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The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Theodore Parker, abolitionist and Unitarian minister

Justice – Now More Than Ever, but How?

    “We are a justice-seeking people” (hymn #170 in our grey hymnal).  Unitarians and Universalists share a long history of working for social justice.  Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, Ethelred Brown, Theodore Parker, Dorothea Dix, James Reeb, are just a few names in our historical register.  There are many more.  Not all of us, not all the time – as a denomination, as church communities, and as individuals, we sometimes fall short of our ideals because we are human.  But it is good to remember that we have a theology that calls us to act for justice, and role models within our faith history to inspire us with their examples.

    But it is hard, sometimes to act for justice.  Sometimes we are so busy with our everyday lives we miss things going on around us. Sometimes we don’t know what to say.  Sometimes we just feel helpless in the face of so much to do.  Here are three action steps you can take this week or this month with your family.

    Talk about justice.  Especially, talk about justice as a Unitarian Universalist family.  It is tempting to think that we are protecting our children when we avoid talking about injustice.  However, our children are far more aware than we often think they are, and they internalize our values better when we articulate them. As you discuss current events, talk, too, about how Unitarian Universalists are called to respond to them.  Our principles call us to work for justice, equity and compassion in human relationships (“offer kindness”) and to work for a world community with peace, liberty and justice for all (“insist for justice”).  What does “justice for everyone” look like?  How are Unitarian Universalists responding to events in the news?  You can find answers to that question online at the UU World (the denominational news magazine), by subscribing to an email list such as the UU Service Committee, or by liking a Facebook page such as the Standing on the Side of Love. 

    Take a stand for justice.  Write a letter as a family to your congressman, senator, governor, or mayor.  Brainstorm with your child to come up with three things they might say to a friend who says something negative about another faith tradition. Listen to what people are saying in your Facebook comments and respond with love and/or accurate information rather than ignoring hateful comments – model for your child healthy ways to approach social media. 

    Work on a social justice project as a family.  On MLK Day, many people choose to help their community instead of taking a day of leisure.  To learn more about the National Day of Service, check out  Talk to the folks on our Social Justice team to find out what our church is doing for the National Day of Service – you can sign up to help as a family. Contact a local organization that provides meals for others to ask if you and your children could supply a meal in January or February.  There are opportunities all around you to be a positive force for justice.  January is a great month to work on justice together.