev. Cathy Rion Starr, Side with Love Squad Coordinator

Aly Tharp, UU Ministry for Earth Programs Director

We’ll get there, we know we will

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Join us in honoring Indigenous People’s Day and activating our faith

By: Side With Love

In 2020, the General Assembly passed an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW), “Address 400 Years of White Supremacist Colonialism”, calling on UUs to knit together our commitment to justice with our need for reconciliation. As we approach Indigenous People’s Day on October 11th, we consider the actions and transformation that must happen to fulfil the promise and the call of that AIW.

One of the UUA’s four intersectional justice priorities is climate justice, with a specific focus on mobilizing in solidarity with Indigenous frontline communities. Our commitment from renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery, to supporting the Standing Rock water protectors, to the ongoing resistance to extractive projects like Line 3 that are violating Indigenous sovereignty across Turtle Island, gives us the grounding to accountably join this struggle.

The ravages we have seen in just these past few months from fire, floods, drought, and oil spills and the disrespect of and state-sanctioned violence against sovereign Indigenous communities demand that we act. Join us in honoring Indigenous People’s Day and activating our faith by answering the call for action on Indigenous sovereignty and climate justice. 

Here are 3 ways your groups can take action.

Use the Action Center Guide for tips on how to organize and add your events to the Side With Love calendar

Side with

Amplify the voices of Indigenous peoples in the struggle for sovereignty and climate justice. Host a viewing and discussion of The Condor & The Eagle, a powerful and award-winning documentary that offers a glimpse into a developing spiritual renaissance as the film's protagonists learn from each other’s long legacy of resistance to colonialism and its extractive economy.

Executive producer, UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE), has made this film available for viewing anytime between October 11 through November 30th. Click here for details.

Multiply your impact by joining the UUA, UUMFE and Green Faith for Faiths 4 Climate Justice: A Global Multi-religious Action on October 17 and 18.

Side With Love and partners will be hosting a virtual, national “UUs 4 Climate Justice” action on October 18th at 7pm ET / 4pm PT, as a part of this global mobilization, calling for President Biden to issue pardons for the five #NoDAPL political prisoners and to Build Back Fossil Fuel Free. 

Ground your work by hosting or joining a local action (check out the map to see what’s already in motion). Partnership and community accountability is how we build a strong movement. Activate your team or congregation to show up in your communities for climate justice on October 18. Remember to Add Your Event to the Action Center Calendar, in addition to the GreenFaith map (linked above)!

UU Leaders Take Direct Action This Week to Create Climate Justice 

UU leaders across the country, including the UUA’s Susan Leslie, are also answering the call to Create Climate Justice by joining the People vs. Fossil Fuels Week of Action Multi-Faith Delegation in Washington, D.C, today through Oct. 15th. We join UUMFE and GreenFaith as co-sponsors of this event, where UUs will join other people of faith and conscience in civil disobedience, demanding the Biden administration use their executive power to stop and revoke all approvals for new fossil fuel projects and declare and address a climate emergency and launch a just, renewable energy revolution. 

These actions come just as Congress is wrangling with the Build Back Better reconciliation legislation and before the November UN Climate Change Conference COP26 and will push our elected officials to end the era of fossil fuels and climate catastrophe. Beginning on Indigenous People’s Day, each day's civil disobedience action will highlight what is driving the climate crisis and what we need to do to build a fossil free economy. Indigenous Environmental Network will be livestreaming and promoting ways to support from afar throughout the week. 

Thank you for mobilizing to create Climate Justice in solidarity with Indigenous frontline leaders, this Indigenous Peoples Day and beyond.

In faith and solidarity,

Your Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team

P.S. Get support, share stories and build a community of practice! 

Join our first monthly Community Meeting on October 25, 7-8:30pm EST/4-5:30pm PT to share how your actions went, connect with other UU organizers and faith leaders doing similar work, and learn more about our Side With Love campaigns and how you can get involved. 

Sign up today!

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Will you Side with Love for climate justice?

By: Side With Love

I’ve just returned home from the People vs. Fossil Fuels Week of Action in Washington, D.C., deeply inspired by the bold direct actions taken by Indigenous leaders, multifaith clergy and lay leaders (including 40 UUs), youth, and hundreds of people who are putting everything on the line for climate justice. We engaged in civil disobedience and witness at the White House, at the Army Corps of Engineers, at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of the Interior, and Congress.  Now, we need to keep up the pressure and build our power as Congress works to pass the Build Back Better legislation and the US sends representatives to the UN COP26 Conference on Climate Change next month. 


This coming Sunday and Monday, Oct. 17-18, Unitarian Universalists are joining the global Faiths 4 Climate Justice mobilization hosted by GreenFaith and co-sponsored by the UUA, UU Ministry for Earth and many other faith partners.

Take Action With US

  1. See if there is a local event you can participate in: check out the action map

  2. Join Side With Love’s virtual, national action rally “UUs 4 Climate Justice” on October 18th at 7pm ET / 6 CT / 5 MT / 4pm PT
    Join this online #Faiths4ClimateJustice offering for any UUs with no local or online action accessible to them. UUs around the country will gather to celebrate today's actions around the world, witness, and take action ourselves. Featuring Rev. Amy Brooks Paradise of GreenFaith, Rev. Ranwa Hammamy of Side with Love, and more. RSVP for this national climate action!

