Posts Tagged ‘UUA’

Two Million is Too Many: Act on April 5th

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It has been clear for a long time that our nation’s immigration system is broken and unjust. I am proud of how Unitarian Universalists have put our faith and values into action by standing on the side of love with immigrant rights organizations and communities. Our Justice General Assembly in Phoenix in 2012 was a prominent example of our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

But years of advocacy and activism have not resulted in immigration reform. In fact, since 2008, more than two million people have been deported from the U.S. That’s more than 1,000 people every day. And still Congress does nothing.

To address this ongoing tragedy, our partners at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) are holding a National Day of Action on April 5th for groups across the country to tell President Obama that after two million deportations, it is past time for executive action to stop the deportations. We will urge the President to grant deferred action as he did for the “Dreamers,” the children brought to this country by their parents seeking a better way of life for their families. Congressional inaction makes this executive action absolutely necessary.

Four years ago, I initiated an interfaith letter calling on the President to suspend the Immigration Custom and Enforcement Secure Communities Program that has created a devastating mass detention and deportation system in this country. I asked Maria Hinojosa, producer of the Frontline film Lost in Detention, to speak as our Justice GA Ware Lecturer. I have consistently urged administrative relief for our migrant communities, while continuing to press Congress for compassionate immigration reform. While we wait for the Congress to create a framework for immigration reform, it only makes sense to provide relief from deportations for those who would be included in an immigration reform bill.

I hope that you will respond to NDLON’s call to action. Please visit NDLON’s #Not1More website to find an April 5th action near you or to add your own action to the map. And I urge you to sign the Petition to President Obama.

On April 4th, I will be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) Spring Conference for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We know that we are one human family. Indigenous communities on the border often say, “We didn’t cross the border, it crossed us.” They too are suffering from our broken immigration system. I will ask people at the conference to observe the April 5th National Day of Action and to sign the petition. Two million deportations is a sad milestone. Two million is too many.

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

In faith,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reverend Peter Morales
President, Unitarian Universalist Association

Standing on the Side of Love at the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade in South Boston

3 Comments | Share On Facebook| Standing on the Side of Love at the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade in South Boston Share/Save/Bookmark Mar 17, 2014

Many Unitarian Universalists in Massachusetts and around the country have been following the news of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston and its various exclusions.  The traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade (organized by the Allied War Veterans Council) excludes LGBTQ groups from marching openly. The parade’s organizers state that in addition to celebrating St. Patrick and Irish heritage, their parade is meant to honor veterans. In spite of this, and notwithstanding the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the organizers would not allow a group of LGBT veterans to march openly.  The parade organizers have also excluded Veterans For Peace from marching in their parade “for associating the word ‘veteran’ with the word ‘peace’,” in spite of their military service and in spite of St. Patrick’s own words: “Killing cannot be with Christ.”  These exclusions hurt me to my core since I am a US Navy veteran, a member of Veterans For Peace, and a lesbian.

In response to these exclusions, the local Boston chapter of Veterans For Peace (the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of VFP) worked in solidarity with local LGBTQ organizations and progressive activists to create an alternative and inclusive parade: the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade.  This parade, known affectionately as the “second parade”, follows the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade along the same route. In past years, street sweepers and more than a mile of distance separated the two parades, but this year – on March 16, 2014 – for the first time the City of Boston did not put street sweepers between the parades, and the distance between the two parades was shortened. This meant that more onlookers than ever saw the messages of love, peace, and inclusion from the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade.

In addition to Veterans For Peace and lots of LGBTQ groups, there were many wonderful people and worthy organizations witnessing for environmental, social, and economic justice and peace.  The “second parade” included a “Religious Division”, with Unitarian Universalists well represented. Many Unitarian Universalist participants marched with banners and signs from their own congregations as well as rainbow flags and messages of full support for LGBTQ inclusion and equality, and many more marched behind a large Standing on the Side of Love banner. Together, we indeed harnessed love’s power to end bigotry and oppression!

Clergy march at the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade. Photo from Lara Hoke.

