Q&A on the Process and a Task Force Application Social justice is a direct expression of our UU faith and a vital part of congregational life. The Social Justice Council (SJC) amplifies our UU voice in the public square, and deepens our sense of spiritual community as we build the Beloved Community together.
Each spring, the SJC coordinates a process whereby First Parish members identify and prioritize justice concerns; and then vote to commission task forces to act on our behalf. The SJC supports the task forces and helps people in the congregation to get involved. The SJC works closely with the Denominational Action Committee to collaborate with members of the wider UU community, including the UU Mass Action Network and UU Service Committee. The UU Mass Action Network connects social actions among UU congregations and creates an influential moral voice in Massachusetts. UUSC organizes service projects nationally and internationally. The SJC coordinates the First Parish response to immediate action items in the community. If you have concerns or suggestions for social justice contact SocialJustice [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
Environmental Justice Task Force 2011-2012 Overview The Environmental Justice Task Force strives to raise awareness to the human impact on the environment,while acknowledging that this most often and inequitably compels those with the fewest resources to carry the major burdens of the destructive actions of others. Toward this effort, we will advocate, inform, educate,and mobilize First Parish Cambridge members, friends, and the community with an urgent call to act by reducing our consumption of the earth's resources, generating as little waste as possible, recycling, andmaking a commitment as producers, investors, and consumers to living in an ecologically balanced andresponsible manner. In response to the 1994 UUA Environmental Justice Resolution, and with respect to our UU SevenPrinciples, our task force will act by afﬁrming justice and compassion in human relations, whileacknowledging the inherent worth and dignity of every person. As we work toward environmental justice, wehave respect for the interdependent web of all existence. We share the goal of a “world community” withpeace, liberty, and justice for all and believe much of this begins with environmental justice and equality. We acknowledge that waste, pollution, and overconsumption by the worldʼs more afﬂuent societies can have a negative impact on those removed from the decision-making processes. It is the worldʼs poorer, less inﬂuential populations that live in the wake of this environmental destruction. The concept of environmental justice links the principles of liberal religion with the values of ecologicalawareness and racial and class justice. The Unitarian Universalist Association has adopted separateresolutions on speciﬁc economic, political, and environmental issues, and thus it realizes that environmentaljustice requires an integrated, holistic approach. The Environmental Justice Task Force also takes this holistic view and will work to educate, introduce, andalign the congregation with the importance of this work.
• Educate congregation about current issues and legislation related to Environmental Justice.
• Provide resources to First Parish Cambridge to identify advocacy action opportunities available.
• Partner with organizations working on Environmental Justice issues, such as UUSC, UUA, Youth BuildBoston, Boston Tree Party, Boston Natural Areas Network, Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light, UUMass Action Network, Boston ACE, Haley House, etc.
• Connect environmental issues to other social justice concerns honoring cultural and religious diversity.
• Help First Parish Cambridge become more sustainable in itsʼ practices.
Strategies, Activities and Events
Collaborate with other FPC groups & committees and community organizations.
Collaborate with other FPCgroups/committees to integrate environmental justice issues into RE, worship, social activities and music.Organize and sponsor range of events and activities, some of which are:
• Film Screenings & Discussions
• 350.org Moving Planet Event on September 24, 2011
• “Choices for Sustainable Living” Discussion course from Northwest Earth Institute
• Fair Trade Month Event - October, 2011 Film, invite UUSC & Equal Exchange.
• Green Field Trips, e.g. Recycling Center, Visit local organic farm.
• Attend Boston Local Food Festival October 1, 2011.
• Forming a “Green Team” to oversee the Sustainable Community Leader Programʼs Certiﬁcation process aimed at reducing our energy costs and consumption of resources.
Hear Three Five O, written by Senior Minister Fred Small and recorded with Pan-Latin ensemble Sol y Canto as a call for climate justice.
For more information contact EnvironmentalJTF [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
The Purpose of the ITF
• To promote education and awareness of immigrant issues both locally and globally.
• To advocate for local, state and national policy and legislative changes in concert with our partners for justice for the immigrant community as part of FPCs vision of a multiracial, multicultural, justice-making future.
What We Did This Year
• Organized seven events at church, including two Sunday services about immigration 3 educational events with guests, a letter writing campaign against Secure Communities and sponsored a major fundraising event for the Haitian Coalition.
• Organized/participated in ten events of our partner organizations, including six demonstrations, conferences, and the Haitian Earthquake Commemoration event. Attended by 4-50 parishioners.
Why the ITF for FPC?
• Grounding: Alignment with UU principles and UUA goals (SSL campaign), the minister and members participated in advocacy and other events this year
• Accountability/Right Relationships: TF has immigrant members, and we have formed strong partnerships with Latino and Haitian organizations.
• Fit: FPC leaders are experienced in and/or support this issue; 2 services.
• Opportunity (to make a difference): Local and national and international advocacy and volunteer opportunities (Haiti, Phoenix).
ITF Objectives for 2011-2012
• Introduce FPC to the different immigrant communities in Cambridge and Somerville. • Make advocacy action opportunities available to congregation. Continue partnerships with SIM, CP and HC. Meet with others to explore possible future partnerships.
• Prepare congregation to vote on FPC becoming a member church of the Boston New Sanctuary Movement (BNSM). FPC staff and leaders are already participating.
• Send a larger than usual delegation to Phoenix GA in June 2012.
ITF Strategies 2011-2012
• Invite local immigrant leaders to ITF meetings. Include RIM (Refugee and Immigrant Ministry), Brazilian Women’s Group, etc.
• Present the proposal to join the BNSM at the October semi-annual meeting and a vote at June semi-annual meeting.
• Multicultural Forum- hold an evening or Saturday event to celebrate cultures and hear immigration stories • Continue to provide advocacy opportunities and educational events, preparing congregation for Phoenix GA. For more information contact Immigration [at] Firstparishcambridge [dot] org
First Parish has been a Welcoming Congregation since 2002 and voted in the spring of 2004 to conduct public witness in support of marriage equality. Efforts included media outreach, letter writing campaigns and marching as a faith community in the Pride Parade.
Support for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender rights are also part of the UUA Standing on the Side of Love, a public advocacy campaign that promotes respect for the inherent worth and dignity of each person. Individuals can join this public campaign of the UUA at
Standing on the Side of Love
Photos of First Parish members conducting public witness and Standing on the Side of Love