  3. Amplify the voices of Indigenous peoples in the struggle for sovereignty and climate justice. Between now and November 30th, host a community viewing and discussion of The Condor & The Eagle, a powerful and award-winning documentary that offers a glimpse into a developing spiritual renaissance as the film's protagonists learn from each other’s long legacy of resistance to colonialism and its extractive economy. Click here for details.

It’s incredibly important to put pressure on President Biden right now, as we approach the COP 26 UN climate talks. Together, we can Side With Love and Create Climate Justice by showing up for this movement moment in solidarity with frontline leaders who have spent the past week risking arrest in Washington, D.C. to call on President Biden to reject false solutions and commit to a rapid and just transition away from an extractive economy. Will you Side with Love for climate justice?


In faith and solidarity, 

Aly Tharp,

UU Ministry for Earth Co-Director of Programs


Partnerships and  the Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team

Will you Side with Love for climate justice?

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

BREAKING: Senate Blocks the Freedom to Vote Act! Join us tomorrow!

By: Side With Love

We know that undemocratic processes lead to undemocratic outcomes. Over 70% of Americans support the Freedom to Vote Act. For decades, the will of the people has been denied due to the fundamental inequities in our institutions. Today, Senate Republicans blocked the Freedom to Vote Act, refusing to even open the floor for debate. This legislation is essential to realizing the promise of our democracy. It will create national standards for how elections are run, protect and expand the right to vote, and end partisan and racialized gerrymandering. It will create a campaign finance system that ensures that elected officials are accountable to the voters who elected them. It will bring down barriers preventing millions of people from accessing their right to vote, by mandating automatic, on-line and same day registration, expanded vote by mail, curbside ballot drop-offs and more.

We will not let the Freedom to Vote be denied!

Last year, we joined a broad coalition of organizers, activists and communities to produce the largest voter turnout in history. Today, we are still in the fight for a democracy where all voices are heard. Democracy is a sacred principle because it is how we commit to one another in an accountable relationship. As UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray reminds us, 

“We know that voting rights alone will not dismantle white supremacy and create equity for all, but they are crucial to building a democratic society in which true justice is possible. We honor all those ancestors who have fought for human dignity, democracy, and justice before us, and remain committed to the shared work of (re)building a free, equitable, robust democracy in the United States.”

Yet fifty US Senators don’t even want to talk about voting rights! We cannot let the Senate block democracy and everything else we have been working for to get justice. Our faith movement has long upheld the sacred right to vote and witnessed for justice and democracy as core principles of our tradition. Today’s vote is just a first move in the current struggle for voting rights. We are coming together with a huge coalition to get this legislation passed.

Join Our Side with Love Freedom to Vote Pop Up for Democracy Virtual Rally on Thursday, October 21st, 7 pm ET/4 pm PT

Let’s come together to connect our communities, sustain our spirits, and take collective, faithful action.

Join the Side with Love Organizing Strategy Team, UUs for Social Justice, and our UU the Vote partners in this crucial moment. 

  • Elizabeth Hira, Spritzer Fellow & Policy Counsel for Democracy Program of Brennan Center for Justice

  • Jennifer Lamson, Senior Advisor for Federal Campaigns & National Initiatives, Democracy Initiative

  • Pablo DeJesus, Executive Director, UUs for Social Justice and Faithful Democracy Coalition

  • Ann Maxwell, All Souls Unitarian Washington, DC James Reeb Voting Rights Project, and biking in the West Virginia to Washington, DC Freedom to Vote Relay happening now!

  • Nicole Pressley, Side with Love Organizing Strategy Team (OST) Field and Program Director (formerly UU the Vote Campaign Director) and other OST members.

We will be taking action together at the rally, calling the White House to tell President Biden to use his full power to ensure the passage of federal voting rights legislation.

This is an historic opportunity and we will get the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the DC Statehood bills passed! We can reverse decades of rising abuse of the Senate rules, especially the filibuster, a Jim Crow relic which has been used in service to white supremacy and corporate and wealthy interests, stopping us from creating humane and just policies for our people. 

The filibuster is being used to protect the dangerous status quo we are living in and to stop the big bold policy changes we need for our communities, from climate and worker justice to health care and child care, to a path to citizenship for our migrant siblings, and investment in BIPOC community safety. Jim Crow era Senate rules are preventing us from building a multi-racial democracy.

Enough is enough! We all worked hard in 2020 to change the power dynamics in our nation to win justice for our communities. The majority was elected to govern, and we must ensure it does so with bold action. The days of allowing the filibuster to delay justice are over, and the fight for filibuster reform is on. Joining this effort is how we can faithfully serve and practice our values to Side with Love now.

Time is of the essence. Our communities are still reeling from the pandemic, climate catastrophes, and systemic inequality. With the 2022 election cycle coming, state legislators have been pushing through voter suppression laws across the country and reinforcing gerrymandered districts. With states across the country attacking our freedom to vote, we need national standards to ensure that we all have equitable access to the ballot.

