The philosophy of our Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tuscaloosa (UUCT) Social Justice Team is based on the Unitarian Universalist (UU) principle that our lives should be guided by “deeds not creeds.” We emphasize actions that have justice consequences. Our goal is to create a more democratic, peaceful, and environmentally sustainable world characterized by fairness, compassion, and mutual respect in human relations.
We recognize that our social justice activities can be short- or long-term, may involve individuals, small groups of people, a single organization, or coalitions of groups. As practiced by UUs, social justice activities are aimed at bringing about fundamental societal change frequently utilizing, but not being limited to, advocacy in public policy venues. We seek to destroy the fundamental pillars that support societal injustice whether expressed toward humans or the interdependent web of all existence.
In carrying out our activities, we emphasize transparency in our dealings with others and education of our congregation about issues prior to providing calls to action. We focus on issues that have received high priority by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), such as support for the Black Lives Matter movement and for the proposed Move to Amend “We the People” constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court imposed doctrines of “corporate personhood” and “money equals speech”. We also work on local, regional, and statewide issues that have been identified by our Social Justice Team or members of our UUCT congregation.
For example, our Social Justice Team has been instrumental in supporting the UUCT Black Lives Matter Task Force and Move to Amend-Tuscaloosa. We organized the Task Force and co-sponsored a special Black Lives Matter service and workshop for our congregation. Likewise, we sponsored a special Move to Amend service and have nurtured its work in the Tuscaloosa-West Alabama area.
We have also provided monetary and/or volunteer support to such economic, environmental, civil rights, and human rights organizations as Alabama Arise, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Druid City Pride, the Friends of Hurricane Creek, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Tuscaloosa Citizens Against Predatory Practices (T-CAPP), Tuscaloosa Economic Justice Coalition, and Work Together Alabama!.
We recognize that the terms “social justice” and “social action” reflect slightly different concepts. Both terms include social outreach activities. All of the actions of our team are aimed at relieving the suffering of people facing some form of burden. Saying that, social actions may not necessarily have justice ramifications. The charitable activities through which our church members regularly support a number of non-profit organizations provide much needed short-term assistance to vulnerable groups.
One way in which our congregation provides social action assistance to a number of local not-for-profit social service organizations is through our Split-the-Plate Partners program. Each month, our UUCT congregation donates one-half of the proceeds from our Sunday morning offerings to a different organization that would not oftentimes be eligible for funding through mainstream, traditional sources. In addition, our congregation participates in the Meals on Wheels program by sponsoring a team providing weekly deliveries of lunches to a route serving economically disadvantaged people in Tuscaloosa.
We fund our work through a Change 4 Change piggy bank known affectionately as Miss Piggy. She is located in the church entrance foyer. Proceeds from Miss Piggy have been used to fund expenses for UUCT members to travel to social justice events as well as to obtain supplies and equipment used at such events.
Our Mission Statement
“As UU’s standing on the side of peace and love, we seek to foster justice, equity, and empowerment for those in need.”
We seek to involve as many members of the UUCT congregation as possible in our work. The current active members of the UUCT Social Justice Team are: