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So, what’s this Thirty Days of Love that I keep hearing about?

2 Comments | Share On Facebook| So, what’s this Thirty Days of Love that I keep hearing about? Share/Save/Bookmark Jan 15, 2014

The Thirty Days of Love campaign begins in just 3 days, on January 18. We’ve got everything you need to learn more and get started here: http://standingonthesideoflove.org/2014-30daysoflove/

But wait! Are you still feeling a bit fuzzy about what exactly the Thirty Days of Love campaign is? Have no fear, we’ve got you covered!

Check out the handy guide below. Still have unanswered questions? Email us: love at uua.org!

 

The Thirty Days of Love 101 Guide:

Before you tell me what the Thirty Days of Love campaign is, give me the background on Standing on the Side of Love.

For a brief history and helpful video of what we are all about, click here! The quick history: Standing on the Side of Love has been around for almost 5 years (we’ll be celebrating our 5th anniversary at the UUA General Assembly this year!) and we harness the power of love to stop oppression.

Ok, got it. Tell me more about how the Thirty Days of Love campaign got started.

Back in 2012, we realized there were exactly 30 days in between MLK Day and Valentine’s Day. We’d already been re-imagining Valentine’s Day as a social justice holiday for a few years, so we thought we’d get creative and make something meaningful happen in between these two powerful holidays. And, voila! Thirty Days of Love was born.

Now, in subsequent years, it hasn’t been an exact 30 days between these two holidays, but they still provide important anchor starting and closing days to our initiative.

So, what are the goals for Thirty Days of Love? Why is it important and why should we participate?

As part of Thirty Days of Love we bring you tools to engage in listening campaigns, community connection, theological reflection, collective sharing, community education, and direct action.  We offer tangible resources for you celebrate the words and deeds of unsung heroes and to continue the effort to promote equality, acceptance, diversity, and inclusion.

Don’t take our word for why the Thirty Days of Love is important though; check out past years round-ups from 2012 and 2013 to hear from others who participated!

Ok, I get it now! I’m ready to participate. So what do I do?

The easiest way to be involved with the Thirty Days of Love is to sign up for the daily emails (yep, it’s really that easy!). Each day, we will send out an email with a daily theme of love + justice, and offer you resources for reflection, education and action. There will also be a daily action we invite you to take part in (to give you an idea of what daily actions look like: sometimes it will be changing your facebook pic, other days it will be journaling, and sometimes we will encourage you to get in touch with Congress).

What else can I expect? Are there ways I can take my involvement in Thirty Days of Love to the next level?

We are glad you asked! You can expect to hear from powerful voices like our partners at Middle Church, Sr. Simone, the head of our partners at NETWORK (the Catholic Sisters who created Nuns on the Bus) and visionary leaders from within Unitarian Universalism. You can take your involvement to the next level by letting other people know you are participating, signing up to participate in Share the Love Sunday, or giving a Courageous Love Award. And if you REALLY want to take it to the next level, plan a witness event that has the potential for serious local impact on behalf of marginalized communities.  Need help with funds to make it happen? Apply for a Standing on the Side of Love Matching Grant today: http://www.uua.org/giving/funding/102184.shtml

Anything else I should know?

Yep! You have the chance to win a free Standing on the Side of Love banner! Wanna know how? Just sign up to participate in Share the Love Sunday. To learn more click here, and to sign up, email development@uua.org The first fifty congregations to sign up win a free banner! 

And of course, we are here to help with any questions along the way.

With lots of giddy excitement for all that is to come,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer

Campaign Manager + Head Thirty Days of Love Enthusiast

Standing on the Side of Love

 

PS: Need some more Love inspiration to get you started? Check out my friend Dan’s Love Inspired Playlist and listen to some great songs as you plan your 30 Days involvement!

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Join Me in Raleigh

2 Comments | Share On Facebook| Join Me in Raleigh Share/Save/Bookmark Jan 13, 2014

If you have been following the headlines like me on voter suppression initiatives in North Carolina and other states, you are worried—worried about what this might mean for all those people facing disenfranchisement, future elections, and what democracy in this country looks like. I am worried too. And I need to do something about it.

 

I received an urgent call from the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, and UU ministers in North Carolina (read their message here) asking me and my fellow UUs to join the Mass Moral March in Raleigh, NC on Sat., Feb. 8 and raise some national consciousness on this issue. Without a second thought, my answer was yes. Will you join me?

 

According to the ACLU, close to half of the states in the U.S. now have some form of voting restrictions. These restrictions are making it harder for people to vote, particularly people of color, students, and people with disabilities. These tactics range from voter ID laws to the elimination of early voting and same day voter registration to new restrictions on voter registration drives and barriers to voting for people with criminal convictions. We need voting to be free, fair, and accessible! Now is the time to mobilize to defend the freedom to vote.

