“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
– Cornel West, 2008

Former UUSM Intern Minister Tovis Page, friend Kaye Bonney, and Barbara Du Mond pray outside of a San Francisco immigration hearing. (Source: SF Chronicle)

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

Beloved Conversations

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.

Singing happy birthday to Dr. King.

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.

UUSM Member Jose Mendez won an award from the local NAACP chapter for his work on racial justice.

Racial Justice

Infusing all our work and activities with awareness, advocacy, and solidarity.

Immigrant Rights and Sanctuary

Sanctuary Congregation

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.

Sanctuary Partners

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.

On Human Rights Day (12/10/18), UUSM Intern Minister Tovis Page (far right) joined other members of the Peninsula Interfaith Coalition on Immigration on the US/Mexico border to protest US immigration policy.

Other Community Partners in the new Sanctuary Network

Environmental Justice

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.

Campus Development

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

Welcoming Congregation

Our congregation has been certified by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) as a Welcoming Congregation for LGBTQ and gender-non-conforming persons since 1998.

Our Whole Lives (OWL)

UUSM’s Religious Exploration Program for Youth provides comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education. For additional information, see the description of the OWL program.

UUSM at Pride San Mateo: on the side of love.

Pride in San Mateo

Our congregation participates in the San Mateo Pride celebration every June and Transgender Remembrance Day in November. Contact: UUSM’s LGBTQ Coordinator.

PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)

We support PFLAG‘s scholarship fund for gay youth. Contact: UUSM’s LGBTQ Coordinator.

Accessible Restrooms

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

Homework Central

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.