Our Work is Justice

“(Peace is) not a matter of the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.”— The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

About the PSD Social Justice Program Area: Peace and justice are common themes in the work of Unitarian Universalists who are involved in social action. The UU Social Justice Network brings together individuals and congregations who are dedicated to making a difference in their congregation, community or world.

Mission: While honoring social service, move congregations from service-only work to effecting long-term systemic change.

Vision: Every PSD Congregation has access to information, training, partnership, and assistance for social change organizing.

Taking Action: We look for effective ways to debate and act. We know these times demand the voice of justice in our congregations, the broader society and the world. UU Social Justice Network offers opportunity for taking action by:

  • Organizing District and community projects
  • Encouraging local congregations to share their social justice experiences with others
  • Teaching organizing principles so that new groups may be effective in facilitating positive personal and social change.

While it is true that a single person, working one on one, can have an important impact in the arena of social justice work, the empowerment of group action raises more voices to more ears, so that those who might not act alone will be willing to join with others to create change. The UU Social Justice Network provides resources to congregations so that they can take effective steps to start the change process.

Please see current resources on the MidAmerica Region Social Justice page!

gcolors18fc656cd2265207289f1c889a49297c6 123x150Growing Racial And Cultural Equity

Background

In August of 2006 the Board of Prairie Star District begain the work of claiming an anti-racist identity for our District. The Board recognized that changing institutions requires understanding structural levels and function and understanding the stages through which organizations move to become anti-racist.The PSD Board began by engaging in a day long workshop on Equipping Institutions to Dismantle Racism facilitated by MCARI (Minnesota Collaborative Anti-Racism Initiative) on Friday August 25, 2006.

In 2007 the Board created what was orginally named the Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression/Multiculturalism (ARAOMC) Transformation Team.

The Team was asked

  • to research anti-racism work being done by other districts in the UUA
  • to identify the assistance and support available from various offices at the UUA as well as from other sources in our region
  • to create a plan for developing a systemic analysis of racism within the district
  • to develop a plan to educate the district member churches to become conscious of the ways in which the district documents, structures, and practices maintain privilege and access primarily for white people

GRACE Team Members were:

Kelley Hughes, MN Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bloomington, MN
Rev. Jay Wolin, UU Congregation of the Quad Cities, Davenport, Iowa
Nathan Woodruff, Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

Projects & Activities

Congregational Survey on Anti-Oppression Work

In January 2008 the Grace Team distributed a brief survey to each congregation or fellowship in the Prairie Star District. The purpose of the survey was to compile an overview of the anti-oppression work being done in the District and to learn how the GRACE team could be of assistance.

Eighteen congregations/fellowhips (highlighted) responded to the survey.

The Survey consisted of asked demographic information about the church (size, location, attendance) and the following four questions:

  • What anti-racism/anti oppression projects has your congregation done or participated in within the last two years? The last five years?
  • What anti-racism/anti oppression projects in your congregation are currently ongoing?
  • If your congregation is not engaged in anti-racism/anti oppression work now, what are the barriers to that work for the congregation?
  • What would your congregation need to get started on a program of anti-racist/anti-oppression work? [leadership, educational materials, inspirational preaching, etc.]

Annual Conference 2008

The Grace Team sponsored a workshop entitled Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive, Multicultural Unitarian Universalism for All at the 2008 District Conference. Facilitated by GROUNDWORK (the Anti-Racism training and organizing program of Unitarian Universalist youth and young adults), the workshop was repeated during each session. The workshops were well attended and provided participants with the opportunity to learn, to listen, and to share their stories.

Annual Board Retreat 2008

Grace Team members attended the Board Retreat in August 2008. In preparation for the retreat, Board Members had agreed to read Grace team member Patricia Jimenez’s writing in the book SoulWork. At the retreat, Patricia lead the Board, the Program Council, and other Grace team members in facilitated discussion aimed at exploring how we see ourselves and one another in the context of race and culture.

2009 Pre-Conference GRACE Gathering #1

Grace Team hosted the first Grace Gathering on Friday, April 4, 2009 in Duluth, MN before the PSD Annual Conference.

gcolors1

 

­