Join us on Thursday, Oct. 21st,  at 4 pm PT/7 pm ET and encourage others from your congregation, your networks, and community to attend. Join on Zoom or watch the livestream on Facebook.

Love will guide us through the hard night. Love will guide us in this fight. We can change the world with our love. 

In faith and solidarity,

The Side with Love Organizing Strategy Team

BREAKING: Senate Blocks the Freedom to Vote Act! Join us tomorrow!

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

We’ve reached 58% of the Senate - let’s make it 100%

By: Side With Love

Wow -- last night’s Pop Up for Democracy Rally was an amazing event! 

As of this morning, UUs have reached 29 of our 50 US Senators, telling them to pass the Freedom to Vote Act -- that’s 58% of the Senate!

Our efforts are working and we need to keep the pressure on.  In fact, today, the New York Times reported that President Biden is "open to ending the filibuster." 

So, before we do anything else, let’s make sure EVERY Senator hears from us by November 1st - share this link — bit.ly/CallSenate1021and ask everyone you know to take two-minutes to call their Senators!  

We’re grateful you took the time to join us last night and that you made a call -- thank you!

The rest of this includes all the materials from last night’s Pop Up for Democracy Rally, including all the mentioned links, campaigns, events, and other asks. There are so many ways to engage in the vital and crucial work of protecting our democracy and electoral rights, so find the one that works for you!

Amplify the central message of last night’s event: Save the Freedom to Vote Act and end the filibuster:

  • Video of the event

  • PDF of the slide presentation

  • Full video of presentation from Elizabeth Hira, Brennan Center for Justice on why the Freedom to Vote legislation is transformational beyond voting rights (16.5 minutes, we showed 10 mins. last night)

Multiply the impact by inviting more people to join you!

Ground your work by engaging locally in your community and in partnership:

  • Save the Date: Nov Week of Action: The broad coalition that the UUA is part of, Declaration for American Democracy, will soon be unveiling Freedom to Vote - Time to Act Week of Action during the November Congressional Recess that begins on November 11th. There will soon be a website, toolkit to host an action, and a map of actions available soon. Can you pledge to host a November Distributed Action?     

  • How to prepare: Join the October 25 Community of Praxis Meeting to prepare your own November Action!  

Here are the other crucial links from last night:

  • Send a Letter to Your Senator Urging Filibuster Reform  

  • Send a personalized message to your Senator urging them to support the Freedom to Vote Act & John Lewis Voting Rights Act here.  

  • Constituents needed for meetings with Republican Senators from AK, AL, LA, ME OH, PA.   

  • Are you in West Virginia? 

    • Join the Mass Moral Revival and Rally, October 24th at 4pm, featuring Rev. Dr. William Barber and the Poor People's Campaign along with other West Virginia faith leaders, poor and low-wealth West Virginians, and other coalition partners to call on Sen. Manchin to do better.

  • In the DC area? Join other UUs who will be at the following Freedom to Vote Relay events! 

  • From Arizona? Learn about more upcoming actions to pressure Sen. Sinema and build our power at UUJAZ (UU Justice Arizona) Issues & Action Day tomorrow, Saturday, October 23rd.

  • Are you connected with your UU State Action Network? Many of them are working on redistricting and fair maps to counter gerrymandering and other voter suppression efforts.  Check out the Coalition of UU State Action Networks (CUUSAN) to see if there’s one for your state: https://cuusan.org/   

  • From the Fix or Nix the Filibuster Campaign, a Filibuster Reform Toolkit.  

Being with you in this work is so meaningful and we’re grateful to be doing it together. 

In faith and solidarity,

Audra Friend

Side With Love Digital Communications, Technology, and Data Specialist

on behalf of the entire Side With Love team

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

We're saying 'No' to limits on reproductive rights.

By: Side With Love

Right now, abortion is effectively illegal in the state of Texas as SB 8 remains in effect.  Millions of people cannot access critical, often life-saving reproductive health care.  Medical providers are living in fear of being sued for treating their patients.  And private citizens have been deputized as vigilantes, receiving bounties for bringing lawsuits against anyone who “aids or abets” the provision of abortion services to anyone after 5-6 weeks of gestation. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused to block this dangerous and unconstitutional law as the legal challenges to it play out. Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments to consider two cases: in the first, brought by the Department of Justice  the court will consider whether the federal government has the right to sue in federal court to block the law’s enforcement in Texas. The second challenge, brought by a coalition of providers, including Planned Parenthood, will assess the law’s unusual private-enforcement structure, which deputizes private individuals to bring lawsuits against doctors, clinics, or anyone else who facilitates access to abortion. 

As Unitarian Universalists, we embrace the reproductive justice framework, which espouses the human right to have children, not to have children, to parent the children one has in healthy environments, and to safeguard bodily autonomy and to express one's sexuality freely. Rooted in these values, we unequivocally declare that SB 8, and any law that attempts to criminalize reproductive freedom—including abortion care—is morally wrong.

As we await the Court’s final decisions, our hearts and minds are with all who want and need access to abortion on all who desire bodily autonomy and seek to live whole lives free of state interference; and on all who yearn to live in a society free of vigilante justice. 

