Past Social Justice Activities
Monday, May 23: Social Action Retreat
Social Action Committee members met on , at Connie Quirk & Kevin McKinney’s house on Lake Wateree to reinvigorate and reorganize for what we hope will be a (mostly) Covid-free in-person reality. Discussion focused on what it would mean for UUCC to adopt the invitation by SCUUJA–the South Carolina UU Justice Alliance–to be in covenant with them and with other UU congregations and fellowships in our state, and on assessing our congregation’s ability to be a responsible partner for SCUUJA. For more on SCUUJA, go to https://www.scuuja.org/
Fri, Oct 22, 2021: Famously Hot Pride Parade
Thanks to everybody who made our Pride Parade last night such a blast! It was a true group effort! And, for some icing on the cake, we got noticed, too! Guess whose float illustrated the WLTX coverage last night?
See it here: www.wltx.com
Sat, Aug 8: “Hiroshima Remembrance” Events – #StillHere Seventy-five years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, survivors are #StillHere speaking truth to power. Unfortunately, nuclear weapons are also #StillHere. That’s why Columbia’s Hiroshima Remembrance Committee and a national coalition of over 100 organizations are marking the 75th anniversary with calls to leaders to ensure that these weapons are never used again. Kathy, Bethany, and Tom attended.
August 9, 2020: "Peace Now: Clean Up, Not Build Up at Savannah River Site" 75th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki (with a bomb with a plutonium pit in it) The documentary film short asks viewers to hold onto visions of peace and stand against nuclear proliferation. Peace Now: Clean Up, Not Build Up at Savannah River Site (15 min.) introduces audiences to SRS and to challenges met and those upcoming, namely the proposed production of plutonium pits (triggers for nuclear weapons) at SRS. Placing SRS in the context of U.S. nuclear weapons development more broadly, Tom Clements of SRS Watch, along with South Carolina activists Leslie Minard and Dave Matos, inform and inspire on the long road to nuclear disarmament, where the work is hard, but the reward is priceless.
Fri, July 10, 2020: Anniversary of the Confederate Flag Coming Down from the State House
The confederate flag was finally removed from SC state house grounds in response to the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC by a white supremacist. Each year since, the Columbia Racial Justice Coalition (formerly SURJ) tries to reserve the state house grounds to prevent the confederates from raising the flag again. This year, the confederates were able to get the state house in the morning, but had some problems raising the flag. A much greater number of protesters showed up including our own Anna Hamilton and Tom Clements. Mark your calendars to attend this event next year.
Mon, Jan 20, 2020: MLK Parade and King at the Dome
Each year we march in the MLK parade from Zion Baptist Church to the capital where there are speakers. This year, all the presidential candidates were there to speak as well. We had a great turnout this year despite the cold!
Jan 14, 2020: We Showed Up to Help Unrig the System
We took part in this bi-partisan event with Fair Maps SC at the State House to show people how many districts are affected by gerrymandering. Republican Sen. Tom Davis, Rep. Gary Clary, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and Sen. Make Fanning all spoke at this press conference.
Sun, Dec 8, 2019: Protection for Child Victims of Sex Trafficking
Our speakers included Investigator Laurie Pineda from the Sheriff's Dept, Human Trafficking Program Assistant Megan Rigabar, and Bob Healy, from Lighthouse for Life. They discussed how sex trafficking is a problem right here in SC and how young girls are recruited from their homes and schools. There is a legislative bill that needs to pass in January to help increase the penalties for these crimes, and we will have postcards for people to sign and send to their representatives.
Feb 2020 Human Trafficking Update (S194)
We promoted this bill by sending postcards to representatives asking for their vote. The bill was posted for a vote before the full House on January 16. Two amendments were made to the bill. The first was made by Rep. Chris Murphy. It reduced the first offense fine from “up to $1,000” to “up to $500.” A second amendment was offered by Reps. Norrell & Fry that attached to S194 another bill - H3181. The prominent provisions of the attached bill make promotion of sex tourism a crime and give law enforcement wire-tap authority in human trafficking investigations. S194 with both amendments was approved by a unanimous vote. Bob Healy from Lighthouse believes your postcards influenced the vote as those voting thought they were approving the bill as represented in the postcards. The bill is now in the Senate waiting to be heard.
Oct 4: 2019 Get Lit Columbia Pride Parade
Despite the near 100 degree temperatures, we came out to support the LGBT community.
