Keynote Speaker Friday, April 28, 7:45 p.m.

Making A Difference in a Globalized Age: Lessons from the Field

Johanna Chao Rittenburg Manager, UUSC Economic Justice Program

Learn more about the impact of civil society movements from all over the world as Johanna shares stories from the economic justice partnerships and human rights and workers rights program being developed at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. She will describe how local community-based efforts (such as PSD, UU Small Group Ministries, social action committees, and youth groups) have become vital members of coalitions that tap into larger policy and advocacy efforts for social and economic justice. She will conclude by examining the theological roots of our faith, which provide a foundation for faith in action.

Before coming to the UUSC, Johanna worked as a community organizer and activist on racial and social justice projects and as a mediator in the district court system. She helped build bridges between diverse communities on contentious issues, and started several policy projects and organizations focused on the immigrant and Asian-Pacific Islander community. Johanna has degrees from Stanford University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and was named a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow in 2005.

Judy Lecture Saturday, April 29, 9:00 a.m.

The Revolution Starts Now

The Rev. Valerie Mapstone Ackerman, MSW, MDiv Red Dog Farm and Retreat Center, Haskell, OK 

At a time when words like peace, compassion, understanding, and reason have become suspect, it is the duty of peaceful, compassionate, and reasonable people to stand up and make their voices heard. This revolutionary idea must include a gentle spirit and a commitment to non-violent action. It is possible to change the course of human events, but only if we prepare ourselves in mind, body, and spirit. Because Unitarian Universalism has always borne a heretical heart in matters religious and social, let us fulfill our legacy and step forward to be the change we want to see in the world.

Valerie grew up in a working class town near Pittsburgh, PA. Married young and divorced quickly, she knows the social welfare system from the client’s side. After graduating with degrees from the Universities of Pittsburgh and Michigan, and from Meadville-Lombard Theological School, she worked with young people, in reproductive health care, as an advocate for homeless children, and for residents of public housing. A community organizer, politician, therapist, and adjunct faculty member of the School of Social Work at U-Michigan, she has served UU congregations in four states. Her ministry now includes itinerant preaching, consulting with UU boards and congregations, advocacy for peace and justice, hosting spiritual retreats and discussion groups, and award-winning writing.

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