Social Justice Ministry at UUSM
“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
– Cornel West, 2008
At UU San Mateo, we practice congregation-based social justice, which means issues the congregation chooses will be reflected in all aspects of congregational life – faith formation, building use, worship, budget, meetings, and outreach.
Through congregational conference, five main issues of social-justice concern have been identified:
- Dismantling Systems of White Supremacy
- Immigrant Rights and Sanctuary
- Environmental Justice
- LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer) and Gender Rights
- Working to Improve our North Central Neighborhood
In addition to these five issues of concern, our congregation does international social-justice work through our Partner Church Program; and maintains a Special Collections program which donates the Sunday collection plate ten or more times each year to community organizations chosen by vote of the congregation.
Dismantling Systems of White Supremacy
We are working to dismantle systems of white supremacy and oppression in our own hearts and minds and the greater community. This takes the form of educational workshops, caucus groups, and solidarity with community partners. More information about this program is available here, or contact this program’s coordinators.
Decentering Whiteness Workshops
To decenter whiteness in our culture, we must learn to recognize it. In this series of four Saturday workshops from December 2018 through May 2019, we are sharing experiences, viewing videos, and discussing readings – including portions of Robin Di Angelo’s book, White Fragility. For more information, contact this program’s coordinator.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration
UUSM partners with North Central Neighborhood Association to organize an annual poetry and essay contest in the schools on civil-rights themes. We serve as judges, contribute to a scholarship fund for the winners, and host a potluck luncheon with the community on MLK’s Birthday weekend. For more information, contact this program’s coordinators.
Infusing all our work and activities with awareness, advocacy, and solidarity.
Immigrant Rights and Sanctuary
UUSM voted to become a Sanctuary Congregation in February 2017. Opportunities for advocacy, accompaniment, and solidarity with our undocumented neighbors, refugees, and political asylum seekers abound. Contact the Sanctuary Congregation coordinator for additional information.
UUSM partners with the Congregational Church of San Mateo and with the UU Fellowship of Redwood City to provide support for persons needing sanctuary. Activities include care for physical and emotional needs of persons in sanctuary, advocacy, accompaniment for detainees, and letter writing.
Other Community Partners in the new Sanctuary Network
- Faith in Action (FIA) Bay Area (formerly known as PICO), interfaith community organizers working on issues ranging from affordable housing to sanctuary for undocumented families.
- Peninsula Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (PICI), a subsidiary of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.
UUSM’S Green Team
Our congregation’s Green Team is leading the effort for us to become a Green Sanctuary, a national accreditation that involves all aspects of congregational life, including worship, education, sustainable living, and environmental justice. As a first step, our resolution to refrain from bringing red meat dishes to shared-food events was added to our covenant on procedures in May 2018. Additional information is available from the Green Team coordinators.
Education and Advocacy
UUSM received a commendation for education from California Interfaith Power and Light for our Low Carbon Diet congregational program in 2015.
Our Campus Development Task Force (CDTF) is working with AE3 Partners architects to ensure our redesigned campus will be maximally energy efficient and use environmentally sustainable materials and construction practices in our building and landscape renovation. Contact CDTF Leadership to learn more.
LGBTQ Welcome and Gender Equity
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Pride in San Mateo
PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Fully accessible and gender-neutral restroom facilities are coming to UUSM soon!
We provide ad hoc leaders whenever situations involving oppression and sexual harassment arise.
Improving Our Neighborhood
We provide space for and support to Homework Central, an after-school tutoring program for local students in third-through-fifth grades. UUSM volunteers tutor students and supply healthful snacks. Contact the Homework Central Coordinator.
Home and Hope
Home and Hope is an interfaith network of religious institutions that offer shelter, meals, and social services to temporarily homeless families. UUSM currently shops for food, provides financial support, and serves on the governing board of this program. Contact the Home and Hope Coordinator.
HANCSM – Home Association of North Central San Mateo
We help with HANCSM projects designed to increase beauty and safety in our neighborhood.