Fri, Sept 20:Climate Strike: Vigil for a livable climate
Sun, Sept 15: The Bail Trap: American Ransom- Screening and Discussion
Money bail is one of the main feeders of America's mass incarceration system – and yet something most Americans know very little about. The money bail system is broken: private companies achieve exorbitant profits by scavenging off of communities (primarily of color) living in poverty. Low-income Americans are sitting in jails for days, months, and even years for the most minor of infractions simply because they can’t afford to pay high bond amounts. The reality is that the majority of people –over 70% -are in jails for one simple reason: being too poor. This is both morally and legally wrong. We hosted this screening along with Simple Justice #BlackLivesMatter and helped educate people. JLUSA (the people from #BanTheBox) also showed up to support this issue. Click here to view the series from Brave New Films for yourself.
#RaisetheCap Rally TUESDAY Aug 27th 5PM-7PM SC Statehouse Grounds (Main & Gervais) Columbia, SC. The Trump administration has radically slashed the number of refugees resettled in the US. Recently, reports surfaced that some Administration officials have proposed resettling zero refugees in 2020 – all during the worst refugee crisis in world history. Prior to this point, our #RaisetheCap Campaign has focused on asking Presidential candidates to commit to restoring the refugee ceiling to Obama levels, but now we are forced to take action to pressure our current elected leaders in the face of more radical reductions that would do long term damage to our refugee resettlement program in the US. Join us for a Sign Line from 5pm-6pm in front of the SC Statehouse followed by a Rally with Speakers on the SC Statehouse Steps.Tents with tables will have letters to sign and send to our elected leaders. Sponsored by the Carolina Peace Resource Center.
Photo credits Paul Palmer and Tom Clements.
Fair Maps: Sun, May 5,2019
The problem: Gerrymandered Maps SC Fair Maps is a bipartisan coalition of individual advocates and organizations working to empower voters in the Palmetto State by passing legislation to create a citizens’ commission that would draw district lines. That power now rests with lawmakers, who draw “safe” districts to benefit themselves and their parties rather than the people they were entrusted to serve. Vince Matthews from SC Progressive Network spoke to us and we plan to get involved with their petition. fairmapssc.com
Follow their facebook group to get up to date info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/631723933934921/
Wed, May 1, 2019: SC for Ed All Out Day
Many members of UUCC joined SC for Ed at the State Department of Education as we march for our students, our schools, our communities and our state! Those that care about public education in South Carolina demand better teacher pay, smaller class size, removing other duties as assigned from teacher contracts, less testing and a pledge from our legislature that they will say no to for-profit charter schools and educational savings accounts. The 4% raise is a positive step forward, but it’s just one step. Join us as we march for the future.
I'm looking for pics of UUCCer's from the WalkOut on Wednesday. If anyone has pics of themselves that you don't mind me putting on the site, can you email them to SocialAction@uucolumbia.org? Thanks!
2nd Annual March for Our Lives-Columbia: Sat March 30, 2019
We came out to support our next generation at this annual event for better gun control laws. No one should be afraid to walk the streets in peace, let alone go to school.
Thinking Outside the Gender Box: Sun, March 3, 2019
A community conversation that helped us understand some of the basics about the transgender community. We will had four speakers and then a Q&A panel discussion. This event was FREE and open to the public. This conversation is especially important after the release of the Report on the Experiences of Trans UUs. Find out more about that here. Listen to an audio of the event below.
SC Poor People's Campaign Demand Letter Delivery & Press Conference: Wed, Feb 27, 2019
Mon, Feb 18, 2019: No Wall No Hate President’s Day Action
Donald Trump has declared #
Mon, Jan 21, 2019: King Day at the Dome
UUCC showing our support in the MLK parade. Photo creds to Beth Ann Rocheleau.
Sun, Nov 11: UUSC "Guest at Your Table" Potluck Fundraiser
Thanks so much to all of those who helped including the kitchen committee and all those who donated. We raised $1000 to send to UUSC. As a reminder, UUSC staff are in El Paso right now meeting with partners to prepare for an immediate response to those from the migrant caravan who are seeking asylum from the brutal violence in Central America. Your donations will help them in their work for human rights. Visit UUSC.org to learn more about their work.
Sat, Oct 20 Noon-2pm: Medicare for All Rally with Sen. Sanders and Sen. Turner
We joined Our Revolution South Carolina for our Medicare for All rally on Saturday, October 20 with Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Nina Turner and more! America’s current health care system is the most expensive per capita and yet fails to provide quality health care. Millions of dollars are wasted in administrative costs, while lives are put at risk. Our country has a health care crisis.
Fri, Oct 19: SC Pride Parade
About 30 people came out to help us celebrate the Pride Parade. We all had a great time watching the lights and music. We are hoping for an even bigger turnout next year. Don't miss it!
Thurs, Aug 23 & Sat, Aug 25: Voter Registration Training & Voter Registration
The Poor People's Campaign hosted a voter registration training at UUCC and then set up a voter registration table outside the Latin Festival in downtown Columbia. More voter registration dates will be coming soon!
