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Engage in hundreds of COVID-safe UU social action opportunities!

At First Parish in Concord, you are CONNECTED to social action through vibrant Church groups, collaborating with neighboring UU churches and interfaith and cross-sector groups.   You are also CONNECTED through our greater UU local, national, and international agencies in coalition with sectarian and non-sectarian networks.  The respectful “way” of UU social action is to support local partners and “step back” to allow people most affected by injustice to provide direction. 

SOCIAL ACTION GROUPS

AT FIRST PARISH IN CONCORD

All who share our UU values are welcome to participate, agreeing to convenants of cooperative endeavor.  Contact leaders to learn more or show up to your first meeting in your respectful listening and learning mode. View our Church Calendar. Subscribe to FP Weekly for details about Social Action Opportunities.   Attend 10:00 a.m. COVID-safe Sunday services where social action is a part of worship.  Find actions and articles updated weekly on our Facebook page.  Questions?  Contact socialaction@firstparish.org.

Advocates for Women’s Empowerment (AWE)

Leaders:  Lora Venesy  Suzie Weaver

Meets: Contact Lora at venesy@comcast.net for date and time of next meeting and also if you wish to subscribe to the AWE newsletter.

AWE formed in response to a vote at the 2012 UU General Assembly, to support reproductive justice as a faith.  Activities include:  Advocacy at the Statehouse, marches, volunteering, educational events such as monthly feminist films, book discussions, and presentations.  AWE is open to anyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, identity, faith, etc. We envision a world where all genders work to promote choices, access and agency, and to optimize women’s quality of life by removing social, economic, political and institutional barriers.  AWE is a social action group dedicated to advancing women’s rights and improving their lives through advocacy, direct action and education.

Diversity Committee

Leader: Sara Ballard

Diversity CommitteeFirst Parish is a Welcoming Congregation for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification or expression. The Diversity Committee builds community awareness with films, speakers, and participation in the annual Boston Gay Pride Parade.

Environmental Team

Leader: solar panelsGail Kharidia

Meets: the first Sunday of each month at 7:30 pm.

First Parish in Concord is an accredited Green Sanctuary congregation, but our work has just begun.  A Greening the Campus initiative is currently working on moving our multiple buildings off of fossil fuel heating and insulating.

The 7th UU Principle affirms our “respect for the interdependent web of existence, of which we are a part.” We “honor all beings” and work for a greater appreciation of our interconnections with the natural world. How and where we live, work, play, and pray impact all beings, now and for future generations.

ET provides leadership in translating this principle into individual and community action.  We work closely with UU Mass Action, MassPowerForward and a regional group of neighboring UU churches.  Email Robert Andrews or Gail Kharidia to be added to our listserv and join the team.

Immigration Justice Task Force

Leaders: Tony Rodriguez or Laurie Van Loon

Meets: the first Monday of each month at 7:00 pm.

Immigration is an extremely complex and moral issue. Extreme violence in other countries has led to increased flight to the US for safety at the same time as domestic political forces are denying access to entry, and treating as criminals those already here. The actions of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at local levels have escalated to include raids, detentions, and violations of human rights against non-criminal residents of the Boston area and all around the country.

The First Parish Immigration Justice Task Force convened in early 2017 and since then we  …

  1. Act – We call on all members of our group and First Parish in Concord to show up for justice and take action in this time of crisis. Together we confront the injustices of our immigration system and the effects of racism and xenophobia on our immigrant neighbors.
  2. Collaborate – We identify and collaborate with other Immigration Justice groups, formal or informal, faith and non-faith based groups, as leaders, followers and supporters.
  3. Educate – We educate ourselves and our fellow parishioners about the immigration crisis in our country.

IJTF is part of a regional interfaith coalition, all supporting an undocumented immigrant asylum-seeker in sanctuary.

Find us on Facebook

Racial Justice Action Group

Contacts: Leslie Fisher or Cindy Soule

Meets: the third Monday of each month for 7:00 pm check-in and 7:30-9:00 pm business meeting  (See FP Weekly)

The Racial Justice Action Group is committed to increasing racial justice through deepening our own understanding of racism, white supremacy, and white privilege and taking action to support communities of color who are leading the struggle for racial justice. RJAG takes action to:

  1. Realign congregational goals, mission, and decision-making processes to support racial justice.
  2. Continue and deepen a spiritually-grounded education and change process about race and racial justice.
  3. Create opportunities for more interactions for congregants across racial and cultural lines, including increasing the congregation’s ability to embrace more diversity.
  4. Support activists and activism in the congregation in the service of racial justice.