And, in addition to our thoughts and prayers, our faith calls us to actively and courageously resist such injustice. Here are some ways you and your congregation can take action today:

  • Join people of faith around the country to learn and strategize. Sign up to attend the SACReD Gathering: Faith Communities Reclaiming Reproductive Dignity and Autonomy, January 25-26, 2022. This event will be a first-of-its-kind virtual gathering of justice-oriented people of faith, activists, and leaders from the reproductive health, rights, and justice community. “Grounded in our shared values of justice, dignity, human rights, compassion, and expansive love, we will discover how faith and reproductive liberation are interdependent through keynotes, panel discussions, and breakout sessions.” 

  • Host a Reproductive Justice Sunday in January, 2022. In commemoration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the ongoing fight for reproductive health, rights, and justice, join UU congregations across the country for a Sunday of solidarity, support, and reflection. We will be providing worship resources (readings, videos, liturgical frameworks) and suggestions for planning your own service in the coming weeks. If you would like to receive more information, sign up here: https://bit.ly/ReproJusticeSunday2022 

May we all commit to fighting for justice and supporting all who are oppressed by laws that jeopardize reproductive freedom. 

In faith and solidarity,

Rev. Ashley Horan

Organizing Strategy Director

on behalf of the Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team

☐ ☆ ✇ Side With Love

Every choice we make at the polls can change the course of history.

By: Side With Love

Today is Election Day - another chance for us to live into our deep beliefs about the power of the democratic process to create a world in which all people are free and thriving. 
Voting is a collective act of discernment and imagination. When we cast our ballots for candidates that reflect our values and laws and ordinances that move us closer to the world we want to live in, we are taking sacred action together. So please--if you have the ability to vote, make sure you get to the polls today. (And if you don’t know how to find your polling place, click here.) 
As both early voting and today’s ballots are counted in municipal and state elections around the country, our communities will be directly shaping the future of our country. In Minneapolis, voters will be making historic decisions about public safety and policing. In this year’s only gubernatorial races, Virginia and New Jersey are being seen as bellwethers for national political trends. Voters in Atlanta will choose a mayor who will address a crisis in affordable housing and gentrification. Abortion access, immigration enforcement, protections for trans people, permits for extractive energy infrastructure like oil pipelines--all of these issues are decided and enforced on local and statewide levels. Even in a year without national races, the choices we make at the polls can change the course of history. 
Unsurprisingly, there are many powerful interests who fear the collective power of the people. This is our first election since the January 6 insurrection, following months of disinformation seeking to overturn the results of the most secure, legitimate election in American history. Between January and September, 19 states enacted laws creating new barriers to voting or eroding the power of voters, many of which clearly target Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. And tomorrow, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will be brought to the Senate floor for debate, where it will almost certainly again be filibustered and blocked from moving forward.
Now is the time to act to protect our democracy. Here’s what you can do: 
Join Side with Love and the Declaration for American Democracy coalition in distributed actions during the Nov. 8-13 Senate recess, demanding that our Senators pass the Freedom to Vote and John Lewis Voting Rights Acts, and address the stranglehold the filibuster currently has over our democratic process. To host or join an event, go to the Side With Love Action Center, where our Democracy & Voting Rights section has a Host Action Guide, a map of actions, and instructions for getting your action on the map.
Our faith reminds us that it is our shared responsibility to fight for each other until all of our communities are free and thriving. We believe in the power of the democratic process to shape that world, and we recommit ourselves to that sacred work on this Election Day --and as we head into the 2022 electoral season -- more and more powerful together.
In faith and solidarity, 

Field & Programs Director, Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

Have an Idea for CERSI 2022 Workshops?

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo
Do you have a creative idea for ways that the community can play, explore, or learn together? We want to see your proposals for morning seminars and afternoon workshops!

Continue reading "Have an Idea for CERSI 2022 Workshops?"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

Letting the Questions Float By

By: Diane Dassow
Seen from behind, a person walks along a low-tide beach. Kelp covered rocks in foreground. Gentle surf and ocean waves in distance.

Diane Dassow

I am learning to give up needing to know the answers, and instead live with the questions.

Continue reading "Letting the Questions Float By"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

UU Pittsburgh Assembly to Explore the 8th Principle

By: Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe
Image is a bridge with a chalice above it

Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe

On November 6th, UUs of Greater Pittsburgh- a membership organization of 12 congregations- will gather to discuss the 8th Principle and what it can mean for our congregations. The keynote will be one of the co-authors of the 8th Principle, Paula Cole Jones. This online Assembly is open to all.

Continue reading "UU Pittsburgh Assembly to Explore the 8th Principle"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

A Thousand Voices

By: Tania Márquez
The stub of a lit taper candle burns brightly on a bed of cempasúchil, or Mexican marigolds.

Tania Márquez

The dead aren’t really dead; their stories are perpetually being told by the world around us.

Continue reading "A Thousand Voices"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

Guidance for Outdoor Gatherings During COVID-19

Benches in a grove of trees
These recommendations were updated by our Safer Congregations Team on June 8, 2021 in response to questions from congregations. Please use them in conjunction with our full UUA guidance for gathering during COVID-19. Data show that the risks of transmission of COVID-19 are lower in outdoor...

