Harnessing Love’s Power
to Stop Oppression


Challenge Anti-Muslim Bigotry

1 Comment | Share On Facebook| Challenge Anti-Muslim Bigotry Share/Save/Bookmark Feb 19, 2013

We have cause to celebrate. American society is well on the way to reflecting the diversity of a globalized world. As the director of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign, I have the privilege of working in the midst of this beautiful multiplicity of thought, faith, and culture every day.

Growth in religious diversity offers rich opportunities for engagement across lines of faith and inspires my own commitment to continue this important work. I have had the privilege of witnessing how interfaith communities support one another in their shared needs for vibrant worship, and in service to address common social concerns. As such, interreligious communities play an important role in ensuring that the road to a truly multicultural society is normative, not hostile.

Help create a socitey where everyone is welcome and join me for the “Taking Action Against Anti-Muslim Bigotry” webinar on February 28.

As the saying goes, change doesn’t always come easy. While American Muslims make up just .9 percent of the U.S. population, 2010 FBI hate crimes statistics indicated a 50 percent increase in attacks targeting American Muslims. That is the fastest growing rate of hate crimes amongst American religious groups, and it has held steady in recent years.

We cannot sit idly by while members of our communities are targeted with hate and violence. Join me for the “Taking Action Against Anti-Muslim Bigotry” webinar on February 28. We’ll discuss ways of challenging anti-Muslim bigotry from individualized attacks, to proposed anti-Shari’ah legislation and stereotypical rhetoric.

Click here to register today.

Together, let’s explore practical options for you and your community to take in order to help make the road to a diverse society a healthy and supportive road for each American community, including American Muslims.

In faith,

Christina Warner
Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign

PS: Faith-based organizations can also sign up to become Shoulder-to-Shoulder Community Members! This national network provides state, local, and regional faith-based organizations with resources to address anti-Muslim discrimination in their community and across the country. Email cwarner@shouldertoshouldercampaign.org for more details.

The message above went out on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

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Day 30: Celebrate with Us

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Today is Day 30 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to join us tonight (or tomorrow) for our closing Thirty Days of Love online worship service. Click here for details, family actions, and more!

“Justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What does it mean to harness love’s power to stop oppression, exclusion, and violence? How do we stand on the side of love, bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice? Those are questions people of faith have been asking for thousands of years. Each of us, in our own day, must try to find and live our own answers.

I was privileged to be the founding director of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign, working closely with Campaign Manager Adam Gerhardstein and Helio Fred Garcia, who took our dream and created a strategic plan. But, ultimately, it was thousands of people like you who brought love’s power into the public debates on issues where, too often, fear and a desire for punishment dominate. So many different kinds of people have said: “Love’s people: Yes, that’s who my people are!”

From the beginning, Standing on the Side of Love has empowered people to speak love’s name in times that were fearful, constricted, violent. I have been so inspired to see love open doors which no other word could open. Love whispers our name, and grows when we whisper it back. Grows more when we harness our power to speak it loudly. Grows still more when we demand policies that support it.

I continue to stand on the side of love in my current role as Senior Minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF). CLF brings together people from around the world who might not otherwise be able to access the support of a loving faith community. We hold worship services online, where hundreds join us each week to carry the flame of love and justice.

To culminate the Thirty Days of Love, CLF and SSL will collaborate on an online worship service held Sunday night, February 17, at 8 PM Eastern US time and Monday, February 18, at 9 AM and 1:30 PM Eastern US time. For me it feels like a party where you invite people you love who might not know each other yet, and wait excitedly for them to make connections.

Please join us for celebration and worship this evening or tomorrow. Click here to RSVP and invite your friends and family.

Hope to see you soon! And thanks, as always, for magnifying love in this world that needs it so much!

With love and hope,

Rev. Meg Riley
Senior Minister
Church of the Larger Fellowship

PS: Don’t forget to share your stories and photos from the Thirty Days of Love! The SSL Team is creating a round-up of everything that happened around the country and they want to make sure that YOU are included.

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Day 29: Make a Resolution for Love

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Today is Day 29 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to share photos and stories from your Thirty Days events, and make a resolution to stand on the side of love for the rest of the year. Click here for resources, family actions, and more!

