Contact Social Justice Coordinator Andrew Batcher.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King was a political activist working for civil rights, and against poverty, and against militarism and the war in Vietnam. While well loved today, at the time of his death, he was one of the most hated men in America because of his political stances. Often when we talk about the legacy of Dr. King, we imagine an uncontroversial man of peace. But his actions were bold and controversial. He spoke out about the crises of his time when many would not. This is why he is remembered and why we talk about his legacy. At UUCF, to honor Dr.Martin Luther King’s legacy, let us also be bold and willing to speak about the things that matter to us.
Instead of the traditional MLK weekend of activities, this year UUCF is supporting a series of events throughout January focused on:
- Teaching Truth
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Reproductive Justice
- Community Service
As we enter the New Year, consider making a resolution for justice. Look at the events below to find what you can do to support positive change:
Mon., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m., via Zoom
Culture Wars and the Weaponization of Critical Race Theory – Former Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni will explain the origins and historical context of Critical Race Theory (CRT), how the CRT discourse was shaped over the last 2 years and how the CRT debate influences education. Sponsored by 4 Public Education, NAACP Fairfax and the Hamkae Center. Register here.
Fri., Jan. 13, 6 p.m., UUCF Sanctuary
Dinner With the Ministers – This will be a time to be in community and enjoy a meal together. UUCF members, friends and community partners will also be invited to share reflections, updates and upcoming actions around school board activism, inclusive education, statewide issues, UUCF’s inclusive Virginia history curriculum and more. Register here. Recommended $10 donation/person to offset the cost of dinner. You can also bring your donations for the Jan. 15 Food Drive. Sign up to donate to the food drive here.
Gun Violence Prevention
Fri., Jan. 13, 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Virginia State Capitol in Richmond (RSVP for details)
Mon., Jan. 16, 2-5 p.m., Virginia State Capitol in Richmond (See flyer for details)
Lobby in Richmond with Moms Demand Action or Brady and the Virginia Center for Public Safety – UUCF has a history of heading to Richmond to lobby for gun violence prevention on Martin Luther King Day. Just last month UUCF helped organize a vigil and protest outside the National Rifle Association to honor those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, 10 years ago. These events are a chance to continue the momentum and head to Richmond where we can make a legislative impact. Choose whichever date works best for you. See RSVP and other helpful links below. No worries if you have no lobby experience. Our partners will help and lead the way.
- RSVP for Jan. 13 Advocacy Day with Moms Demand Action
- RSVP for Jan. 13 6:30 a.m. bus leaving Springfield Mall, organized by Moms Demand Action (space is limited, so register by Jan. 4)
- Flyer for Jan. 16 Vigil & Advocacy Day with Brady and Virginia Center for Public Safety
- Moms Demand Action lobby training video: “Learning From Lawmakers”
- Letters to the Editor training video
- Sign up for Jan. 12 Brady-sponsored review of 2023 GVP-related legislation.
- Sign up for Brady/Virginia Center for Public Safety bus to Richmond on Jan. 16.
Jan. 22, 2023, is the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Across the country, the rights established by Roe are under attack, including in Virginia. During the 2023 legislative session, Gov. Glenn Youngkin is expected to push for a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. UUCF’s Reproductive Justice Task Force is organizing to advocate for reproductive dignity and freedom in partnership with REPRO Rising VA (which is also January’s Share the Plate recipient). Below are several actions you can take to support reproductive justice in the post-Roe era. Also, consider joining REPRO Rising VA’s Legislative Rapid Response Team here.
Thu., Jan. 12, 6 p.m., via Zoom
REPRO Rising VA Legislative Forum – Learn about bills that will be introduced in Virginia’s 2023 legislative session, what actions you can take to support reproductive rights and participate in a testimony-writing party to reach out to your legislators directly. Register here.
Mon., Jan. 23, 9 a.m. or 12:30 p.m., Lobbying in Richmond. RSVP and more info here.
Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance’s Repro Advocacy Day – We’re calling on all abortion and reproductive justice advocates, supporters and allies to join the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance for a day of action and advocacy at the Virginia Capitol. Anti-abortion legislators are more emboldened than ever before to push abortion bans, restrictions and attacks on bodily autonomy. We need you to help us stop them!
Please note the following:
- You must register in advance through ReproRising VA’s link: VREA Advocacy Day 2023 (everyaction.com)
- UUCF congregant Lisa Carroll will act as bus captain on the RRVA lobby day bus.
- The bus will leave from RRVA office at 901 N. Washington St., Alexandria, at 6:30 a.m.
- ReproRising will send all registered attendees an email with details on how the day will proceed once details are set.
- For now, we know that there will be bagels on the bus, training in the morning in Richmond, with a buffet lunch, and then group meetings with legislators. You will be grouped geographically and will meet with your legislator.
- Please plan out parking in Alexandria in advance – it can be tricky to find parking there. You might consider using a ride-sharing service or carpooling with a friend who is also attending. Note that the Metro is not running south of the airport.
In addition to registering directly with RRVA, please let Lisa Carroll know you are attending so she can look for you.
Sat., Jan. 28, 7-9:30 p.m., Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
Benefit Concert for DC Abortion Fund (DCAF)
Sponsored by Cedar Lane UU Church and the Potomac Partnership Reproductive Freedom Project. Every year Cedar Lane UU hosts a benefit concert in January. This year, because of the 50th anniversary and overturning of Roe v. Wade, the concert will raise money for the DC Abortion Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that makes grants to pregnant people in DC, Maryland and Virginia, as well as those traveling to the area, who cannot afford the full cost of an abortion. Abortion costs are often inaccessible, especially for those who need to travel. The overturning of Roe means new funding is a constant need. Donating to DCAF is a way to directly support reproductive health access. The concert and fundraiser will be promoted across the Potomac Partnership. You can attend in person or virtually (click here to view online), and you can donate anytime here.
Sun., Jan. 15, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., UUCF Traffic Circle
UUCF Monthly Food Drive – For the Jan. 15 Martin Luther King Weekend food drive, groceries will go to Bailey’s Crossroads Mutual Aid, a wonderful group started by two teachers to collect food for families in their classrooms and in the surrounding community. Every other week, they distribute to roughly 150 households, and also provide rent support and other assistance. This is particularly important because of both the pandemic and inflation. Sign up to donate groceries here. To donate money, go here and select “Food Drive” from the drop-down menu. Donations received in January will support Bailey’s Crossroads Mutual Aid.
On your own time. Bags collected Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 after worship service
2023 Reusable Bag Sewing Project – This project benefits food insecure families who use food pantries in Fairfax County. To be more green and be in compliance with Fairfax County reusable bag requirements, 350Fairfax collects hand-sewn reusable bags and donates them to the food pantries. Bags UUCF makes will be donated to 350Fairfax for their Plastic-Free Challenge. To participate in this project, contact Martha Ades and see instructions here.
Tue., Jan. 17, 1:30-5:30 p.m., Reston Community Center, 2310 Colts Neck Rd., Reston, VA 20191
NAACP Blood Drive – ***Sign-Up Full***. Blood donations are a constant need that help save lives. The NAACP has organized a blood drive at the Reston Community Center. Schedule a time to donate here. Flyer here.