About UUJMCA


Our Vision

We seek to develop the skills of civic engagement and faith-rooted organizing so that UUs across California can educate, organize, and advocate for public policies that:

  • uphold the worth and dignity of every person
  • further justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
  • ensure use of the democratic process
  • protect religious freedom
  • promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence

Our Mission

The mission of the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California is to advance justice in our state by cultivating and connecting leaders and communities, and by empowering the public voice of those who share Unitarian Universalist values and principles.


Our Goals

UUJMCA creates collaborative justice by connecting and using the powerful network of UUs in California. We work for collective liberation by putting our faith in action with accountable relationships with our coalition partners. Our faith calls us to achieve the following organizing reality:

  • California Unitarian Universalists have access to and participate in statewide justice education, advocacy, and witness that deepens their faith and changes life for the better in California.
  • California Unitarian Universalist justice leaders are trained, effective, inspiring and connected.
  • California Unitarian Universalist congregations have strong justice ministries.
  • California policy-makers and justice leaders value UUJMCA as a visible and credible partner in advancing justice in California.

Through the generation of faith-development resources, accessible programming, and accountable relationships, UUJMCA serves to support all UUs in California in putting their faith into public action.


Our Principles

As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant to affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part; and
  • journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountability dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.

Our Strategies

We seek to develop the skills of civic engagement and faith-rooted organizing so that UUs across California can educate, organize, and advocate for public policies that:

  • uphold the worth and dignity of every person
  • further justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
  • ensure use of the democratic process
  • protect religious freedom
  • promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence

Our History

In 2000, many California UUs worked together to oppose Prop 22, an anti-gay marriage initiative. While the initiative passed, UUs experienced the benefits of collaborative justice work on behalf of UU values.

In 2001, Karen Gunderson and The Rev Jody Shipley started outreach to leaders and congregations in the Pacific Central District (PCD)  and Pacific Southwest District (PSWD) to gauge their interest in a legislative ministry in California. Over 600 individual UUs endorsed the initial concept that later became the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California (UULM) and 25 percent donated money. This base, combined with planning grants from the UU Funding Program and support from the PCD and PSWD, enabled a statewide planning group to assemble. In December of 2002, this collective of UU justice leadership met at Neighborhood UU Church and formed the UU Legislative Ministry of California (UULM) creating is vision and mission and formed its first organizational leadership teams. Neighborhood UU Church in Pasadena served as the initial fiscal sponsor until UULM incorporated and secured its tax-exempt status in 2003.

A few years later, the UULM Action Network was established as a companion 501(c)(4). In the face of Prop 8 (anti-marriage equality), a PAC fund was established that allowed the UULM Action Network to raise and spend money on ballot measures in California. This PAC was used to coordinate the interfaith work against Prop 8 and, later to oppose Prop 23, linking with Environmental Justice organizations to successfully defeat an attempt by Texas oil interests to overturn California’s landmark climate change legislation AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. With the support of the UU Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, UULM embarked on a transformative strategic planning process in early 2013. 

Hosting 13 appreciative inquiry sessions, a young adult input session and an online survey and outreach campaign, UULM sought input on the future of the ministry. With assistance from The Rev Rob Eller-Isaacs and Laura Park of Unity Consulting UULM emerged with newly articulated values, a revised mission statement and defined goals. Continuing to focus on the pressing legislative issues of the day while strengthening our commitments to building congregationally-based justice ministries, developing UU justice leaders and empowering Unitarian Universalists, the board voted to change the name to the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California. 

Rev. Lindi Ramsden concluded her decade-long service with the ministry in 2013. After a six-month national search process Evan Junker was named Executive Director in September of 2013. Evan served in this role until January 2019, when Rev. Ranwa Hammamy became the third Executive Director of UUJMCA. In September 2021, we welcomed Pastor AJ Blackwood to the leadership and he became our new Executive Director in March 2022.

Over the last 20 years, the ministry has focused on critical issues of human and environmental rights as well as leadership development for justice ministries. In addition, the organization has demonstrated a long-term commitment to developing young adult leadership capacity. 

Internships, lobby days, regular justice immersion programs called “Justice Journeys” and the flagship young adult Spiritual Activist Leadership Training program (SALT) are among the strategies UUJMCA has utilized. UUJMCA has also helped the justice ministries of California UU congregations and clergy to be more collaborative, effective, timely, targeted and visible in the public square.


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