Consistent with the UUCF mission and vision, the purpose of the UUCF Social Justice program is promoting transformational and sustainable change within the UUCF community and in the broader external community through these five pillars of social justice: Service – Providing support for persons and communities in need; Education – Educating ourselves and others about social justice issues, including interpreting such issues within the context of liberal religious values; Community organizing – Seeking to establish grass-roots organizations or work with existing ones for purposes of increasing social integration and power in civil society; Witness – Making our convictions on social justice issues public by words and deeds; and Advocacy – Working through legislative processes to have an impact on public policy on social justice issues.
Social Justice Advisory Team
The Social Justice Advisory Team meets monthly to provide counsel and guidance related to the congregation’s social justice focus and activities. Team members for 2022-2023 include Social Justice Coordinator Andrew Batcher, Lay Minister for Social Justice Marcia Simpkins and the following members representing various social justice constituencies: Kaye Cook, Leni Gurin, AJ Ingson (youth) and Mary Jo Smrekar.
UUCF Social Justice Initiatives
UUCF launched its commitment to exploration, learning and transformation around racial justice in 2016. The congregation continues this commitment through the Racial Justice Steering Committee, working on longi-term advocacy, training, education, partnerships, witness and action.
Teaching Truth: Putting Students First
Teaching Truth: Putting Students First is a project of UUCF’s social justice and racial justice ministries. Through this project, UUCF members support local school board activists who value inclusion, counter the baseless claims of anti-critical-race-theory (CRT) politics, advocate for teaching inclusive history and against the banning of books written from marginalized LGBTQIA+ perspectives and the perspectives of people of color.
For decades, UUCF has been dedicated to ensuring LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual/ally and others) rights and is a Welcoming Congregation focused on education, consciousness raising and fellowship within the UUCF community and beyond. Read more here.
Since May 2020, just after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UUCF’s Food Justice team has organized a Food Drive on the second Sunday of each month to benefit several area food programs serving the most marginalized communities in Northern Virginia. Partners include Food Justice DMV, Bailey’s Mutual Aid, Fairfax Circle Church and Centreville United Methodist Church. Read more here.
Through UUCF’s Reproductive Justice Task Force, UUCF is dedicated to living our UU principles by building a world in which all people are able to make choices about their bodies, their health, and their families within safe, thriving communities.
UU Afghan Resettlement Team (UU ARRT)
UUCF partners with the UU congregations of Sterling and Reston to sponsor families going through resettlement. UU ARRT is currently sponsoring one family and hopes to expand sponsorship as funds allow.
Act for Climate Today! and Paris Pledge
The UUCF Act for Climate Today! group (formerly the Climate Action Group), founded in 2013, plans and implements climate-related projects with a direct impact on UUCF, its members and the interconnected web of life. View this brief video to learn more about global warming/climate change, its human causation and consequences. ACT! believes advocacy and solutions are necessary now. ACT! is actively involved in Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, an interdenominational climate action group started by ACT! members along with members of other congregations.
The Paris Pledge Initiative is a framework of ACT! projects with the goal of reducing UUCF’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Ending Gun Violence
UUCF is committed to ending gun violence and to urging our legislators to approve sensible gun violence prevention legislation. To that end, UUCF members passed a Congregational Resolution on Preventing Gun Violence in 2013. In additional to other local, state and national actions on gun violence prevention, UUCFers participate in gun violence prevention vigils at the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax on the 14th of each month at 10 a.m. (2 p.m. if the 14th falls on a Sunday). These vigils commemorate the lives lost to gun violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and thousands of others since. Read more here.
UUCF participates in this annual FACETS interfaith winter project, providing shelter for about 40 homeless adults homeless in Fairfax County. Many volunteers are needed. Read more here.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
In partnership with Southgate Community Center in Reston, UUCF volunteers teach ESOL classes for disadvantaged immigrant residents. Check the What’s happening page for upcoming events.
Upcoming Actions and Meetings
|Tue. Mar 28 at 7:00 PM||Reproductive Justice Task Force||Via Zoom Only|
|Tue. Apr 11 at 7:00 PM||Accotink UU Church Banned Book Club||Via Zoom Only|
|Sat. Apr 22 at 9:30 AM||Volunteers Needed to Help With Hunter Mill Cleanup|
- Share the Plate – each month, half the offerings go to a different charity nominated by congregants
- Policy: Taking Public Positions on Social Justice Issues – helping congregants appropriately represent UUCF on social justice issues to outside organizations and the media
- Hot Meals: In partnership with FACETS, UUCF volunteers prepare and assemble breakfasts for homeless people in Fairfax County six times a year. Check the What’s happening page for upcoming events.
- Beacon House: UUCF and other area UU congregations have helped fund and provide volunteer support to Beacon House since its founding in 1991. Beacon House provides tutoring, mentoring, cultural, athletic, recreational and nutritional programs to at-risk children, ages 5-18, in and around the Edgewood Terrace community in Ward 5 of Washington, DC. Contact Beacon House President Rev. Donald Robinson.
- UUCF Partner Churches (Romania and India)
- UU-UNO Committee – UUCF’s UU-UNO Committee seeks to engage our community in the mission of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO). The UU-UNO engages in the work of the United Nations to advance a peaceful, just, sustainable and pluralistic world community that promotes human rights and to engage and inspire UUs and others to support and participate in this work.
- UUSC – The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. Through a combination of advocacy, education, and partnerships with grassroots organizations, UUSC promotes economic rights, advances environmental justice, defends civil liberties and preserves the rights of people in times of humanitarian crisis.
- UUSJ – Contact Bob McCarthy. UUCF is a member of Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ) in the Baltimore-Washington Region, which hosts task forces on civil marriage, the environment, health care and affordable housing and conducts advocacy trainings each year.