Social Action Support and Resources
This website has many social action resources!
< —-See list on the left-hand side bar on this page.
Find current Social Action Opportunities HERE.
First Parish Social Action GROUPS:
Support and Resources
know how to connect up with local UU coalitions, regional and state groups, and with impactful national and international UU social action networks
collaborate more with local interfaith and non-sectarian entities
plan an event or two each year with one of your fellow FPC social action groups
recruit new members to your group
develop activities in a new area within your justice issue
learn new leadership skills such as running efficient, effective, and inspiring monthly meetings
master the practices, including technology, of publicizing and holding great events
Help with the above and more are only an email, phone call, or zoom meeting away with the Social Action Manager!
First Parish in Concord (FPC) social action groups are warmly encouraged to avail themselves of the firstparish.org website resources within the Justice tab pages. The content is often updated and expanded. It reflects current action opportunities within our very own Church as well as our vibrant greater UU world. The full-time Social Action Manager invites all FPC social action groups to bring any questions and requests for assistance to her. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the FPC social action community, collects all of their best practices and new ideas and endeavors—like jewels—and keeps those gems in a “treasure chest” to open frequently and share with everyone.
First Parish INDIVIDUALS and FAMILIES:
Support and Resources
Contact the full-time Social Action Manager if you or you and your family would like to:
discuss your social action passions and explore how they connect to what is already happening within the social action community of our Church and the wider UU world
explore advancing a new social action area that is not yet vibrant at our Church
bring a strong element of UU-ism into your social action work
add spiritually to your social action practice
integrate your children into UU social action
Please contact our Social Action GROUP leaders and our Social Action Manager who are ready to listen and offer support.
Have time for Social Action Study This Summer?
Below are the Social Action Manager’s Picks, and she welcomes more suggestions.
Women’s Reproductive Rights
Get up to speed on the latest in reproductive rights in Massachusetts via the MA NARAL Chapter https://prochoicemass.org/
Learn the History through video “Reproductive Rights & the Women Who Sparked a Movement: Retro Report” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okn7DuxQpas
Watch the online series by the Transforming Hearts Collective and UU leaders “Transgender Inclusion in Congregations.” It is relevant to understanding all kinds of gender bias. First Parish in Concord has bought access, and congregants can request the codes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The six part topics are: Introduction to Beloved Community: Welcome as a Spiritual Practice; Gender and Our Faith Community; Unpacking the Gender Binary; Trans Experience and Spirituality; The Role of Culture in Trans Exclusion; Creating Culture Shift
First Nations Peoples
UU College of Social Justice Study Resources on Solidarity with First Nations https://uucsj.org/study-resources/
Explore the past, present, and future of the U.S. and crisis of democracy http://reclaimourdemocracy.org/how-did-this-happen/
UU College of Social Justice Study Resources on Climate LINK
UU Environmental Practioners Network Webinar Series LINK
Want to know enough to take on climate deniers? Take the popular online course “Denial101X”
UU College of Social Justice Study Resources on Immigrant Justice LINK
On Immigrant Justice by the Southern Poverty Law Center LINK
Get up to speed with The Movement for Black Lives
Use the UU Breathe Act TOOLKIT to Understand Our Role in ” that would fundamentally shifting how we envision community safety: away from policing, prisons, and militarization of our borders and our communities, and toward investing in and sustaining thriving cities and neighborhoods based on principles of fairness and inclusion.
Delve into Racism with SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
Debby Irving’s 21 Day Challenge https://debbyirving.com/21-day-challenge/
1619 Project LINK
Read recent best-seller: The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee about pervasive White attitude that what minorities gain means they must lose.
Poverty and Inequality
Upstream Podcast LINK Radical ideas and inspiring stories for a just transition to a more beautiful and equitable world
How to Put Together a Land Acknowledgment
of the Native Peoples Who Lived Here
More and more UU conferences and meetings, especially for social justice themes, are starting out with a Land Acknowledgment. Social Action communities, beyond the UU realm, are also using Land Acknowledgments. Sometimes, audience members are asked to share who the native tribes were on the lands they live. Therefore, it is useful for you to be ready. However, a mere casual mention of the tribal names can be deemed culturally insensitive if not also including some other important elements of a Land Acknowledgment.
- Do your research and be accurate about which tribes occupied the lands in question. Here’s a MAP to locate your area.
- Delve deeper. What historic records can you access about the tribes? Note that the Concord Museum and Massachusetts-based historians have made many primary sources available on the Net. See Exploring “Land Acknowledgments” in Culturally Sensitive Ways LINK
- Acknowledge that the lands of the pre-colonial/pre-European peoples were not readily ceded. What happened to the First Peoples who were there? Was it disease, warfare, destruction, enslavement, displacement, dispossession of a means to live, dishonoring of treaties?
- Acknowledge that the outsized benefit we now receive from those lands were not ordained to us. There is a historic narrative that many Americans believe, without contemplation, that European occupation was inevitable, an improvement, and a progressive movement foreword in human history
- Make a point about surviving descendants, today. “Indians” are not extinct beings nor legends nor mascots.