One of the central St. Patrick’s Peace Parade organizers was Pat Scanlon, the Coordinator of the local Boston chapter of Veterans For Peace, a Unitarian Universalist himself (a member of North Parish in North Andover). The Arlington Street Church in Boston played a special role, too, in providing rent-free space for peace parade organizational meetings.  I’m so pleased that my own congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover, participated with enthusiasm.  Other UU congregations that stood on the side of love, represented by parishioners and/or their ministers, were Community Church of Boston; First Church in Boston; First Parish Church, Billerica; First Unitarian Society, Newton; Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church; Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead; Unitarian Universalist Church of Wakefield; and Unitarian Universalist Church of Weymouth. Mid-route, some parade-watchers from South Church, UU, Portsmouth, NH joined in with us! In addition to UUs standing on the side of love, other faith groups were a part of the parade, including organizations and congregations from the Catholic, Jewish, United Church of Christ, Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) traditions and more.

It was a big step in the right direction that there were no street sweepers between parades this year, and less distance between the two parades than ever. How wonderful that more parade watchers than ever saw the “second parade” and its messages! But we will continue to stand on the side of love with a second, alternative, inclusive St. Patrick’s Peace Parade until the day that there is one, unified, inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston. Says Pat Scanlon, “Our Peace Parade is not going away until we have one welcoming inclusive parade for all without censorship.”

In faith,
Rev. M. Lara Hoke
Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover

Celebrating Civil Rights Activist The Rev. Clark Olsen

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L-R Jennifer Toth, Campaign Manager, Standing on the Side of Love, The Rev. Clark Olsen, and The Rev. Peter Morales, President, UUA

This blog post comes from remarks delivered by The Rev. Peter Morales on the eve of the Mass Moral March in Raleigh, NC. Click here to see The Rev. Peter Morales’ full remarks in celebration of The Rev. Clark Olsen.

Today, we reflect on the long history of the struggle for democracy in the south. This issue of voter suppression goes back to the 1960’s. Civil rights were under attack. Racist practices were keeping African Americans from voting. In 1965, Unitarian Universalist ministers James Reeb, Orloff Miller and Clark Olsen answered the call from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to come to Selma.

What follows is a story of heartache and tragedy. Many know that as these three ministers walked on the sidewalks of Selma, white supremacists attacked them. The Rev. James Reeb died two days later as a result of his injuries. Orloff and Clark lived, and each one of us here today honors their sacrifice, their struggle, their pain, and their fervent hopes for a future of compassion and equality. Tonight, the Rev. Clark Olsen is with us and I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize his life of service.

Simply put, the Rev. Clark Olsen is an extraordinary man. His career spans the parish, service in our Unitarian Universalist Association and the business world. As the son of a Unitarian minister, he carried on in his father Arthur’s footsteps. Clark was ordained in 1959 and served as minister for over 20 years in three congregations. For two years he led at the national level as vice president of program and planning for the Unitarian Universalist Association. He served on numerous continental UUA committees and on the board of Starr King School for the Ministry, our UU seminary in Berkeley, California. For 28 additional years, Clark served as a consultant and trainer for nonprofit organizations and for Fortune 500 corporations, specializing in strategic planning, organizational culture change, management and supervisor development, and team building. During those 28 years, he continued to serve the denomination in numerous ways. And we are so thankful he did.

Clark, today we honor your many contributions to our faith. Your leadership, your passion and dedication, and especially your courage, are an inspiration to all.

Our Standing on the Side of Love campaign bestows a special award – the Courageous Love Award – to individuals and groups who live our values of peace and justice out loud in the world. The award is for those who demonstrate in extraordinary ways, the conviction that all are born with inherent worth and dignity. This award is for those who take a stand for the oppressed. This award is for you. May we emulate your strength and your heart.

With deepest appreciation,

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rev. Peter Morales

President

Unitarian Universalist Association

 

Day 28: ‘Calling In’ as a Practice of Love

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Today is Day 28 of Thirty Days of Love. For today’s daily action, we invite you to read more about the practice of “Calling In” on today’s resources page, then journal about how calling in can help you during your next courageous conversation. Remember: Practice makes a practitioner. Click here to sign up for the Thirty Days of Love emails.

