Harnessing Love’s Power
to Stop Oppression


A Mother’s Day for All

No Comments | Share On Facebook| A Mother’s Day for All Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 20, 2013

In some ways, Mother’s Day is an easy holiday, right? Lots of people have important “mother” figures in their life, for whom they can find something in the greeting card aisle, buy flowers, or make breakfast in bed. We celebrate these women because we love them. Setting aside a special day for them acknowledges the critical and often underappreciated role they play in our lives and in our communities.

And yet, some experiences of motherhood aren’t so easily found in the greeting card aisle, such as families with queer or trans or two mothers. It might be impossible to make her breakfast in bed if she’s incarcerated or recently deported. While many of us already celebrate those women who raised us (whether she was our nanny, our grandmother, our aunt, our foster mother), how do we acknowledge the experiences of women who wanted children but couldn’t, due to economic circumstance, medical condition, unjust adoption rights, or any other reason? How do we stand on the side of love with all those who “mother” and their families?

This year on May 12, join me in celebrating a more inclusive “Mama’s Day.” Click here to learn more.

Mother’s Day was originally founded as an antiwar rallying cry by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe. This history reminds us that Mother’s Day is more than a day for flowers and pancakes. It’s a call to honor the resiliency of all those who mother, especially those who bear the brunt of hurtful policies or who are weighed down by stigma in our culture. It’s an opportunity to take action to create conditions that enable all families to thrive.

This year, transform your Mother’s Day into “Mama’s Day:” a multicultural, justice-oriented celebration of all those who “mama.” For the first time ever, the UUA has partnered with Strong Families, to offer beautiful e-cards and resources for advocacy, worship, and more.

Let’s do “Mama’s Day” on the side of love. Click here to find out how to transform your celebration this year.


Jessica Halperin
Witness Ministries Program Associate
Unitarian Universalist Association

The message above went out on Saturday, April 20, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

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One Click Away from Compassionate, Family-Based Immigration Reform

No Comments | Share On Facebook| One Click Away from Compassionate, Family-Based Immigration Reform Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 17, 2013

I have been hearing so many amazing stories of Unitarian Universalists making advocacy visits to tell their elected officials that immigration reform must respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

In 2010, I marched and later was arrested in Phoenix, AZ, because my faith values taught me that it is wrong to tear apart families and criminalize whole communities. No person is illegal. I stood on the side of love to stop immoral legislation that sadly began spreading from one state to another.

Now finally the moment is here, a once in a generation moment, to pass federal legislation that will create one immigration policy for our nation.

An immigration reform bill was introduced this morning, so now is the time to tell Congress that reform must be compassionate.

You can do that right now, by simply sending this message to your local elected official. Tell them that reform must keep families together.

One of the proudest moments of my presidency was when thousands of Unitarian Universalists witnessed at the Tent City detention center in Phoenix at Justice General Assembly last year calling for an end to detentions and deportations and for reform of our immigration laws.

You and I both know how powerful our voices can be when we mobilize and work together to make real change happen. Click here to add your voice today towards compassionate, family-based immigration reform.

Love has no borders, love keeps families together, love respects the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

In faith,

Rev. Peter Morales
Unitarian Universalist Association

The message above went out on Wednesday, April 16, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

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Standing on the Side of Love for Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Standing on the Side of Love for Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 12, 2013

A couple weeks ago, hundreds of people witnessed for marriage equality as the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California Proposition 8.

Among them were dozens of Unitarian Universalists! Check out our video to hear from these committed activists why they stand on the side of love:

Special thanks to our colleague Annette Marquis for putting together this great video.

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Stand Up For Love

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Stand Up For Love Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 11, 2013

This post was written by Rev. James Ismael Ford of the First Unitarian Church of Providence. (Credit: Jessica Duckett)

I’ve been told that a minister is supposed to provide a “non-anxious” presence. I can tell you that the run up to Sunday the 7th, I was anything but non-anxious. I can only say I was at one with my anxiety. We were trying to bring two denominational heads together to make public statements in favor of marriage equality in Rhode Island and in our country.