 

This isn’t just about North Carolina. Just as Arizona became the flashpoint for immigration reform in 2010, immigration reform is a national issue. North Carolina represents how states across the country are trying to take away people’s right to vote. Today, it’s North Carolina, but tomorrow it could be, and perhaps already is, your state.

 

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s 5th Principle calls on the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. If people’s right to vote is taken away or denied, the democratic process is a sham. Defending the freedom to vote is fundamental to our values.

 

In 1965, hundreds of UUs went to Selma in response to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s call including the Rev. James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo. They died to secure voting rights for all people. Now is our time to make it clear that any restrictions of voting rights will not be tolerated by the American people.  Will you answer the call?

 

UU ministers in North Carolina need you.

People facing disenfranchisement need you.

Our democracy needs you.

 

Join me in Raleigh, NC on Saturday, Feb. 8 to help defend the freedom to vote.

 

In faith,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Morales

President of the UUA

 

P.S. - If you can’t join me in Raleigh, check out the Standing on the Side of Love website for ways you can get involved.

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Share Your Love For 30 Days of Love!

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Share Your Love For 30 Days of Love! Share/Save/Bookmark Jan 09, 2014

During last year’s 30 Days of Love celebration, I was particularly moved by Day 14, in which we launched our Responding with Love Network. In this time when it seems there’s so much fear in the world, the outpouring of love from individuals and communities committed to responding with love is so awe-inspiring.

I’m excited to celebrate 30 Days of Love again (in just ten days!), and I’m committing to being a part of the 30 Days challenge by signing up for the daily emails. I hope you join me! Publicly declaring our love is one way to counter fear, and I hope you’ll get the word out about 30 Days of Love. Give your family and friends a continuing gift of spiritual renewal.

Facebook Graphics

Check out our collection of Facebook profile pictures and cover photos. Feel free to use and share! We have custom graphics for each week of 30 Days, so you can change your profile pic to match the week.

Share your SSL Selfie

Take a photo of yourself in some kind of SSL gear and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Tag Standing on the Side of Love (on Facebook) or #30DaysofLove (on Twitter and Instagram) so we can cheer and share! Standing on the Side of Love staff will be sharing their SSL selfies throughout 30 Days of Love! (Short on SSL swag? The UUA Bookstore is offering 20% off all Standing on the Side of Love merchandise in January.)

Update Your Email Signature

Consider mentioning 30 Days of Love in your email signature!

  • Join me on the Thirty Days of Love Journey! Sign up here: www.standingonthesideoflove.org/2014-30daysoflove
  • Pledge to Stand on the Side of Love with me! www.standingonthesideoflove.org/2014-30daysoflove
  • Be part of this year’s Thirty Days of Love! Sign up here: www.standingonthesideoflove.org/2014-30daysoflove

Twitter Updates

If you use Twitter, be sure to tag your tweets with #30DaysofLove and tweet at @SideofLove! Here’s a sample tweet:

I’m celebrating #30DaysofLove. Are you? www.standingonthesideoflove.org/2014-30daysoflove/ @SideofLove

Stock Up on Standing the Side of Love Merchandise

The UUA Bookstore has Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) gear on sale throughout the month of January! Get 20% off when you buy any SSL item by entering the code “SSLJAN14″ during checkout.

 

Audra Friend
Communications Coordinator
UUA Multicultural Growth & Witness

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Reproductive Justice Ministry with Men

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Reproductive Justice Ministry with Men Share/Save/Bookmark Jan 09, 2014

What does it mean to be a man working for reproductive justice?

It’s been particularly on my mind this week because I’ve been asked to participate in a webinar panel spearheaded by the UUA called “Reproductive Justice Ministry with Men” this Monday.

While I work at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice – our mission is to lift up religious voices for reproductive justice – I’m not that much closer to an answer today than I was when I started my job over a year ago. Not for lack of trying, mind you, and not for lack of good intentions. It’s quite possible that I continue to do what I’m doing now and not have an answer when I’m enjoying my last breaths because, if being called to reproductive justice has taught me anything, it’s that there are no pat answers. As a white man who has benefited from a system that was set up to privilege men like me, it can be hard to not have a definitive answer. About anything. I grew up in a military, Mormon family that settled in a mountain valley straddling the Idaho/Utah border. If you’re male in that kind of environment, many of the questions are being answered for you – whether you want them to be or not. The answers usually end up benefiting you regardless.