Continue reading "Guidance for Outdoor Gatherings During COVID-19"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

Opportunities for Connection ~ November 2021

By: Central East Region of the UUA
A book titled "Defund Fear" by Zach Norris is held in the hands of someone whose hands are light brown; only their torso is showing.

Central East Region of the UUA

Find out what's happening in the Central East Region! This month - Common Read, COMPASS, 8th Principle Presentation, Jubilee 3, Open Enrollment, Fall Chalice Lighter Call, Screening The Condor & The Eagle and more.

Continue reading "Opportunities for Connection ~ November 2021"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

Permissions & Licensing

photo of skinner house books
permissions and licensing information for UUA publications and digital resources, including Skinner House and UUA books, Worship Web, Tapestry of Faith, UUWorld, and uua.org

Continue reading "Permissions & Licensing"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

The Emperor's Berries

By: Renee Ruchotzke
two red raspberries on a bush

Renee Ruchotzke

How might our expectations about year-round berries impact our expectations around our church’s programming? Sometimes we see consumer expectations show up in our faith communities when it comes to Sunday services, religious exploration, and so on.

Continue reading "The Emperor's Berries"

☐ ☆ ✇ UUA.org Updates

Not Lost, Just Different

By: Shaya French
A clear hourglass filled with blue sand rests on the page of a calendar

Shaya French

If this year is a "lost" year, then I am bound to live a lost life.

Continue reading "Not Lost, Just Different"

☐ ☆ ✇ Black Lives UU on Medium

What It Means to Be Rooted: Remembering Elandria Williams

By: Black Lives UU

Elandria Williams (she/they/E), a powerful organizer, a passionate Unitarian Universalist faith leader, and co-founder of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, joined the ancestors on Sept. 23, 2020. While we are still processing E’s transition, we wanted to share some reflections about Elandria to honor who they were to us.

The diverse groups of people from movement spaces and faith communities mourning E is a testament to the tenacity of E’s leadership and the depth of their spirit. Many people are still sharing memories of E using the hashtag #ElandriaTaughtUs. This is unsurprising because one couldn’t be in a room with Elandria without learning how to be a better human.

One video that folks have shared shows people gathered around E as they teach a call and response song:

Solid as a rock.

Rooted like a tree.

I am here.

Standing strong.

In my rightful place.”

In a world where so many systems and people aim to create disarray and disconnection, it is a deeply spiritual challenge to stay rooted. Yet, that’s exactly what Elandria did. They kept their organizing unapologetically rooted in their commitments to Black liberation and disability justice. They brought this same rootedness into their leadership within Unitarian Universalism, always saying hard things in love and never forgetting to center their work in Black freedom and Black joy.

“I worked with Elandria in the very beginning of forming BLUU,” said BLUU’s Executive Director Lena K. Gardner. “I didn’t know her very well before then. We had our disagreements, but I always felt her love and we always left things in a good place. She was never afraid to feel her feelings or express them, and was welcoming with a warmth I have rarely experienced in movement spaces. I have long admired the way she loves and moves ever since those early days and will miss her. I hope to honor her legacy by continuing to build and strengthen BLUU as an organization — and to always move in love and truth.”

The fabric of who Elandria was will remain in BLUU’s DNA forever. We are so grateful that Elandria taught us how to take up space and to do so with moral clarity. No one ever had to figure out what E’s values were because they spoke them boldly and then lived them fiercely.

“When BLUU was formed in 2015, what I remember Elandria saying over and over again was, ‘we have to say it plain,’” said BLUU co-founder and BLUU Advisory Team member Leslie Mac. “E offered that same advice to me so often in all the work we did together. I watched E, with the support of 1500 Black organizers, negotiate the immediate release of a young man from the custody of what seemed like a battalion of police officers in Cleveland, OH. I watched E navigate the misogynoir thrown at her as she led our UUA as Co-Moderator with ease and grace. I watched E pull me close and talk earnestly and effectively about the need for us to have a strong inside AND outside game. She would say, ‘Leslie I do not care what people think our relationship is like on the outside. We know the truth and that is enough.’ I take that lesson with me always. Elandria taught me that organizing is a journey and one that requires the application of so many different skills and tactics. E taught me above all else to love our people, speak truth to power, and care for yourself, even when it’s hard. In her absence I hear her voice singing to me: ‘Solid as a rock. Rooted like a tree. We are here. Standing strong… in our rightful place.’”

The BLUU Organizing Collective Board is committed to meaningfully and tangibly honoring Elandria’s legacy in the long term. This commitment requires discerning, deep listening and community partnership. E taught us to take care in our work, and to move only when we are collectively ready to move. We will share updates about this work as this promise takes more concrete shape.

Please consider donating to the GoFundMe that E’s community started for their niece and nephews. They were very active in their lives and helped support them financially. #ElandriaTaughtUs to take care of each other, and we ask that our community help support E’s family in that spirit.

☐ ☆ ✇ Black Lives UU on Medium

Reclaiming Resilience: An Election Message from BLUU

By: Black Lives UU

As Black people, we have endured immense loss in 2020. We want our community to know we’re in this with you and more resilient than ever.

