Mark Your Calendars: It’s Time to Renew Our Vows
Susan Leslie is the Congregational Advocacy & Witness Director for the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of the Social Justice Council of First Parish Cambridge MA Unitarian Universalist
On Tuesday, my husband, Bruce, and I joined our congregation in bringing love to the polls. We donned our yellow Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts and buttons, carried Love placards, and handed out Love wallet cards. Across the country, many of you did the same.
When voters inquired about the purpose behind the Standing on the Side of Love campaign, we explained that we were there to call for an end to marginalization, discrimination, and scapegoating in elections and beyond, and to ask others to work towards the same for our entire country. Universally, we were greeted with positive energy, smiles, and thanks for our being there. For many, seeing our yellow messages of love opened up a dialogue about the need for more non-polarizing activism that reaches across partisan divides.
Bruce and I were blown away by the beautiful diversity of people from all walks of life who came to vote – but saddened to think there is so much fear in our culture about that very beauty. How disheartening that a number of candidates won their elections with platforms that preyed on this fear!
Now, more than ever, people need our movement.
That is why I am asking all of us to keep the faith, continue to be visible with our values, and to look ahead…
National Standing on the Side of Love Day – February 14, 2011 — will be the moment for us to elevate our most important values in the public square, just weeks after a more conservative 112th U.S. Congress will begin its session.
Please mark February 14, 2011 on your calendar now, and begin thinking about how you might re-imagine Valentine’s Day as National Standing on the Side of Love Day – an opportunity for your community to inspire love, connection, and compassion.
With the outcome of election 2010, I am completely recommitted to standing on the side of love. In the face of fear, this campaign is exactly what we need to elevate the tone of debate in this country, to change hearts and minds, and to call forth those who believe in the values of respect and inclusion.
Bruce and I will be asking our congregational leaders to put February 14, 2011 on the calendar as an all-out, visionary public witness. Last year, our congregation collected immigrant rights postcards and delivered them to Sen. Scott Brown; partnered with the Haitian Coalition on a joint service; and then went outside and sang “Stand” in Harvard Square holding our Love banner.
We have already started thinking about how we can visibly share our values this coming February through meaningful partnerships on National Standing on the Side of Love Day.
Please look forward with us — and mark your calendars for February 14, 2011.