Change one aspect of that equation, like race, and the answers are suddenly different. Change another, like gender, and they change even more. Changing any aspect that varies from the white, male, Christian norm and the answers that life gives you are incredibly – and often heartbreakingly – different.

Recognizing that people at the margins – especially women of color – weren’t part of the equation in the reproductive health or rights movements, a group of visionary women of color claimed their own answers, and in doing so started the reproductive justice movement. They said, “We have the right to bear children. We have the right to not bear children. We have the right to raise the children we do have in healthy and safe environments.” These seem like simple statements, but like scripture, they richly resonate because of the lived experiences of the women who wrote them: women who were forcibly sterilized because of the color of the skin; women who didn’t have the resources to effectuate their reproductive choice, therefore making choice moot; women confronted by poverty-stricken, violent, and poisoned environments in which to raise their families.

How does a middle-aged white guy like me locate myself in reproductive justice given that very little of that is my lived experience?

Engaging in this work means taking leadership from the very people who are affected, which means being led by people who are nothing like us – most notably, women. Men are enculturated to look for leadership from people who are like us: men, white men, “powerful” men. In this and many other ways, we, men, need to wonder together about our cultural backgrounds, assumptions, and identities if we are to do this work well. It will be necessary to have a deep sense of openness, willingness to listen to and be led by people not like you, and authentic humility. Lots of it.

I hope you’ll join us on Monday as we dig into this conversation more. I’m going to be joined by Kashif Syed and Colin Adamo, two ridiculously smart and committed men who work at Advocates for Youth.

Perhaps you’ll hear the answers that you need to hear.

Join us Monday, January 13 at 3:30pm EST for the “Reproductive Justice Ministry with Men” webinar! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Mitchell

Communications Director

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

 

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It’s About Love

No Comments | Share On Facebook| It’s About Love Share/Save/Bookmark Jan 06, 2014

It’s about love. It’s about two people, no matter what race or size or shape or sexual orientation loving each other. When two people are in love and want to be legally married, they should be able to do so!

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage, and our Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, repealed the Defense of Marriage Act. They knocked it down.

But still, 32 states deny same-sex couples the right to be legally married. Inequality trumps federal law! It’s just crazy that my partner Barb and I, both Navy Veterans, who have been together for 28 years, can be federally recognized as married, but still denied the right to marry in Virginia. I can legally officiate heterosexual marriages in Virginia but can’t be married here myself! We have much work yet to do.

So when artist and performer Sarah Jebian came to me last fall and said, “I have an idea.”….I was all ears. She told me how inspired she was when Barb and I filed for a marriage license in Fairfax, Virginia in 2012 and were denied the civil right to marry.

Sarah talked to me about how important equality is for everyone. She told me of her passions and her hopes for all of us, especially her daughters. Her vision of a world that is motivated by love and not discrimination shone like a bright light and thus her show “Taking Flight: Songs of Hope” was born.

Sarah writes, “What does it take to wake up a generation? How do you make someone take off and fly? If we don’t act soon and shake up the nation, we’ll eat the dust of the world wondering why. These lyrics from ‘Louder Than Words,’ from the musical ‘Tick Tick Boom’ by Jonathan Larson, really speak to the passion I feel about equality. We can no longer afford to stay out of the game and wait for others to do the work.

“I am the mother of two little girls and roughly half of my friends identify as LGTB. I don’t know if my children are gay or straight yet, but it is my job to make sure they inherit a world where whoever they are and whomever they love, they will be free to live however they see fit. As for my many LGTB friends – so many of them, like Kären and Barb, have been waiting for too long. I don’t think they should have to wait any longer. My friends want and deserve every right and opportunity that I, as a straight woman, enjoy. To settle for less than this is to settle for less than full humanity and that’s just not an option. ‘Taking Flight’ is my song of hope, my call to action and my promise to my friends and my children that I will never stop fighting for them.”

“Taking Flight: Songs of Hope” is an empowering night of music and social justice that is part cabaret show, part motivational speech. With laughter, tears and cheers, show-goers will be moved to take the passion that Sarah awakens within their hearts and channel it into activism. Sarah personally wrote and crafted “Taking Flight,” which intertwines music from some of the most popular musicians of our time, from modern-day musical theater composers and chart toppers. She weaves the songs together with intensely personal and challenging dialogue/interludes that resonate with some of today’s most important social justice issues, such as gender equality and LGTB rights. She uses her over-the-top creativity and vocal prowess to bring us the light of hope for a better future. Sarah’s goal is to raise $10,000 for Standing on the Side of Love, between now and December 2014 through ticket sales. To bring “Taking Flight” to your congregation, please visit www.takingflightcabaret.com.

It’s about love.

Reverend Kären Rasmussen
Minister for Social Justice
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax

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