Black people have survived generations of violent oppression. And yet, our responses to that violence are not what make us resilient. Gauging Black resilience by our response to violent whiteness is racist.

You’re not talking about Black resilience if you’re only talking about how Black people respond to trauma. On an episode of the La Cura podcast, somatics practitioner Prentis Hemphill says, “Resilience is not an acclimation to conditions but a commitment to life.”

That’s why our invitation to Black folks going into election day is to join us in reclaiming the meaning of Black resilience. One of our 7 Principles of Black Lives says spiritual growth is directly tied to our ability to embrace our whole selves. Today, we proclaim that Black Lives Matter separate from the dangers of whiteness that threaten them. We are resilient just because we exist. Living while Black is rigorous on its own terms.

When we talked about what we wanted to say to Black folks leading up to the election, we agreed that we’re tired of being told that we are resilient without that resilience being located outside of our trauma responses. And we guessed other Black folks might be feeling that way too.

We are resilient because our ancestors believed in our lives when there was no reason to even believe they’d survive. They dreamed us into existence. They prayed us into being. They organized for themselves so that we could carry the mantle. And they didn’t just believe we’d survive. They believed we could thrive.

We are resilient going into this election because we believe there will be Black people in the future, and their lives will be better than we could ever imagine.

We believe in centering community care and self-care after the election because a commitment to Black life demands that we rest and demands that we make sure we all have enough. We are more than our labor and productivity, and no one among us is disposable. We must commit to anti-capitalism and abolition like never before to ground ourselves in the imaginations of our ancestors and the futures of our descendants.

There is much work to do no matter who wins the election, and we will do that work together as we always have. With joy, with determination, and with each other. And with a belief in Black resilience.

BLUU creates and amplifies spaces and work that center Black life, and in doing so, we are performing a radical act. We will continue to support Black people by organizing for our liberation and worshipping in our wholeness. If you’re a Black person not connected with BLUU, this is a great week to get connected. Find out how to join us in the events below.

In faith, solidarity, and Black love,

The BLUU Organizing Collective Board

— — — —

BLUU Sacred Space for Black Folks During Election Week:

(These events are explicitly Black space. We invite folks who aren’t Black to share these connection opportunities with Black loved ones, colleagues, and congregants in solidarity with our work for Black liberation and healing.)

  • We Got Us- Tuesday, Nov. 3., 7–11 p.m. Eastern | 4–8 p.m. Pacific

Team Sankofa, BLUU’s community organizing team, is offering an opportunity for Black people to spend the evening in shared, virtual space. All Black folks who share our values of radical inclusivity are welcome. BLUU’s Election Night Gathering will include entertainment in the form of community-building games, offerings from our esteemed Elders, and an after-hours Lunch + Vibe discussion! (Registration required)

We are in a collective time of grieving and experiencing a considerable amount of loss. The Root Work- Navigating Troubled Waters Herbalism workshop session will focus on strengthening your relationship with your body to hold space for grief. Herbalist India Harris will guide us as we engage in somatic centering practices and discuss plant medicine for heart healing. (Registration required)

In one of the most consequential elections of our time, we may struggle to find the certainty and grounding to know what’s next. How do we move through a time of deep rupture, but also one of deep possibility? We are grateful to welcome Nicole Pressley, National Organizer for UU the Vote, who will be reflecting with us on our ancestors’ (and our own) ability to find purpose and claim victory in times of trouble. (Registration required)

Keep Organizing After the Election:

We will continue to share information from trusted sources about how you can support and organize for Black liberation after the election ends because the work continues. If you don’t know what to do after the election, we suggest connecting with The Frontline as a starting place. The Frontline is a new powerful campaign by The Movement for Black Lives, Working Families Party, and United We Dream. The Frontline will be leading work *after* the election.

About BLUU:

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism is committed to expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism; providing support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; and justice-making and liberation for Black people through our faith. Subscribe to our email list to learn more about our worship events, organizing opportunities, and youth ministry.

☐ ☆ ✇ Black Lives UU on Medium

Announcing the BLUU Housing Cooperative Initiative

By: Black Lives UU

At the end of this project, 32 Black and Indigenous families will be empowered as homeowners in Minneapolis, something that will fundamentally transform access to resources and wealth for generations.

This draft rendering shows a multi-family unit from BLUU’s Housing Initiative. The initiative will make 32 Black and Indigenous families homeowners in North Minneapolis.

St. Paul, Minnesota

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) is excited to announce The BLUU Northside Housing Cooperative Initiative, a BLUU initiative that embodies our commitment to improve the material conditions of Black lives as an act of our faith.

BLUU purchased eight vacant lots in North Minneapolis and will transform those lots into multi-unit housing that will create generational wealth for Black and Indigenous families in the area.

At the end of this project, 32 Black and Indigenous families will be empowered as homeowners.

BLUU believes in building power through connection. BLUU will help the homeowners form cooperative entities so each homeowner has connection with and support from their neighbors. BLUU will also support families who move into the units we build with resources and training related to finance, land ownership, and cooperative decision-making.