- Think about expressing appropriate sorrow, contrition, apology, etc., given the immense tragedy and stain on our early colonial history and continuing oppression of indigenous peoples today.
- MOST IMPORTANT: Describe ACTION you and/or your group are taking to redress the wrongs. Our UU Association and State Action Networks are offering many significant ways to make restitution by following the lead and specific requests for allied help that tribal bodies are putting forward today. For example, our UU Mass Action state network is supporting the legislative priorities of Massachusetts-based tribal leadership, and you can help advocate on their behalf.
One of many possible Land Acknowledgments for our Church:
“We of First Parish in Concord acknowledge the debt we owe to the Native peoples from whose unceded lands we have greatly but wrongly profited for almost 400 years. We apologize to the living decedents of the Nipmuc, Massachusetts and Pawtucket or Pennacook tribes and pledge to act to start to redress long-standing harms. Our UU legislative priorities, informed by the expressed wishes of state First Nations people today, guide our actions.”
Understanding and Sharing About the 8th Principle
Are you ready to explain the importance of the 8th Principle to others who exclaim, “But, the 7 Principles already imply the 8th Principle!” Actually, they do not. Reading our 7 Principles does not alert us to our UU responsibility to dismantle white supremacy culture and to address racism and other harmful -isms. Although, as of the Spring of 2021, First Parish in Concord, had not yet, formally, moved to adopt the 8th Principle, our Church has been living that Principle and been accountable to it in both explicit and implicit ways. RE deliberately includes the 8th Principle in its curriculum. Its precepts underlay approaches of the Music and Pastoral care ministries, of worship services, of expressed Church mission, and, of course, of the Social Action ministries. Still, a deliberate adoption might hasten more substantial changes towards the type of church and congregation we aspire to be. More and more people in our Church are starting to work towards adoption of the 8th Principle.
Find detailed background information HERE. The wording of the originally proposed 8th Principle by Paula Cole-Jones and Bruce Pollack-Johnson reads:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
Some easier ways to think about it include looking at our UU 7 Principles and acknowledging that spouting them as mere aspirations like “the Golden Rule” plays lip service to our spiritual practice of Unitarian Universalism. For each one of the seven, far too many people are barred from ever enjoying them due to rampant racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, and all of those ugly -isms in our U.S. history and today. Intentionally and deliberately breaking down these barriers to equity and inclusivity is a very active approach to our religion and requires some inner change and bold endeavors. It is incumbent on us, as UUs, to make our world a better place for all and not trust that Heaven will sort out injustices. We can start inside our very Church and move outward, in concentric circles. The 8th Principle is critically important because it does not let us off the hook from doing this essential work, without which, our own spirits can be impaired.
BLUU (Black Lives UU) provides some explication on its website: “While Unitarian Universalists have no creeds to which one must attest, our living tradition is a faith guided by principled action. As such, we wonder why the dismantling of white supremacy, as implicated in the 8th principle, has not been formally included in our covenant as Unitarian Universalists.
We are not satisfied by paradigms of reconciliation without accountability. We will not be satisfied by practices that call for community without full and explicit recognition of the need for equity and justice.” REFERENCE
Blue also explains how the 8th Principle is tied to our 7 Principles from a Black perspective LINK
Become an Abolitionist! (of Policing and Prisons)
We UUs have a proud history in the forefront of anti-slavery work. How would you like to be a modern-day abolitionist? The platform of UU partner–the Movement for Black Lives–includes a call to abolish policing and prisons. Mere reform is not enough.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch constantly deplore our over reliance on imprisonment, especially by privatized prisons; the U.S. is unique in this respect. With only 5 percent of the Earth’s population, the U.S. accounts for nearly a quarter of the entire world’s prison population. African Americans and Hispanics make up more than half of those in our prisons despite being less than a third of our population. We have the most imprisoned women and the most imprisoned juveniles. Amnesty continues to call for a halt to what they see as politically-motivated mass incarceration with its many concurrent human rights abuses. They also document rampant racism in our criminal justice system.
So, what is the alternative? The Movement for Black Lives urges us to be visionary and future-oriented. It states: “We know the safest communities in America are places that don’t center the police. What we’re looking for already exists, and we already know it works. We need look no further than neighborhoods where the wealthy, well-connected, and well-off live, or anywhere where there is easy access to living wages, health care, quality public education, and freedom from police terror.”
In other words, well-served neighborhoods, not policing, make for healthy community outcomes. Rich folks suffer from alcoholism and the opioid pandemic, from schizophrenia and mental illnesses, from learning and other disabilities. Rich folk suffer from domestic violence, aggressive and negligent car accidents, and youthful foolish behavior. But residents of wealthier neighborhoods can access community assistance and afford private help and competent legal defense. You can inform yourself about restorative justice–a visionary and humane alternative that Concord has offered our youth for decades so that they can avoid an arrest record. Cities across the country are discussing defunding the police and offering everyone the healthful resources that a place like Concord has. In sum, our faith calls upon us to work for a loving, caring world where no child is born at high risk of incarceration. Members of our congregation are knowledgeable and involved in this mission.