|History of Social Justice|
A Brief History of Social Justice in the
Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach
Compiled by Sandy Kroll April 3013
In keeping with the grand tradition of our denomination (Unitarian Universalist Association), we are committed to:
o a continuing search for truth,
o a deep and abiding belief in the inherent worth of every individual, and
o a reverence for the environment that surrounds, support and nurtures us.
Our commitment to social justice forms the core of our presence in the community.
Highlights of Our Social Justice Past
Presented in church programs renowned figures Eleanor Roosevelt, Carlos Romulo, Bertrand Russell, Linus Pauling, Edward Teller, Drew Pearson, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Kurt Vonnegut, and later Ray Bradbury, Ralph Nader, Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez.
Through the Women’s Alliance, collected, mended, and boxed thousands of pounds of clothing to ship to the Unitarian Service Committee for European refugees in the ‘40’s.
Provided a refugee family with housing and furnishings and helped them find jobs in the ‘50’s. Sponsored a second family, witnessing their adoption of citizenship.
Participated in a series of black-white discussion groups arising from the racial conflicts of the late 1960’s.
Participated in the Community Improvement League and the Extended Families program.
Participated in prisoner visitation program.
Conducted Vietnam draft counseling in the ‘70’s.
Became a Sanctuary Church in the ‘80’s, sheltering a Guatemalan family for 6-8 months, the father of whom had opposed the militia in his town.
Presented a one-day seminar on AIDS, followed by a “condom communion” at the Sunday worship service.
Actively supported the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee through Guest at Your Table, Promise the Children, Central American task force, and individual memberships.
Religious Education participants frequently sponsored special collections and family adoptions at the holiday time.
Participated in Reading in the Schools program, at Emerson Elementary School.
Religious Education participants adopted a disabled child’s family in the ‘80’s
Were among the first in the denomination to undertake the Welcoming Congregation program, an intentional step to becoming more welcoming, inclusive and understanding of people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities.
Created a Contfronting Racism Task Force, that for several years organized various all-church and District-wide events, including film showings, conferences, and trainings, focused on our own church and denomination.
Actively participated, over the years, in the following Congregational Study/Action Issues undertaken by the UUA:
* Economic Globalization
* Criminal Justice & Prison Reform
* Creating Peace
* Immigration as a Moral Issue
* Reproductive Justice (current)
Established an Anti-Racism Transformation Team that addressed issues related to oppression and racism, aimed at building a
welcoming and diverse church community.
Took many steps toward becoming a Green Sanctuary including reforming practices at the church, offering vegetarian cooking classes, and advocating for “green” issues in the community.
Actively participated in many aspects of the campaign to defeat Proposition 8, which denies marriage rights to gay couples.
Led by our ministerial intern, participated in multi-generaltional street retreats, here and in San Francisco, leading to greater understanding of conditions for people who live on the streets.
Among the first in the denomination to declare our congregation’s support of the New Sanctuary Movement.
Participated in the denomination’s “Diversity of Ministry” program, with education process paving the way for successful, long-term settlements for ministers of color.
Participated in a Habitat for Humanity build in Long Beach.
Included 19 members and friends on a trip to New Orleans for rebuilding, following Hurricane Katrina.
Took eight people from the congregation on the first-ever Border Trip sponsored by the Pacific Southwest District of the UUA.
Sent 49 people from the congregation to the special “Justice General Assembly” held in Phoenix in June, 2012, including many supported by special fund-raising events.
Helped to sponsor two events to raise funds and awareness for undocumented students at CSULB: “Dreamers”
Repeated the entire Welcoming Congregation program once, and recently presented special programs about transgendering.
Have maintained active membership in the South Coast Interfaith Council since this group became truly interfaith.
Became founding members of the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization, a faith-based grassroots organizing group, which now represents a dozen churches and 12,000 families in the city of Long Beach.
Through our activities in ICO and with the support of the denomination, were a crucial element in the establishment of Long Beach’s first year-round shelter, Project Achieve, opened in 2004.
Current & Ongoing Social Justice Activities
Planning strategy to support reclassification felonsiesunder Prop 47 to misdeeanors.
Contribute, through our monthly special collections, to social causes within our own community
Working with the greater community including Citizen's Climate Lobby, CCL, to combat climate change throught education and lobbying.
“Faith in Action” programs in the Religious Education department undertake several projects during the church year; a highlight is the Backpack Project, benefiting students who are homeless.
Participate in the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade and Festival, and in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Peace & Unity Parade.
Enrich ESL classes held at St. Athanasius Church by participating in the Coffee & Conversation program.
Serve as Guest Chef 4-5 times a year at Project Achieve.
Conduct a monthly Eco-Justice Film Series.
Welcome marginalized community groups to use our facilities at reduced rates, or without charge.
Are actively involved, as individuals and as groups within the church, in community action programs and social justice issues.