UUs and Social Responsibility: It’s Who We Are

April-HopeBy April Hope
Social Responsibility Coordinator

I’ve learned a thing or two since I started working for the CUC, but it seems like the more I learn, the less I know. Excited and naïve, I was thrilled to be offered the position of Social Responsibility Coordinator. I thought to myself, “How hard could a position be that is only allotted 5 hours/week?” Well let me share with you, UU’s have what I like to refer to as a ‘dauntingly’ successful history of social action in Canada.

We have been at the door of political and social change throughout our country’s history. We are much more than individuals who believe in this cause or that: our very Principles tell us that we are the vehicle for social change. Our communities are filled with people doing amazing work in every imaginable area of social justice, and each group offers their expertise in unique and inspiring ways. Please look to our Social Responsibility pages for examples of our long-time commitment.

Recently, my position has been expanded to a full-time one, reflecting the importance of social justice work in our national UU community. It seems I have a great deal more to learn because I am once again excited, and hopefully a little less naïve, by the challenge of connecting these brilliant individuals and congregations to one another.

Since I began in November 2011, I have been imagining how our social justice work would benefit from an overarching national strategy; one that connects the individuals in our communities who share a passion for change. But how is this possible when so many people care about so many different things, and we live so far apart, and we don’t always agree, and, and, and…

ChalicesBy directing my focus away from our differences and challenges, I observed points of convergence and noted 4 ways by which social justice work can be advanced today and for future generations: Mentoring, Monitoring, Actions, and Resources.

  • Mentoring: connections between young and old, experienced and enthusiastic
  • Monitoring: ‘experts’ to follow emerging issues and areas of national interest
  • Actions: initiatives such as resolutions, letter-writing, social justice days, refugee sponsorship
  • Resources: UU history, how-to guides, manuals, and educational programs

Conversations inspired by the National Social Responsibility Initiative (found on p7 of the Canadian Unitarian, Fall 2014) have led me to believe a balanced combination of the above methods is essential for national success and sustainability of our efforts. This integrated approach is just a beginning. The key to the ongoing success and continued growth of my work in Social Justice is communications with you. I encourage you to forward your thoughts, ideas, desire to be involved and any related questions to april@cuc.ca.

I am amazed and inspired by the legacy of our movement. I am challenged and encouraged each day in my work. I am grateful for every conversation I have.

Chat soon,

April