UUA President Peter Morales Issues Statement on Marriage Equality in New Jersey

PeterThe Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued the following statement applauding the legalization of same-sex marriage in New Jersey:

“Today, New Jersey becomes the 14th state to allow marriage equality ensuring equal rights for its citizens. It is a historic day and a victory for all who support justice and equality.

Many couples who have waited so long for this day are already applying for marriage licenses, and weddings are being performed by many Unitarian Universalist ministers across the state.

More and more Americans realize that marriage equality strengthens families, protects children, and ensures basic rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples. I applaud the work of those people and organizations, including our Unitarian Universalist congregations and ministers, who have fought so hard for so long for this cause.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision to drop his appeal against the court ruling is just another indication that marriage equality is here to stay.  As always, Unitarian Universalists will continue to stand on the side of love, and we look forward to the day when marriage equality is the right of all families.”

DRUUMM Regional Conference January 17-19, 2014

Diverse, Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM)* will present a full weekend Regional Conference January 17-19, 2014 at First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Diego, California. “Creating Family in Community” is the theme that sets the stage for intergenerational exploration of the ways we examine, redefine and name ourselves in relationship to others. In a spirit of openness and welcoming we build the beloved community, sometimes grappling with the tough issues of oppression and privilege, but always circling back to the ways we celebrate together with love, joy and compassion.

Friday night opens with a joyous celebration open to everyone. Hosted by poet and spoken word artist, Christopher D. Sims, the evening will feature an all ages line-up of local and imported poets, spoken word artists, musicians, and dramatists. Performers will have an opportunity to garner donations for their organizations that are in alignment with the vision of DRUUMM as we seek to build a meaningful anti-racist, anti-oppressive multicultural, multiracial community. Refreshments will be served at a late evening reception.

Saturday will be a day filled with workshops and identity caucuses for DRUUMM members and friends. Anyone is welcome who self-identifies as a Person of Color (not considered “White” in the USA, such as people with African, Asian/ Pacific Islander, Latino/Latina/ Chicano/Chicana/ Hispanic, Native American/ Indian/ First Nations, West Indian/ Caribbean, Middle Eastern, or multiracial heritage), or who has encountered personal oppression in overt or subtle forms because he or she appears to be of a racial or ethnic identity other than White or Anglo/European.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided. Saturday night’s family gathering dinner will give multicultural, multiracial families of many definitions and configurations an opportunity to relax and unwind together followed by some fun music and our best dance moves as we venture out to enjoy some of the sights and sounds of San Diego.

A bevy of DRUUMM ministers from across the country will preach at all three worship services on Sunday, 9:30 and 11:30 at the Hillcrest Campus and 9:30 at the South Bay Campus. All are welcome to attend. This remarkable event will reach even further in deepening our connections and understanding at a Sunday community luncheon and forum where the congregations will share their reflections with each other and then bid farewell to enjoy the beautiful San Diego region before heading home.

Registration fees and other details will be announced soon. The conference is partially sponsored by the church’s ROAR with SOUL (A Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Team) – We Resist Oppression And Racism with a Spirit of Openness, Understanding and Love.

Find out more by contacting Jan Carpenter Tucker, roarwithsoul@cox.net or Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/JTWSD

* DRUUMM provides support and advocacy for Unitarian Universalist (UU) People of Color (POC) and works to build a community in UUism. We work for self-determination, justice, and equal opportunity; empower our various ministries; celebrate our diverse heritages; overcome racism through resistance; and transform and enrich UUism through our multicultural experiences. We strive for an accountable relationship with our allies of Anglo/European descent for the purpose of building a larger UU community committed to transforming UUism into an anti-racist, ethnically multicultural movement.

While Government Shuts Down, Immigration Reform Steps Up

PeterRev. Peter Morales

President, Unitarian Universalist Association





As members of Congress continue to bicker and stall over the federal government shutdown, tens of thousands of people descended on the U.S. Capitol to redirect the conversation back to immigration reform.

On October 8, I was arrested along with faithful partners, committed organizers, and community leaders in Washington, D.C. We stood together, were handcuffed together, and led away together for one purpose — to tell Congress to get back to work on compassionate immigration reform. We hope that by momentarily suspending our freedoms, we give voice to the millions of people denied theirs every day.

As a leader in the Unitarian Universalist religious community, I felt compelled to come to Washington, D.C. as part of a 3-day event that began on October 5, National Day of Dignity and Respect, to bring attention to the 11 million immigrants currently being held hostage by the federal government because of inaction.

Immigration reform isn’t just a religious or partisan issue — it is a moral issue. Equality is not only a religious value, but a basic American value: there should be no “second class” U.S. citizen. One’s immigration status does not change their worthiness of basic human and civil rights. No one should be despised or scapegoated. No one should be criminalized unjustly. No human being is illegal.

