Archive for February, 2010

Standing on the Side of Love Day Success!

3 Comments | Share On Facebook| Standing on the Side of Love Day Success! Share/Save/Bookmark Feb 17, 2010

What it looks like to re-imagine love…

On Sunday, February 14th, the very core of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign came to life. Over 100 communities Reimagined Valentine’s Day and celebrated International Standing on the Side of Love Day. It was a day of worship and action. Each community that participated focused on issues that mattered locally and used tactics that would create change.

Do you want to see what this unique day of action looked like? Check out our photo gallery.

Rev. Theresa Novak and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, Utah, hosted a town hall style meeting addressing the need for local anti-discrimination ordinances to protect members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Rev. Novak said in the Salt Lake Tribune,

Love has the power to transform not only lives, but also society. It is the message of all religions, and one that we all need to remember if we want to call ourselves people of faith. How we treat each other matters.

A young member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden Stands on the Side of Love.

A young member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden Stands on the Side of Love.

In Potsdam, the State University of New York hosted a Reimagining Valentine’s Day event where State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, a supporter of marriage equality spoke. Potsdam Rally Co-Organizer Austin Kenyon was quoted on local television news saying,

This weekend is a symbol, it’s done purposefully, to reimagine Valentine’s Day as a holiday. To reimagine it not as just a holiday of candy and Hallmark cards. But as a day of love and acceptance for everyone.

Guest Panel and Organizers of the SUNY Potsdam SSL rally.

Guest Panel and Organizers of the SUNY Potsdam SSL rally.

At First Parish Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist, in Massachusetts, the congregation held a worship service called, “To Haiti, With Love.” They hosted members of the Haitian Community, filled out postcards in support of comprehensive immigration reform, signed up to volunteer at legal clinics helping Haitian immigrants register for temporary protected status. Then, they capped it all off by singing out their love on the steps of the church.

Dozens of congregations made Valentines for elected officials to ask them to stand on the side of love, or for community members, letting their neighbors know that they are not alone in the struggles they face.

UU Fellowship at Stony Brook children making valentines.

UU Fellowship at Stony Brook children making valentines.

Two ministers, one in Maryland and one in Phoenix, publicly declared they would stop signing marriage licenses until all people could marry whom they love.

Perhaps the most daring event held on February 14th, was in Kampala, Uganda. The Ugandan Parliament is considering passing a bill that would make homosexuality illegal, punishable by imprisonment and, in some cases, death. Rev. Mark Kiyimba, the minister serving the two Ugandan Unitarian Universalist congregations, was the key organizer of the conference called, “Standing on the Side of Love: Reimagining Valentine’s Day.”

Because of the risk involved in hosting or attending such a conference, the exact location wasn’t shared until the last minute and was only shared by word of mouth. Still, over 200 people attended. Pastor Kiyimba, whose church members include many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, released a statement to the press saying,

I cannot stand by and watch as my community is exterminated. My church will become illegal and cease to exist if this bill becomes law.

Reimagining Valentine’s Day was covered in dozens of news outlets, including the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Beliefnet.com.

Participants also posted their own videos to the web. In Richmond, Virginia gay and lesbian couples applied for marriage licenses and were rejected.

Rev. Nate Walker of the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia took a page out of Sarah Palin’s book by preaching a Standing on the Side of Love sermon that was written on his hand.

International Standing on the Side of Love Day was an enormous step forward for the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign. We definitively proved that you don’t need a single issue, goal, or tactic to build a movement. All you need is a singular value that thousands of people will boldly weave into the fabric of their communities. That value is love and boy do we have it.

Don’t forget to check out our photo gallery, to get a sense for how many communities across the nation participated. You can add your photos there as well!

“Stand” and Sing Out Your Love to Haiti

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Susan LeslieSusan Leslie is a member of First Parish Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist.

My congregation had an amazing service yesterday that focused on Haiti and on standing with immigrant families here in the United States. Community partners from the Haitian Coalition were in attendance. We collected Valentine’s Day cards made by UU Mass Action to send to our legislators for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. People signed up to participate in Temporary Protected Status Legal clinics sponsored by the UUA & UUSC and partners. People also signed up to go as a congregation for a Walk for Haiti in March sponsored by the Haitian Coalition that will raise funds to rebuild schools in Haiti. The religious education classes made valentines for Partners in Health and read Circles of Hope – a story about Haiti. The youth group sold t-shirts for the walk (1/2 the sales go to Partners in Health or you got a free t-shirt if you promised to get sponsors for your walk).

Rev. Fred Small preached a truly amazing sermon on Haiti – managing to give ‘a people’s history of Haiti’ in the context of worship and rousing folks to love and action. Truly standing on the side of love. We sang “Stand” by Amy Carol Webb in the worship service, the choir sang a Haitian ballad, and the congregation sang a calypso Alleluia. At the end of the service after eveyone had a chance to eat Haitian cake in the parlor, speak with our guests (a number of people from the Haitian community came to the service as well as the folks who work at the Coalition) and sign up for the TPS legal clinics and the walk (along with turnng in cards for CIR) – we all went out on to the front steps of the church – holding the Standing on the Side of Love Banner – and singing ‘Stand’ with Rev. Small playing guitar and singing the verses. The moment was magical, folks were filled with love, and passersby stopped to listen and cheer us on. We’re now thinking we could do this once a month around various standing on the side of love justice issues as a form of public witness.

Same-sex couples again denied marriage licenses

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For the past six years, same-gender couples have applied for marriage licenses in Richmond, Virginia on our near Valentine’s Day. This video documents their attempt in 2010.

News coverage of this courageous action appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Buzz is Building

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Valentine’s Day is being Reimagined in Ogden (Utah), Loudoun County (Virginia), Long Island, Uganda, Ontario, and beyond!

This weekend we are standing on the side of love all across the world. Yesterday interfaith advocates spoke to the media in the capitol rotunda in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The buzz is building. Love is on the march. Are you wondering what this looks like? Well here are some early photos below. Don’t you forget to upload your photos directly to our website.

The SSL banner unfurled in the MN Capitol rotunda

The SSL banner unfurled in the MN Capitol rotunda

Des Moines, IA SSL Party 2/6/10

Des Moines, IA SSL Party 2/6/10

UUs in Canton, NY Standing on the Side of Love

UUs in Canton, NY Standing on the Side of Love

Love Note from Garry Klein

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Love Note from Garry Klein Share/Save/Bookmark Feb 12, 2010

Equality is a cornerstone of love and human dignity. In Iowa we genuinely understand that concept.