We welcome all who are interested in joining this effort.

Reclaim Our Democracy

Leader: Fred Van Deusen

Meets: the second Wednesday of each month to plan future events and actions

Reclaim Our Democracy is an inclusive, collaborative, multi-partisan movement to limit and control the corrupting influence of money on elections and politicians. Our goal is to reclaim our democratic rights as citizens of the United States of America to have a government that truly represents and supports the needs and desires of all people.  We:

  • Help grow the democracy movement
  • Educate ourselves and others
  • Organize learning events
  • Collaborate with other organizations
  • Support actions to reclaim our democracy

View the Reclaim Our Democracy Website for more information about our group and our activities

Find the latest democracy news on Reclaim Our Democracy’s Facebook page

Women’s Parish Association

WPA liaison to the Social Action Council: Marilyn Lowitt

Membership to the Women’s Parish Association (WPA) is open to any member of First Parish in Concord, who is sympathetic to our mission. Contact Membership chair Lois Whitney  lois.whitney@gmail.com, for information or to join us. WPA events are published in FP Weekly

The WPA was founded in 1881, as an independent organization, at a time when women had no voice in First Parish governance. We have a broad-based mission and strong roots in social action. Then and now, we have championed women’s rights and civil liberties and fought poverty locally and worldwide. The WPA raises funds to support social advocacy work. We are intergenerational and collaborate with other FPC social action groups. The welfare and elevation of women and children, support for First Parish itself and the broader Unitarian Universalist community, including our Partner Church in Transylvania, are our priorities.

The WPA board meets monthly at First Parish and conducts its annual meeting each fall. All are welcome to our programs throughout the year. We are grateful to the many volunteers who work with us on community events.

OTHER: Social Action Project Committees

Microfinance Group

Leader: Toby Smith Ropeik

A group of parishioners administers a small pool of social justice funds to award microloans to entrepreneurs around the world, through the online microfinance organization kiva.org. These loans are so small that traditional lending institutions would not even consider them. As microloan repayments accumulate each month, the group then makes new loans.  Loans are selected to reflect many of the social justice priorities and interests identified within our congregation: environmental concerns, women, racial justice, and immigration. If you are interested in joining the group, email Toby.

 

THE GREATER WORLD

OF UU SOCIAL ACTION

In addition to First Parish in Concord’s (FPC) particular groups, UU local, national, and international social action entities offer resources, events, trainings, retreats, trips, associations, legislative advocacy, and more!

LOCAL

UU Mass Action  provides invaluable support to FPC social action groups, leveraging the power of all our Massachusetts UU congregations alongside justice partners.  It creates semi-annual UU legislative priorities lists and coordinates advocacy days, state-house rallies, and legislative action alerts.  It offers events, trainings, working groups, and more almost every week of the year.

UU Urban Ministry in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, provides Arts, Humanities and youth programs and domestic violence services

NATIONAL

Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ) leverages the power of congregations and allies across the U.S.  It creates national legislative priorities, offers briefings and other presentations and then advocacy opportunities through letter-writing, petitions, working groups, visits to Congress, and more.

UU Ministry for the Earth with its Climate Network, offers a wide array of resources, activities and special opportunities for young adults ages18-35.

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism  is committed to expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs, providing support, information and resources for Black UUs, and justice-making and liberation through our faith.

Living Legacy Project  educates about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and enduring legend (includes trips). 

UU Women’s Federation  focuses on key public policy priorities: reproductive justice, immigration reform, economic justice, and other issues as these impact women and girls. 

UU Side With Love campaigns for Immigrant, Racial, and LGBTQ+ Justice

UUA LGBTQ+ pursues justice and equity initiatives

INTERNATIONAL

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights on an international scale with and through local partners in the U.S. and around the globe.

UU College of Social Justice   offers immersion learning journeys, justice training programs, summer internships, and direct volunteer opportunities with partner organizations in the U.S. and abroad. All programs are designed to help people cross boundaries, gain insight, and imagine new ways to make a difference in the world

UUs for Justice in the Middle East  works within the UU community to educate and mobilize individuals, congregations and denominational leaders to recognize and counter inequality and injustice in Palestine-Israel.

UUA Office at the United Nations  engages UUs in support of international cooperation and the work of the UN