I went to Washington and participated in peaceful civil disobedience to tell Congress that now is the time for compassionate immigration reform; now is the time to heal these broken families; now is the time to restore their hopes and dreams and to give them the respect and dignity they deserve. Please join me in sending this message to Congress. Contact your senators and representative today and tell them you want compassionate immigration reform now.

When I was elected the first Latino president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, I felt a sense of duty to bring attention to this issue. From the beginning of my presidency in 2009, I championed immigration reform as a moral issue within the Unitarian Universalist community leading to the adoption of our Statement of Conscience “Immigration as a Moral Issue” at the UUA’s 2013 General Assembly.

In 2010 in Phoenix, Ariz., along with local partners and Unitarian Universalists, I was arrested for civil disobedience in an effort to combat Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070. Afterwards, we worked with our UU state networks to defeat Arizona “copycat” bills across the nation and to support immigrant-friendly legislation. And we joined with other leaders of faith calling on President Obama to suspend deportations and grant administrative relief to migrant families while we wait for Congress to act.

It was a long struggle to finally convince Congress to pay attention to the issue of immigration reform. We must not let them turn their backs on 11 million people now. We must not let families continue to be torn apart. We cannot let our elected leaders fail us. We have the votes in the House of Representatives to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship–we just need the House to schedule the vote. And that is why the time is now. The consequences of inaction would be devastating for so many people living in this country–just this summer nearly 50,000 people were deported. We cannot let that number rise anymore. Please add your voice to mine. Contact your senators and representative today.

I invite you to stand on the side of love with me. Love keeps families together. Love respects the inherent worth and dignity of all people. And love has no borders.

Youth Leadership 101 Webinar

hands pic MLC 2010Want to know how to build the leadership capacity of your youth?  Looking for ideas on how to support your youth leaders?  Curious about how to make your mostly-adult committees welcoming and accessible to youth?

This webinar is intended for adults who work with youth (youth advisors, religious educators, ministers, etc) and focuses on best practices for fostering youth leadership, both within youth groups and as part of the larger community.

Some of what we’ll discuss:

  • Shared youth–adult leadership, with examples of how these ideas work in practice
  • Tips and tricks for supporting youth leaders
  • How to include youth on boards, committees, task forces and teams
  • Opportunities that your youth can take advantage of from the UUA

This webinar on October 15th at 3pm Eastern will be recorded and made available at a later date on the UUA website.

If you e-mail youth@uua.org to let us know you’re coming we’ll send you a reminder… but it’s not required.

Here’s how to join the webinar on October 15th:
FULL WEBINAR: To join the meeting from your computer or mobile device, click or copy and paste this URL into your browser:

PLEASE NOTE: You can listen in if you have speakers, but participating in discussion or asking questions requires a microphone.

AUDIO ONLY: To access the audio only (or to provide additional listening/participating capability to accompany the video on your computer):

  1. Dial +1-347-817-7654
  2. When prompted enter the pin number.
  3. Attendee Pin Number: 21588251

Having trouble joining this meeting?
Click or copy and paste this URL into your browser to visit the Fuze Support page:

– See more at: http://blueboat.blogs.uua.org/2013/10/01/youth-leadership-101-webinar/

Committees of the Unitarian Universalist Association

ChaliceThe Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Nominating Committee nominates candidates for all positions elected by the General Assembly except for President and Moderator. Candidates for elected positions may also be nominated by petition.

Positions to be elected at the 2013 General Assembly are: Board of Trustees, Financial Advisor, Presidential Search Committee, Commission on Appraisal, Commission on Social Witness, General Assembly Planning Committee, Ministerial Fellowship Board of Review, and Nominating Committee.

Read more if you are interested in serving the Unitarian Universalist Association on one of its appointed committees or fill out an online application form. The deadline to apply is December 15 for terms beginning in June 2014.

UUCSJ Associate for Administration and Enrollment

uusc_logoThe UUCSJ Associate for Administration and Enrollment is responsible for setting up, maintaining and operating the enrollment and administrative functions of the UU College of Social Justice. These include serving as the frontline of customer service for UUCSJ in handling inquiries, providing information and resolving problems; working with UUSC and UUA Communications Staff to develop program recruitment and communications strategies and assist in their implementation; ensuring that the uucsj.org website contains accurate, up-to-date program information and setting up application forms; assist UUCSJ staff in managing the process of screening, selecting and enrolling participants; collecting participant fees, and administering scholarship funds.

More information can be found on the UUSC website.

Luminary Leaders: Youth Leadership and Recognition Program

UUA logo blogLuminary Leaders are dedicated, inspiring and involved. They can be found in youth groups, congregations, districts and communities across the Association. The Luminary Leaders program is an opportunity for youth leaders to get more involved, network with one another, and be recognized for their skill and achievement.

Youth join the Luminary Leaders program through a simple registration process. All youth who register are added to our network of leaders, connecting them to one another at to both formal and informal leadership opportunities. Youth who additionally meet the criteria for recognition as accomplished youth leaders are awarded. These recognized leaders are presented with a certificate of recognition and a lapel pin.

