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.
Much of our work is led & shaped by our all-volunteer Organizing Action Teams — groups of lay leaders and clergy who collaborate with partner organizations & communities to make a difference. Working alongside UU congregations, UUJMCA staff & volunteers mobilize faith-rooted justice-makers to engage in strategic, relational, and intersectional approaches to liberation.
We also support the varied ministries of those who participate in our statewide “Justice Collectives,” which are networks that connect UUs and UU-aligned justice makers all around the state who are working on similar issues. These collectives connect through monthly statewide calls, UUJMCA’s Slack Workspace, and email groups.
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 Climate & Environmental Justice Collective & our Climate Justice Organizing Action Team, UUJMCA is building support for a movement that respects and reveres the worth and dignity of all creation. Our mission historically called on us to partner with organizations that advance environmental justice in both the water and climate sectors, and we organized for six years to pass the Human Right to Water Act. Now as we are working to ensure its fair implementation, we are also called to help congregations and UU leaders work in their communities to alleviate additional environmental injustices. We do this not only by advancing meaningful climate legislation, but also by tackling race-based land use planning that violates the sacred land of our indigenous siblings and advocating for a California free from fossil fuel extraction, production, and use.
In 2014, UUJMCA’s Economic Justice Action Team formed to tackle the important issues facing our state and nation in economic and worker justice. UUJMCA continues working to educate and engage congregations and communities in tackling wage inequality, workers rights, housing and homelessness, and systemic economic oppression. UUJMCA 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. We are now ramping up with the Poor People’s Campaign, connecting UUs in this movement moment and providing theological groundings and legislative outlets to compliment the larger movement before us. UUJMCA is also a proud supporter of the Medicare for All effort, happening at both the state and national level, and encourages UUs to learn from and organize with local communities leading this life-saving call for justice.
UUJMCA worked for years on dismantling the oppression embedded in our racist immigration system — advocating for the passage of the Trust Act, the Truth Act and — most recently — the SB54, the California Values Act. We currently organize with statewide and local partners to continue the progress we have made and ensure effective implementation of the SB54, advance fair treatment of undocumented families, and work to ensure our neighbors have access to the healthcare exchange that we all do. We are now actively supporting the passage of AB937, the VISION Act, which would close critical loopholes that continue to rip apart immigrant families and communities.
Our Immigrant Justice Action Team 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
With access to healthcare under attack, UUJMCA is working to advance Healthcare for All, something thought too far fetched as recently as a year ago. As part of a larger coalition, UUJMCA is educating and engaging UUs in moving healthcare as a human right to reality.
Unitarian Universalists affirm the worth and dignity of all, and UUJMCA knows that our current “criminal justice system” violates that principle. Looking at any incarceration statistics in the United States or California, we see a clear example of a society that is still riddled with institutional racism and systemic oppression. The existing structures of mass incarceration, detention, and policing all have roots in white settler colonialism, white supremacy, and slavery. We know the answer to affirming the worth and dignity of every person is not in the reform of these structures. It is in their abolition, alongside the development and support of community resources and services, and practices of restorative justice that heals collectively.