Both Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Rev. Geoffrey Black, general minister of the United Church of Christ, are committed long time supporters of LGBTQ rights, so their willingness was never in doubt. But, they have many obligations and trying to get them here at the same time and as part of the run up to the senate taking its votes, well, that seemed almost impossible.

But, in a minor evidence of the existence of a deity, and one benevolent and supportive of equal rights for all people, not to mention a lot of work by a lot of people, it happened. At ten o’clock Rev. Black preached good news at Beneficent Congregational Church, and at ten thirty Rev. Morales spoke to the heart of LGBTQ rights as human rights and as a spiritual imperative at the First Unitarian Church of Providence.

As the service at First Unitarian ended, we had our ordinary coffee hour, but instead of winding down, while some people headed out, others started arriving from Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ congregations as their worship services ended, as well as non-churched people who had heard of these progressive ministers who were going to make a public statement about a critical civil rights issue for our times. Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts even made a brief appearance to thank Revs. Black and Morales for their support.

Revs. Ford, Black, Morales and others sing a hymn at the program. (Credit: Jessica Duckett)

By one o’clock our “Stand Up for Love” program kicked off with a rocking music led by Kate Katzberg, Mo Methot, and the First Unitarian band. At one thirty as Lynda Gulley took to the piano as Revs. Black and Morales as well as other local religious leaders came into the historic Meeting House to join with a crowd of about three hundred and fifty people. Gene Dyszlewski, the First Unitarian Church’s community minister for social justice, as well as leader of the religious coalition for marriage equality, invited greetings. Betsy Garland, president of the Rhode Island Council of Churches, and Donald Anderson, Executive Director, both made statements of welcome.

Rev. Black led off with a rousing call to human rights. And Rev. Morales brought it home with a call to action. Members of Rhode Islanders for Marriage were present to sign people up to volunteer.

We concluded the program with an old hymn, “We’ll Build a Land,” combing words from the prophets Amos and Isaiah. The refrain filled the room, “Come build a land where sisters and brothers, anointed by God, may then create peace: where justice shall roll down like waters, and peace like an ever flowing stream.”

We left filled with hope for a new dawn.

So, I’m still anxious. First, we have a vote in the state judiciary committee to get through, and then we have the vote at the state senate.

There’s much work to do.

But, I feel that hope, stirring.

And, I believe, in my heart, we shall achieve marriage equality this year.

Check out our video to see an excerpt of the program:

Rev. James Ishmael Ford is senior minister at the First Unitarian Church of Providence. He is a social justice activist, theologian, and Zen meditation teacher as well as a parish minister. His most recent book is “If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life.”

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Not One More!

1 Comment | Share On Facebook| Not One More! Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 10, 2013

As the debate over immigration reform continues in Washington, so too do the deportations that rip families apart. In response, our partners at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have launched #Not1More, a collaborative project to expose, confront, and overcome unjust immigration enforcement policies through organizing, art, legislation, and action.

Click here to watch the video and learn how you can take action to ensure that there is #Not1More deportation.

This is a monumental time in the movement for immigrant justice. Over the past two weeks, UUs went on 60+ advocacy visits to tell their elected officials that immigration reform must respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Today, thousands of folks will gather together in Washington, DC and at echo events across the country to raise their voices for compassionate immigration reform, and there will be a sea of Yellow Shirts there. An immigration reform bill is likely to be introduced any day now, and it is imperative that legislators continue to hear from you to ensure that reform is compassionate.

In recent years, deportations, incarceration, and criminalization of immigrant communities have escalated at an unprecedented rate. But at the same time, record numbers of people are refusing to be victims and instead are taking a stand for themselves, for their families, for our communities, and for all of us.

#Not1More weaves together all of our voices in a central location so that local efforts to stop deportation and build community are strengthened and accompanied by cultural creations that illustrate the ugliness of criminalization and the beauty of our communities.

Together we say: not one more family destroyed, not one more day without equality, not one more indifferent reaction to suffering, not one more deportation.

Click here to add your voice and say #Not1More. 

In faith,

Jennifer Toth
Campaign Manager
Standing on the Side of Love

PS: Learn more about what you can do to advocate for compassionate immigration reform here: http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/cir.

The message above went out on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

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