Justice is at the core of our faith. Our congregation is called to make a positive difference not only in our community but in our wider communities. We work to serve, to raise awareness, and to support and partner with people who face
injustice. We advocate, organize, and act for justice to live out the values of our faith.
We are guided by the passions of our members and friends as well as powerful resources from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). These UUA resources educate us, inspire us, and serve as calls to action. They include UUA Common Read , Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs) and Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) , and UU The VOTE . When we take action, we are in partnership with Unitarian Universalists all over the United States.
We also participate in JUUstice Washington , a coalition of Washington State UUs, working collectively on training, action, and state legislative issues.
We have focused since 2012 on immigration reform. Until the Covid-19 Pandemic we maintained a monthly vigil at the Tacoma ICE Processing Center, supporting visiting families and friends of people imprisoned and waiting for release or deportation. We provided snacks, appropriate clothing (if needed), helpful written handouts, and sympathetic and caring ears to acknowledge the heart aches and suffering.
Early in our 2022-23 year, a Sunday service was dedicated to meeting in small groups to discuss priorities for focus for the Social Justice Committee, to guide the Committee in planning services, sponsoring/co-sponsoring activities/events,
and making recommendations for monthly offerings. For us, that included what issues to focus on as well as the means of focus.
From that input we set the following priorities for the Committee’s focus:
- Educating ourselves on issues related to systemic racism (including reparations for Black and Indigenous people, the climate crisis, supporting immigrants, and LGBTQ,
- Building relationships and being in conversation with persons whose perspectives may be different from our own (including youth),
- Working in partnership with other groups affiliated with UUs and here on Vashon (churches, schools, social services and advocacy organizations), and
- Integrating a commitment to fighting white supremacy/racism into our lives.
We recognized how the many ‘break-outs’ in which we think of justice are intimately intertwined (climate, racial, criminal, economic, LGBTQ) and are systemic. We also knew that we wanted to make our focus relevant and accessible to us in our ongoing lives (for understanding and for taking action).
VIUU has an ongoing tradition of choosing nonprofit organizations to receive our Sunday Service offering taken in their name. Taking into consideration the input from our members and the causes we have contributed to in the past, the
following organizations were recommended to, and accepted by the Board for the 2022-2023 year.
- Community Passageways
- Seattle Indian Health Board
- UUA’s Transgender Religious Professionals Together – TrUUst
- DOVE (Vashon)
- WA Environmental Council
- AID NW-Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest
- Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness (Vashon)
- Vashon Youth and Family.
In 2022 and 2023 we are changing our focus toward environmental and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) justice. We are active contributors to Community Passageways, an organization in the Rainier Valley of Seattle founded and led by Dominique Davis that actively seeks to keep young black men and women in school, out of gangs, out of jail, and alive. Dom spoke by Zoom to our congregation on October 25, 2020. For a Dominique Davis TED Talk about Community Passageways, click here .
We have worked with Community Passageways to provide speakers for two Sunday Services in 2023 – January 8th and September 25th. These services are recorded by date at Sunday Services .
Future Sunday Services on justice issues may include topics such as Environmental Justice, Affordable Housing, the UUA 8th Principle, or other topics that emerge.
For more information about our Social Justice programs contact our Social Justice Committee Chair, Tanya Roberts.
(Last Revision: April 2023)