Creating truly affordable housing in North Minneapolis will have real impacts in a rapidly gentrifying area. By selling the developed units to a land trust entity, BLUU will ensure that the cost of the units stays truly affordable.

BLUU is accepting donations for the Housing Initiative. Every dollar helps support the creation of truly affordable housing for Black and Indigenous.

For more information about the housing initiative, visit BlackLivesUU.org.

About BLUU:

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism is committed to expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism; providing support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; and justice-making and liberation for Black people through our faith. Subscribe to our email list to learn more about our worship events, organizing opportunities, and youth ministry.

☐ ☆ ✇ Black Lives UU on Medium

BLUU Announces Departures from Organizing Board Collective

By: Black Lives UU

BLUU Announces Departures from Organizing Collective Board

St. Paul, Minnesota

Rev. Margalie Belizaire and Samuel Prince have transitioned off of Black Lives of Unitarian Univeralism’s (BLUU’s) Organizing Collective Board (OCB).

During her time on the board, Margalie assisted with BLUU’s administrative work. Samuel was the OCB’s liaison for the 360 Council, the BLUU elders advisory board.

“Cultivating our collective relationships in BLUU and doing the incredible work that we get to do is nothing short of remarkable,” says Rev. Mykal Slack, BLUU’s Community Minister, about being a member of the OCB. “And so we all feel it when someone transitions off the team.”

Margalie is currently serving as the Assistant Minister of Pastoral Care and Adult Spiritual Development at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester in New York. Samuel is an IT professional based in Ohio, who continues to be active in Unitarian Universalism. Both remain connected to BLUU as Beloveds.

The BLUU Organizing Collective Board of Directors is grateful for the years of service that both Margalie and Samuel dedicated to BLUU’s Ministry. We send them blessings and love in their respective lives and ministries.

About BLUU:

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism is committed to expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism; providing support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; and justice-making and liberation for Black people through our faith. Subscribe to our email list to learn more about our worship events, organizing opportunities, and youth ministry.

☐ ☆ ✇ Black Lives UU on Medium

The BLUU Organizing Collective Board Announces a Leadership Transition

By: Black Lives UU


Our commitment to decolonized and liberatory organizational leadership means putting relationships at the center of everything we do. As a leadership team, we care about each other’s struggles, celebrate each other’s successes, and genuinely want each other to win. Our work for BLUU is grounded both in our love for Black people and in the ways we’ve committed to show up for each other as leaders in this important ministry.

We are writing to share an announcement about a leadership transition within our Organizing Collective Board (OCB). We share this announcement after much collective conversation and discernment. While transitions are an inevitable part of any organization, we’re a small but mighty team, and we feel this so deeply.

We think it’s important that you learn more about this from the person making the transition. Below, you will find a letter from our Community Organizer Paige Ingram about her leadership transition.

We’ll share more about this transition at a later date, but for now, we want to honor Paige’s voice as she shares some changes on her horizon.

In love and faith,

The BLUU Organizing Collective Board

Hello my dear community,

I am thinking of all of us often as so many of us are taking stock of the last year and the impact it has had on us individually, our families, our congregations, and our broader Black community.

I wanted to share a personal life update with you all. I will be transitioning away from BLUU staff and the Organizing Collective board on March 14.

I became BLUU’s Community Organizer because I wanted to do everything I could to support our community to feel empowered, connected, and moved towards this new iteration of the Black liberation movement. I also needed support to understand my own organizing takeaways from the broader movement and uplift what I felt was missing in so many spaces: spiritual safety, ritual, long-term leadership development, and a true commitment to multi-generational organizing.

I wanted to share that I’m really grateful for all the ways you all have helped me do that — by digging into the hard questions and being willing to listen to our mistakes and our insights. Team Sankofa was a massive part of that learning. My leadership was transformed and it has been awe inspiring to see the massive transformation of the many beautiful humans who demonstrated what bottom up, leaderful communities are capable of. Aja, Atena, Mathew, QuianaDenae, and Whryne continue to demonstrate what relentless commitment to community and self really means.

In terms of what my transition means for the community, I am still most certainly a part of this community so I am not going too far away! I really wanted to highlight my gratitude for BLUU’s leadership as they support me in this process.

Feel free to reach out individually at the BLUU general email (BlackLivesofUU@gmail.com) if you have any questions! And you can always continue to reach out to me via social media.

“All that you touch you Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God Is Change.” — Octavia Butler

Onward in love,


☐ ☆ ✇ Black Lives UU on Medium

Thriving Instead of Surviving: Introducing BLUU’s Next Survey

By: Black Lives UU
A scene of mountains against a night sky. Text says: We Look forward to dreaming with you. Picture of BLUU logo.

Lately, many people are discussing what it means to “get back to normal.”

And we get it. For the past year, many of us have been in survival mode. We’ve navigated immense fatigue, worry, and stress.

We also know that a hyperfocus on returning back to normal ignores that what was normal before the pandemic was still difficult for so many, including Black communities.

As Black people, we know seeking liberation is an embodied practice of remembering the past while dreaming of more expansive, freer futures.

The sixth principle of our “7 Principles of Black Lives” is “Thriving Instead of Surviving.” It says: “Our vision is based on the world we want, and not the world we are currently in. We seek to transform, not simply to react. We want our people to thrive, not just exist — and to think beyond the possible.”