Friday, June 8: Ramadan Presentation & Dinner
We hosted our Ramadan Presentation and Dinner again this year in collaboration with the Atlantic Institute. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast by not consuming food or water until after sundown. Once the sun sets Iftar – or fast breaking – dinners take place each night. It is truly a special time when people of all backgrounds come together and share in the Iftar experience, learning about different cultures and faiths in the process. A big thanks to the kitchen committee who will be helping the social action committee with this event.
Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action Training: Sat, April 14, 2018
The SC Poor People’s Campaign a National Call for Moral Revival is committed to lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by SYSTEMIC RACISM, POVERTY, THE WAR ECONOMY & ECOLOGICAL DEVASTATION. We need you to join our efforts.
Here is a list of their demands:
and a report about these demands
The SC Poor People's Campaign sponsored this important training in preparation for 40 days of civil disobedience taking place across the country in May and June. (See our social action activities page for more info.) This interactive training was led by Todd May, the Class of 1941 Memorial Professor of the Humanities at Clemson University. He is the author of fourteen books, including Nonviolent Resistance: A Philosophical Introduction. He has been involved in grassroots organizing stretching back to protests against the Vietnam War, participating in such movements as the anti-apartheid movement, LGBT rights, anti-racism work, and the Palestinian rights movement. Participants will also learn from experienced attorneys about the legal aspects of civil disobedience, including serving as a legal observer. For more information, check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/
March for Our Lives: Sat, March 24
Over 70 UU's from our church joined over a million people around the country in marching to end gun violence. Our own Jody Liebmann was one of the main organizing volunteers.
Whose Streets? Movie: Fri, Feb 23
Simple Justice, in partnership with the UUCC’s Social Action Committee, hosted a screening of the film, Whose Streets? with a brief discussion afterwards. About 40 people came together to discuss the problems and learn more.
Feb 2 & 3:Palmetto State Progressive Summit
We joined hundreds of social justice advocates, labor organizers and grassroots activists for training and networking at the Columbia Metro Convention Center. We learned a lot and made great connections. We are looking forward to working with our new allies!
Jan 15: 2017: MLK March
Hosted by the NAACP. We marched from Zion Baptist Church to the steps of the state house where Rev. Jeff gave the benediction. We plan to attend this again next year. Here's a picture of Rev. Jeff and his wife, Jody leading the march.
Nov 9, 2017: Dream Act Now Rally
We joined Organizing For Action, Carolina Peace, SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Palmetto Luna, and others by gathering at the state house to Support Dreamers!
Oct 20, 2017: Light Up the Night Pride Parade
This was our first ever night pride parade but we showed up to light up the night in support of our LGBT community. What a fun night!
Oct 15, 2017: Black Lives Matter Dedication
Our new Black Lives Matter banner now hangs on the front of our church as a testament to all who pass that we support this important movement.
Sept 23, 2017: Love Thy Neighbor Rally
State House Grounds. We joined with elected officials and community leaders to show that bigotry has no place in South Carolina. Rev. Jeff spoke and our men's chorus sang.
Sept 17, 2017: Peace Day at the Statehouse
We joined Carolina Peace in honor of the International Day of Peace.
Sept 5, 2017: Rally at the State House: Interfaith Prayer Vigil for DACA and Immigrant Dreamers
Tuesday, September 5th is the deadline set by a group of Attorneys General to sue the federal government over DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA currently protects nearly 7,000 young undocumented immigrants in South Carolina and nearly 800,000 nationally. Speakers include faith leaders from local Catholic, AME, United Methodist, and our own Rev. Jeff, as well as DACA recipients and immigrant advocates. See a video of the event below:
Jul 5, 2017: American Values Rally for Healthcare
The day after Independence Day, we gathered in our state's capital at the South Carolina Statehouse to reaffirm our commitment to the true American values: liberty and justice for ALL. The current Republican healthcare bill will harm our most vulnerable citizens by making drastic and cruel cuts to health programs that affect children, low-income working families (especially women), people living with disabilities and pre-existing conditions, senior citizens, and nursing home residents. More info.
Jun 2, 2017: Ramadan Presentation & Dinner
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast by not consuming food or water until after sundown. Once the sun sets Iftar – or fast breaking – dinners take place each night. It is truly a special time when people of all backgrounds come together and share in the Iftar experience, learning about different cultures and faiths in the process. Dr. Akif Aydin shared his experience of being Muslim in the US and then we feasted on a huge dinner. Almost 80 people attended this event was hosted by the Atlantic Institute and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. As you can see below, it was even featured on the news!