If you consider yourself a leader, we want you to be part of this program. There are no limits to the number of youth we can accept.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the program.


UUA President Issues Statement on Zimmerman Verdict

PeterJuly 15, 2013

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued this statement on the George Zimmerman trial verdict:

A Florida jury has acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager. It is hard to imagine that if an unarmed white teenager had been shot and killed by an African American man that the verdict would have been the same. The legal system has had its say, but justice has not been served. As we search for meaning in the wake of these events, I remember the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

At this year’s General Assembly, delegates approved an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) condemning racist mistreatment of young people of color by police. The AIW stems from the work of author Michelle Alexander whose book The New Jim Crow describes the institutional racism behind the mass incarceration of people of color. The resolution calls on congregations to condemn the pattern of mistreatment of people of color through practices such as “stop and frisk” by police. It asks congregations to work with other congregations and other groups to stop this practice.

As president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, an institution committed to anti-racism and anti-oppression, I am committed to partnering with our congregations to put this work into action. We must respond to our society’s violence, hatred, and fear with compassion and justice. It has always been a matter of life and death. It always will be.

Justice Is Justice


Rev. Rosemary Bray McNattJustice Is Justice
Rev. Meg Riley

by Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt and Rev. Meg Riley

This week’s roller coaster Supreme Court sessions have left many liberal religious people queasy — that’s certainly what it’s done for us. Both of us are Unitarian Universalist ministers. One of us, a straight African-American woman, is a parish minister in New York City. The other is a lesbian white woman who ministers from Minneapolis. Both of us are allies in the larger struggle for justice in a profoundly unjust world. Today, we find ourselves needing to speak with one voice, refusing to be divided as we are both uplifted and outraged. We have been searching for adequate responses from our communities of birth and choice and finding them lacking.

The court’s ruling to throw out Section Four(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is an especially bitter blow, and not only because of its effect as a frontal assault on our democratic process. Our association of congregations has long championed the right of every American to vote, has participated in every major effort to secure that right, and has lost both clergy and laity in that effort: Viola Liuzzo, murdered in Mississippi in 1965, and the Rev. James Reeb, murdered in Selma, Alabama in 1965, were among the Unitarian Universalists who joined with others — religious and non-religious — to secure the blessings of liberty for every citizen during those terrible years. The actions of the Supreme Court this week make a mockery of those who fought and died in this epic struggle, and prove that our work is not yet done.


Wednesday’s ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act was a stark and welcome contrast, as the Court embraced one of our nation’s core concepts: equal justice under the law. Our faith community has labored long and hard for the rights of LGBTQI people, particularly for their right to marry. We established an office of gay and lesbian concerns in 1970, one year after Stonewall, one of the first faith voices to speak out loudly for lbgt equality. Our ministers began providing union services for same-sex couples as early as the 1950s, and our national movement spoke out with a statement on legal marriage equality in 1996. Unitarian Universalists have been plaintiffs, lawyers and street activists in every state struggle. Indeed, today Ugandan Unitarian Universalists carry on this struggle even in the face of death threats.

Yet the uneven and muted responses from leadership in the LGBT community in response to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, as well as tepid congratulations from leaders of People of Color groups, has made this week of both great loss and great progress end with us feeling we are at a stalemate. It’s painful to note how few LGBTQI groups joined in the amicus briefs filed in support of Shelby v. Holder, the voting rights case; it’s just as painful to see how few People of Color groups joined in the amicus briefs for Windsor v. US. Lukewarm responses like these serve to discourage the coalition building that is crucial to justice in our common lives. Not all LGBTQI people are white or male; not all endangered voters are black or Hispanic or heterosexual. Our reluctance to make common cause hinders our effectiveness at the very moment in our history when it is most necessary.

Limited victories, crushing losses — none of them are permanent. So long as we remain in our separate silos, we will always be vulnerable to a change in mood, a change in party or a shift in the polls. Once we really understand, believe and are willing to act based on the interconnectedness of our lives, we will stop issuing pro-forma joint statements of regret, as LGBTQI groups did on Tuesday and begin envisioning the urgent activism that is necessary. Once we know that our real power lies in coalition building for justice, we will not step away from the celebration of our LGBTQI sisters and brothers, as some civil rights groups did on Wednesday. We will learn to trust one another and learn to honor one another’s gains and losses. We will begin to understand the ways that each of us has been both marginalized and privileged within American society — and we won’t fall in love with either position. We will learn not to be played by anyone with a vested interest in keeping us at odds with one another, because we will be clear about one thing: justice is justice.

June is a rich month of commemoration and coalition. June marks the 49th anniversary of the murders of Freedom Riders Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Cheney; June marks the 46th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage; yesterday, June 28, is the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion that sparked what became the modern-day LGBTQI movement. In this month of converging struggles for justice, may each one of us recommit ourselves to the justice for every human being.