We know that BLUU thriving in the future requires us making an intentional shift right now — away from doing business as usual because it’s always been that way, away from imagining a “return to normal,” and toward imagining who we can be in the future and what this moment can teach us about what’s possible.

That’s why we’re asking Black people in community with us (Black UUs, Black folks who attend worship, Black members of our Facebook group, Black folks who work in partnership with BLUU but aren’t UU, etc.) to take a survey about how you hope to be in community with BLUU in the future and what hopes you have for the future of BLUU’s work. We’re imagining what’s possible, gauging what our community needs, and preparing for ministry required in these times.

If you are not Black but want to support this effort, please make sure that Black UUs or Black folks in alignment with UU values in your community know about the survey.

The survey is open now and will close June 1, 2021. If you have any questions about the survey, please email BlackLivesofUU@gmail.com

We’re so grateful that you’re on this journey with us. We look forward to dreaming with you.

In hopes of a thriving future,

The BLUU Organizing Collective Board

Lena K. Gardner- Executive Director

Rev. Mykal Slack- Community Minister for Worship and Spiritual Care

Marchaé Grair- Communications Director

Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin- Board Member

Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson- Board Member

About BLUU:

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism is committed to expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism; providing support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; and justice-making and liberation for Black people through our faith. Subscribe to our email list to learn more about our worship events, organizing opportunities, and youth ministry.

☐ ☆ ✇ Black Lives UU on Medium

Medicine for the heart and spirit after the Chauvin Verdict

By: Black Lives UU

Dear Beloveds:

We know your hearts are tender. We know you’re holding so many complex feelings in this moment. You are not alone.

In a just world, George Floyd would still be alive. While the Chauvin verdict brings so many of us collective relief, we can’t say it is justice. We know that a carceral system can’t truly hold accountability in transformative ways. And yet, we also know that in a country that so often treats Black people as disposable, it is meaningful to witness consequences for police brutality. We hold all these complexities and contradictions with care.

Shortly after many of us learned of the Chauvin verdict, we also learned of the police killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio after she called the police for help. There is no justice when police kill our children.

So in these times, we remember that our hope is not in the judicial system but in the strength and love of our communities. Through it all, we’ve held each other tenderly, and we will continue to do that in the days and weeks to come.

In this moment, know you are not alone. We are thinking of you and praying for all that you are holding.

Remember, Black folks, UU or otherwise, requesting pastoral and/or spiritual care can reach our Community Minister and folks from the Black Lives of UU Ministerial Network by calling or texting 984–219–8711. This is a Google Voice number that we check daily. We will respond to any calls or text messages within 24 hours.

May this prayer be a balm for your spirit in the days to come.

A Prayer in Real Time

by Rev. Mykal Slack, BLUU Community Minister for Worship & Spiritual Care

Please fill me up with a Holy Breath that will live on, shine on, and thrive on. Rev. Mykal Slack. Text overlay on a starry background.

Dear Ones. Ancestors, gods and goddesses of many names and of no name. Sources of Love known and unknowable…

I come before you weary with grief and disgust, teetering somewhere between about done and well past it.

Hold me.

I don’t know if I can hold what has been passed down to me and mine, much less what lies ahead. No body, no mind, no heart, no spirit should have to carry this much.

Help me.

And yet… “Here I am.

Send me.”

I do what I can to show up as my whole self with full-bodied questions about community accountability, commitment, and care.

Show me.

My deepest hopes and prayers lie in justice and liberation for our people, of which we’ve only just caught a fleeting glimpse of this week.

Direct me.

May I move with love, clarity, vision, and commitment, share what I know, and listen with intention.

Embolden me.

We deserve so much more life and love and beauty and fullness than there is right now.

Please. Please fill me up with a Holy Breath that will live on, shine on, and thrive on.

…until it is time for that Breath to live on, shine on, and thrive on in the ones who are to be Held, Helped, Sent, Shown, Directed, Emboldened, and Filled after me.

May it be so in real time and for all time.

Amen. Ashe. Blessed Be.

Community Connection

Please join us for either of these events below for connection in the coming days if you need a place to be held in community.

In grief, rage, and hope: A National UU post-verdict vigil

Join BLUU on April 21 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern as we gather with the UUA, Side with Love, and DRUUMM for a virtual vigil in response to the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. (The vigil will be broadcast live on the UUA’s and Side with Loves’s Facebook pages.)

How is your heart and how is your spirit? How are you processing the trauma we’re experiencing in our communities and in our news feed? How is the racist police violence against Black people (and the constant discussion about it) impacting you and how can we keep showing up for each other without burning out?

Join Team Sankofa Friday, April 23 at 2 p.m. for a Lunch ‘N Vibe community check-in. Pastoral care will also be available.

Feel free to bring a snack or meal as we share how we’re doing in these times.

(Please note: This is Black sacred space.)

About BLUU:

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism is committed to expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism; providing support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; and justice-making and liberation for Black people through our faith. Subscribe to our email list to learn more about our worship events, organizing opportunities, and youth ministry.