Peace & Justice
UU values are grounded in an active commitment to peace, fairness, equity, and compassion. We practice this commitment through a variety of social justice projects and community partnerships. Our Social Action Council (SAC) coordinates those activities that are sponsored by the Fellowship, but you will find our members reach far and wide in the community supporting UU values. For many of us, community activism is a spiritual practice.
Below are projects and initiatives that are currently active in the Fellowship. For more information, please contact our Social Action Council.
Black Lives Matter
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston Salem stands in solidarity with our Black/African-American siblings who demand change, including those who identify as Indigenous and People of Color. Before we “take to the streets,” literally and figuratively, we are cautious, seeking to center our response to the entire community to ask, “What does support look like? How can our support and solidarity be effective, and cause no harm?” Accordingly, we begin by pledging to work diligently to re-examine the ways in which we ourselves perpetuate racism, and to do our part to bend the arc of the universe towards justice.
We cannot remain silent. We have much work to do. We cannot afford to have these systemic failings normalized. This is a call to action for all persons of faith to work toward justice for all. We affirm the position our faith commands – we stand by the Black/African-American community, and we pledge our support in whatever ways are helpful. We affirm that BLACK LIVES MATTER. May it be so.
The Shape of Justice: Reach back. Rise up. Move into the change.
Someone recently described this as “a liquid moment,” where long held beliefs and assumptions about who we are as Americans are being challenged and unlearned. We feel an urgent need to demonstrate our values—to take advantage of this liquid moment–but our awakening represents only the beginning.
In June 2020, the Fellowship Board empowered the Social Action Council (SAC) to define their role and guide Fellowship racial equity actions. The Board also formed a Racial Equity Steering Team (REST) to ensure that our structures and processes effectively recognize and engage the varied interests and energy of our congregants.
The Shape of Justice is the primary racial equity initiative of the Social Action Council. Three working groups have been formed to focus our anti-racism actions:
- Legislative Advocacy — working to affect meaningful change, including collaborative work with community and faith partners.
- Community Transformation — addressing self-education and culture change within the Fellowship Community.
- Spiritual Movement — living our UU values in the greater community, connecting faith and action.
The path towards racial equity includes both sprints and marathons, and will span generations. We will occasionally misstep or stumble, but our UU values call on us to stay in the race.
Justice for Immigrants in our Community
The Immigrant Justice team is working to improve social justice for members of the local immigrant community. This team is just getting started with a lot of exciting ideas so now is a great time to help out and make a big difference.
Diversity Education in our Schools
The Diversity Education team is focused on increasing the representation for minority and marginalized groups in our public school system. Their initial project is promoting the adoption of an African American curriculum in the school system. This is a very active team with plenty of opportunity to take action.
School Involvement Team
The School Involvement Team is responsible for coordinating our outreach to schools in need within our community. As an example, one of the schools we partner with is Petree Elementary. Petree is a Title I school and many of its families cannot afford proper clothing, supplies or food. Fellowship members work together to provide necessary supplies and support for these students in need. In particular, we are funding 25 students to participate in the weekend backpack program, to help feed children when they are away from school on weekends and holidays. We will also fund a field trip for the students at the school. Title I schools cannot afford the field trips that schools in wealthier neighborhoods take for granted. We also encourage members to volunteer at the school. The students need role models, mentors, tutors, and test monitors.
This team also provides assistance to the Freedom School at Trinity Moravian Church. Freedom Schools are secular literacy programs aimed at curbing summer learning loss, increasing literacy, and closing the achievement gap. The program aims to empower children through culturally-relevant learning materials.
Community Clothes Closet
To serve neighbors in need, our Community Clothes Closet offers gently used clothing and shoes at no cost. The Clothes Closet address is 4045 Robinhood Road, in front of our main building, and we’re open on the second Saturday of each month, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Clothing donations come from the congregation and others in our community. Donated items should be clean and in good condition, without tears or stains, and placed in the covered bin next to the Clothes Closet driveway. We also accept small toys and children’s books, but please no household items.
Share the Plate
We share our plate collection every Sunday with a local community organization. Each month we feature a community partner that shares our values. Every Sunday that month, we donate half of all cash and designated checks collected during our worship services. The agencies are selected on a annual basis. Examples of Share the Plate recipients include AIDS Care Service, The Adam Foundation, Bethesda Center for the Homeless, Piedmont Environmental Alliance, and many others. Share the Plate serves to raise awareness and funds for our community partners.
Crisis Control Ministry
Crisis Control Ministry is a local organization that exists to provide people in crisis with basic needs such as food, medication and emergency financial assistance. Our Fellowship is proud to provide ongoing support to Crisis Control Ministry through regular donations of food and toiletry items. A permanent donation drop-off site is in the foyer at the Social Action Council display. Each month Crisis Control Ministry suggests an item of need and Fellowship members consistently help meet this need with their generous donations. Some of our Fellowship members also volunteer their time and talents to Crisis Control Ministry. Check out the donation baskets or request more information from a member of the Social Action Council.
UU Women’s Fund Team
A group of women in Forsyth County, including members of the Fellowship, dreamed of building the power of women’s philanthropy. Out of that dream grew the Women’s Fund initiative of the Winston-Salem Foundation. The Fund is powered by membership dues from women, singularly and in teams, who collaborate to assess and evaluate grant petitions for projects that will benefit women and girls in our community. Several teams of our UU Fellowship women participate in the organization’s annual grant awards for worthy projects that will improve the lives of local women.
In addition, members of the Fellowship founded the local chapter of American’s United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), Piedmont Environmental Alliance (PEA), the annual Piedmont Earth Day Fair, and Vigils for Healing.
How to Get Involved
For more information about these and other initiatives relating to social action and/or social justice, or to participate in any of these initiatives, please email the Social Action Council at email@example.com.