Past Social Justice Activities
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.