Apr 22, 2017: March for Science
We showed our support at a rally at the South Carolina State House where we listened to a number of our state's leading scientists, engineers, researchers and environmental leaders and unite in a nationwide "call to support and safeguard the scientific community." This event was hosted by Greater Columbia Action Together, a group of people who value science and recognize how science serves.
Apr 9, 12:30-2pm: Sign Making Party
We held a party to make protest signs and banners for the March for Science on Earth Day. We talked about the best strategies and sayings to make the most of your sign. The event was free and open to the public.
Feb 20, 2017: March on Columbia
Some of our people — attending The People's March On Columbia with Stephanie Palmer-Smith, Susan Robinson and Yolanda Cárdenes Ganong at the South Carolina State House.
Feb 5, 2017:Islamophobia Workshop
Our Islamophobia Workshop was a great success with an attendance of nearly 90 people and even better news over half of them were from the local community. Manzoor Chema led a very informative and interactive presentation that was well received by the audience. There was much learned about Sharia Law and many questions asked and answered. Manzoor Chema, presenter and Fellow at the Center for New Community, cleared up many myths and misunderstandings about Islam and we left the workshop enlightened.
Here are some pictures of the potluck we hosted before the workshop.
Jan 21, 2017: Rally for Democracy
The UUCC Social Action Committee was well represented at the Rally for Democracy Fair sponsored by the Progressive Network. The event was originally planned for the State House grounds however due to the heavy rains it was moved indoors to the Music Farm on Senate Street. Before the rains began over 1000 participants showed up on the State House grounds to begin the activities while many more reported to the Music Farm. Between the two venues UUCC had over 30 supporters for the program which included many and varied speakers dealing with the issues that we are currently facing. These issues were immigration, refugee placement, race discrimination, insurance coverage, LGBTQ rights, women's rights, religious freedoms, environment, gun violence, and other matters of Social Justice. We enjoyed good music and the opportunity to meet others who share our values and concerns. After a luncheon the rally was followed by a Strategy Summit from 1 until 3 o'clock. It is estimated that as the day progressed there were nearly 3000 people in attendance at the rally.
Savannah River Site Watch
Tom Clements and Stephanie Palmer-Smith met well-known musician Bonnie Raitt after tabling for Savannah River Site Watch, where letters were gathered to Governor Haley against import of nuclear waste and plutonium to the Savannah River Site. The volunteers went backstage for a short interaction with Ms. Raitt who is supportive of the work of SRS Watch. The site monitors activities at the sprawling SRS nuclear complex near Aiken. If you want to send the letter to Gov. Haley, request it of Tom Clements, SRS Watch director: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We made a great showing in the Pride Parade on Saturday, September 3, with nearly 50 members and friends riding and walking along side our very colorful float as they passed out candy and greeted bystanders. We were very well received by the record-breaking crowd of more than 35,000 in attendance. Our Social Action Committee recognizes our role in the community and our need to have a presence in taking an active part in social justice events. We want the community to know who we are and what we stand for. It was evident in the parade that we were known for what we believe in as our group was cheered while our float went by. We want to be known as an organization that has an outreach for social justice.
Look here for a joyful selection of photos from the parade.
Gun Violence Rally
A Rally Against Gun Violence was held Saturday, June 19, 2016, on the State House grounds to bring attention to our legislators that action must be taken to change the very lax gun laws of South Carolina. This was in response to the deaths of the Emanuel Nine in Charleston, South, Carolina one year ago and the forty-nine persons that were killed just one week earlier in Orlando, Florida. Since then we have suffered many lost lives due to gun violence and we continue to fight the fight of reckless gun ownership laws.
Since this rally we have been involved in other rallies against gun violence including a very successful concert in the fall of 2016. We recently celebrated Anti-Gun Violence Sabbath in December 2016 and will honor Stand-up Sunday on January 29, 2017 which is another day of recognition against gun violence and attempts at changing our gun laws.
So What Else are We Doing to Help the Refugees?
In addition to providing many opportunities for our members to become involved locally, the committee also helps frame statements that promote a greater good. For instance, in December, 2015, the committee presented a statement to the Board that was approved unanimously that called for an acceptance of Syrian refugees, as described in the statement below.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia calls on Governor Nikki Haley and the state legislature to act with love and courage to welcome Syrian refugees for resettlement in South Carolina. These families fled their homes to escape the terror of the Bashar al Assad regime and ISIL. Even after extensive screening of 18 months to two years before being allowed to come here, they will face more persecution and suffering if South Carolina turns its back on them and their plight. It is unconscionable, immoral, and un-America. Immigrants build this country and continue to add incredible richness and diversity to the American tapestry.
We must not face terrorism with fear; love is the only thing that we know can truly conquer hate. We call on our elected officials to lead on the side of love for refugees.