Educating, Organizing and Advocating
The Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California is a grassroots-led organization dedicated to lifting up impacted communities and those who share our values. Our work is directed and implemented by our all-volunteer Action Teams — groups of clergy and lay leaders who collaborate with partner organizations and UU congregations and justice-makers to make a difference. The teams average 6-12 members and are always looking for newcomers!
Established in 2014, the Economic Justice Action Team formed to tackle the important issues facing our state and nation in economic and worker justice. UUJM is working to educate and engage congregations and communities in tackling wage inequality, workers rights, housing and homelessness and systemic economic oppression. In the past two years, under the leadership of this team, UUJM has been at the forefront of getting eBay out of the American Legislative Exchange Council, supporting restaurant workers through the #DignityatDarden campaign, advocating for the rights of farmworkers and tackling affordable housing and homelessness in localities across the state.
Climate change has a profound impact on California’s water supply and quality. In turn, how much energy we use to pump and treat water can have a profound impact on our carbon footprint. Through our Environmental Justice Action Team, UUJM is building support for a climate and water justice ethic and partners with organizations that advance environmental justice in both the water and climate sectors. We organized for six years to pass the Human Right to Water Act. Now we are working to ensure its fair implementation while helping congregations and UU leaders work in their communities to alleviate environmental injustices, advancing meaningful climate legislation and tackling race-based land use planning.
UUJM worked for years on fixing our broken immigration system. We were a leading voice of progressive faith in advancing the TRUST Act, the first-of-its-kind legislation that sought to bring back some worth and dignity to immigrant families and pull back the overreaching powers of the federal government in tearing families apart. We currently organize with statewide and local partners to continue the progress we have made and ensure effective implementation of the TRUST Act, advance fair treatment of undocumented families and work to ensure our neighbors have access to the healthcare exchange that we all do.
The team also sponsors our UUBorders trips, three-day experiential learning opportunities for UUs that gives individuals the opportunity to meet and talk with those directly impacted by our broken immigration system, educates them on U.S. immigration policies and deepens their faith connection to immigration through UU-centered reflection and worship. For more information on this program, visit its website at uuborders.org
Our Equity Ministry program, started in 2015, is directed by Adam Dyer and is at the forefront of collaborative work around racial justice. Partnering with organizations such as PolicyLink, Guiding Rage Into Power (GRIP) and others, we are working to re-imagine incarceration and shift public policies from punitive and unjust to restorative and community-oriented.
Through this ministry we are working to build a coalition of impacted communities and allies to advance justice through community organizing, legislative advocacy and education. In 2016 we are advancing legislation aimed at redefining the purpose of incarceration and advocating for the passage of the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. For more information on these, please visit our e-Advocacy Portal at action.uujmca.org.
UUJMCA has worked on and is looking to work on a number of other issues as well. The Action Teams we have were created because individuals felt passionate about an issue and wanted to collaborate to make a difference. If you are interested in tackling education reform, reclaiming our democracy, or revitalizing our LGBTQQI Equality or Healthcare teams, please let us know.
UUJM has been a leader in the movement to secure legal recognition for same sex couples who wish to marry. Unitarian Universalist clergy have been officiating at the religious weddings of same-sex couples in our congregations for over 40 years and see this as an issue of religious freedom. As the founding organization for CA Faith for Equality, UUJM links UUs to interfaith organizing and contributed legal and organizing talent to multiple amicus briefs filed in the marriage equality cases in both California and federal courts, including those that turned the tide at the Supreme Court.
Our UU Voices for Healthcare curriculum for congregational use addresses the health care crisis, proposed solutions, and the ethical questions we face. Now that the ADA has passed and the economy is coming back, UUJM is working to restore the draconian cuts at all levels of government that have impacted so many families and to lift the vale on mental health awareness in our country.