Democracy In Action Beyond Our Church Doors

by Michael Wilson and Leslie McGeorge, Faith Action Ministry

As Unitarian Universalists, we should all be interested in our democracy and how to make it work better for everyone. The word democracy means “the people rule.” If you think about it, all that we cherish and depend on for our freedoms, and a sustainable world, requires a healthy democracy. The extent to which we all participate in sharing the responsibilities of ruling directly results in the strength or weakness of democracy.

There are twenty-six state-based UU social advocacy networks in the country, including one for New Jersey, UUFaithActionNJ, and one for Pennsylvania, UUJusticePA, covering most of UUCWC’s members and friends. These two organizations provide us with key opportunities to get directly involved with democracy and faith-based advocacy, and to work together to change the world. If you would like to stay informed about the activities and actions of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania faith action networks, please email and ask to be added to the distribution list. And consider joining our church postcarding efforts or other advocacy actions announced through this distribution list and UUCWC for both state networks.

Michael Wilson is UUCWC’s liaison to UUFaithActionNJ. Mike sees his role as one of encouraging us to think about freedom and how democracy protects it. You can choose to take the next step and pay attention to how UUFANJ can supplement your work to support democracy and freedom. UUFANJ has six task forces; each one provides many ways to get actively involved in democracy-related New Jersey legislation. They are: Environmental Justice, Reproductive Justice, Criminal Justice Reform, Immigration Justice, Reparations, and Gun Violence Prevention.

Leslie McGeorge and Lynne Molnar are UUCWC’s liaisons to UUJusticePA. Leslie and Lynne see their role as encouraging us to raise our voices to support Pennsylvania legislation and policies that advance our UU values. Too often, many of us are not aware of Pennsylvania legislative or executive actions (or inactions) on important social justice issues. UUJusticePA makes us aware of these issues so we can take timely actions, such as writing letters after Sunday services to our legislators and the Governor. You can choose to be more engaged in democracy and get involved with one or more of the seven Pennsylvania justice teams. They include Good Government, Environmental Justice, Reproductive Justice, Criminal Justice Reform, LGBTQIA+ Justice, Economic Justice, and Gun Violence Prevention.

The church would maximize its impact for change by having a UUCWC representative on each of the task forces identified above. If you are passionate about the work of any of the individual teams, it would be beneficial to have you join a team. Presently, UUCWC members sit on the New Jersey Environmental Justice team and the Pennsylvania Good Government and Environmental Justice teams. If you are a member of one of the state network teams, or would like to become a member, please let Mike (NJ) or Leslie (PA) know.

Get out the Vote 2024 – In previous election years, UUCWC members wrote thousands of letters and postcards to encourage voters to go to the polls. In 2024, both state action networks will again be working with partner organizations and the national UU Get Out the Vote effort. Jamie Evanini has kindly offered to coordinate our church letter and postcard writing once again with two key UU partners, Vote Forward and Reclaim Our Vote. Stay tuned for more detailed information on opportunities to Get Out the Vote – a fundamental democracy action.

It is your choice to be involved, it is your democracy, it is your freedom. The fewer of us who are involved, the weaker the democracy and easier it is to lose our freedoms and a healthy planet. If you can find twenty minutes a week or twenty hours, every bit helps. We are happy to share further information about ways you can get involved.