We are almost at the end of our second annual Thirty Days of Love, and what a month it has been! We’ll send out a more complete round-up next week, but we wanted to share a sneak peek with you now:

  • On Day 14, we asked you to sign-up to help us send messages of love to those affected by acts of violence. Over 119 of you registered, and we will give you another chance to join in next week when we announce the winning name for our response team.
  • During Day 19, Ravi Ragbir shared his personal immigration story, and asked that we send messages to Congress asking for  immigration reform that keeps families together. Over 1,156 messages were sent to Congress sharing your concerns!
  • Christina Warner, from Shoulder-to-Shoulder, invited us to join her in a webinar learning how to respond to anti-Muslim bigotry on Thursday, Feb. 28. You can still sign-up here.

At our Standing on the Side of Love worship service, my own congregation, First Parish Cambridge, will present a Courageous Love Award to Tina Chery. Tina founded Mothers for Peace and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Boston. After losing her son Louis to gun violence, Tina has dedicated her life to non-violence and is an inspiration to our community. We are also reading The New Jim Crow and our congregation is thinking deeply about how to respond to mass incarceration. We are planning a program at our church with interfaith and community activists to explore how to address this issue in Massachusetts.

I plan on standing on the side of love for the rest of the year, and beyond! What is your resolution to continue standing on the side of love in the next year? Click here to share it with us.

Also, please forward this message to your congregation, your friends, and community. We’ve grown our vibrant online community to over 30,000 people. Let’s continue to grow. Folks can use this link to sign-up for our email list.

Will you continue to stand with me?

Susan Leslie
Standing on the Side of Love Lead Organizer
Member, First Parish Cambridge Unitarian Universalist

PS: Don’t forget to join us for our Thirty Days of Love online worship service! Services will be held on Sunday, February 17 at 8:00pm ET and Monday, February 18 at 9:00am and 1:30pm ET at http://www.livestream.com/questformeaning. Click here to RSVP and invite your friends.

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Day 28: Get Artsy!

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Today is Day 28 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to get artsy! Share artwork for the Standing on the Side of Love mural, or send us art in whatever form moves you the most—be it poetry, music, dance, video, etc. Click here more resources and inspiration to get you started!

For our robust Unitarian Universalist Fellowship up here in the far northwest corner of the country, standing on the side of love means art!

We are a diverse congregation, and we celebrate our differences, but we all agree to stand on the side of love. We do that through a common denominator of creativity. Hearing from all the messengers throughout the Thirty Days of Love really inspired us, so we wanted to come up with a way to give back and share OUR love. We held several events to come together and make love art in our community, and then we decided to open it up to everyone involved with the Thirty Days of Love!

We’re creating a Standing on the Side of Love mural (here’s a photo of one of our works-in-progress), but it won’t be complete until we have YOUR addition. You can write, collage, paint, draw—so long as it fits on an 8×10 piece of paper (vertical/portrait orientation), is family friendly, and contains at least one heart shape, it works. ALL are invited. We want you to participate, whether you think of yourself as an artist or not.

Send your love mural submissions to love@uua.org by next Wednesday, Feb. 20 and check back next week, when we will post the finished product. And if visual art isn’t what inspires you, feel free to send us art in whatever form moves YOU the most—be it a song, poem, video, dance, or something creative we haven’t even thought up yet!


Beth, Michelle, Alicia, Tuesday, Michael, Heidi, Ro, Daniel, the Magee Girls, & our Love Team
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
Bellingham, Washington

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Estamos Listos: We Are Ready for Immigration Reform

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Immigration press conference in Detroit. MUUSJN director Randy Block at the far right.

Last month, the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN) and people from three UU congregations took their big Standing on the Side of Love banners to participate in immigration reform press conferences across the state of Michigan. These events, organized by the Alliance for Immigrant Rights, helped kick off a national immigration reform campaign. In Detroit and Lansing, our message of love was welcomed by media event organizers. Another press event was held in Kalamazoo, where UUs participate in an immigration reform coalition called the Michigan Organizing Project. These events were covered by the Detroit News, the Lansing State Journal, a local CBS affiliate, and other media.

At these events, hundreds of supporters gathered to ask Congress and the President to keep their promises and pass reform in 2013. Faith, community, union, social service, and elected leaders called on the President and Congress to support these important principles in a reform bill:

• Keep families together through a path to citizenship.
• Grant visas for family preference.
• Reunits the deported with their families.
• Create a worker program that serves families, not just employers.
• Enforcs humane treatment in the border and detention systems.
• Promote racial justice and an end to all discriminatory programs.
• Establish an Immigrant Integration Office.

This is just the beginning of our advocacy for compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform in 2013!

 This post was contributed by Randy Block, director of the Michigan UU Social Justice Network.

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