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When I first learned the language of “calling in,” I was a little confused. I knew I was extremely well-versed in calling OUT. Throughout my adolescence and young adulthood, I spent time both making barriers and building bridges. I distanced myself from people I thought didn’t “get it.” I built with people who I thought had found the answers that I so desperately needed. And in the process, I cut myself off from a lot of amazing, dynamic and life-altering relationships. I’m excited to dig in as the new Campaign Coordinator with Standing on the Side of Love, a role I think that will provide many opportunities to call, and be called, in.

Our culture of competition and scarcity makes it hard for us to “Sit in the Fire“ as our whole selves. That fire may be a conflict with a loved one, a professional leadership crisis, or a challenging casual interaction. Re-thinking how I call out made me aware that my approach often lacked love, strategy, and accountability. My approach was stopping me from building with some of the people I loved most. We know that we will mess up. And when we do, we want to know people will love us through our growth. This is not to dismiss or minimize the hurt and pain of these mistakes or the importance of interrupting violence. But it recognizes that transformation takes time, commitment, and love. The Standing on the Side of Love campaign seeks to provide resources and collaborative support to congregations and individuals who want to use love as a theme and principle in their organizing efforts.

Exploring the concept of “calling in” has allowed me to more honestly and lovingly engage with people I want to build with and be accountable to. We can build towards our vision of justice, equity and transformation by learning how to “call in” as we “Sit in the Fire.” For me that means convening intentional and loving space with white people, cisgender people, queer people, middle-class people, and artists while also building with people across different identities.

How would calling in change the way we do our work, build relationships, and create communities and movements? Today Standing on the Side of Love is hosting a facebook chat at 1pm EST/10am PST to talk about our work. Click here to RSVP. We want to hear your ideas, feedback, and love. Sitting in the fire can be hard. But we need you to stay.

All good things,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nora Rasman
Campaign Coordinator, Standing on the Side of Love

P.S. We’re celebrating the 5th Anniversary of re-imagining Valentine’s Day as a social justice holiday. Check out videos and stories from the past five years here.

Day 23: Thanks from the UUA and the UCC

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Today is Day 23 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to learn about the social justice work of another faith and journal about what about that work inspires you. Click here for more resources, family actions and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.

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Yesterday, members of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ participated in the Moral March on Raleigh in Raleigh, N.C., as part of a group of thousands of concerned North Carolina citizens and committed individuals from throughout the country. We sang, prayed, and marched together to raise awareness about the threats to voting rights in North Carolina that are spreading to other states.

As we stood surrounded by people who shared our concerns and listened to our collective cry for change, we both paused and reflected that this is love reaching out in action—raising our voices for those who are being silenced by voting restriction tactics. Showing people who we don’t even know, have never met, that we love them, that they matter, and that we won’t let their power be taken away from them.

Back in April of last year, the UUA and the UCC once again stood together in Rhode Island and celebrated and worshipped with citizens of that state as they worked to pass marriage equality. And soon after, they became the 10th state to grant all people the freedom to marry the person they love!

We must, as communities dedicated to justice, peace and love, reach out to others to share the transformational stories of what our unique faiths have to offer. Each one of us has a powerful story to share about how our faiths have touched our lives, how it has transformed us, and helped us to make the world a better place. We need to be telling these stories, listening to others, and helping people grow in spirit and in service.

Thanks to you and everyone who embraces the principles of love and justice, we now have nearly 20 states with marriage equality, and we continue to move closer to comprehensive immigration reform that will recognize the human worth and dignity of the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United States. At yesterday’s march, we stood side by side with the NAACP and other partners to show that we are equally committed to voting rights and access to a fair and open democracy in this country. While there is still much more to do, let’s take this time to pause, reflect, and celebrate all we have accomplished together and all that we will accomplish in the future.

Thank you.

In Faith,

Rev. Peter Morales and Rev. Geoffrey Black

UUA President + UCC General Minister and President