Social Justice is at the core of life as a Unitarian Universalist.
As a people our focus may be wide and varied, but our desire to improve the world is a universal constant. I have been lucky enough to take part in social justice actions in three different cultures in my time as a minister. I have walked in solidarity for educators while in England; I have organized writing campaigns from ridings to federal offices in British Columbia; and have risked arrest here in Cleveland with some names that loom large in our current religious leaders in the United States.
The truth of the matter is that while Unitarian Universalists do not have a creed, or a common dogma, we share a common drive to make the world into a place that is more fair and equitable for all.
Poor People's Campaign, 2015 RNC Action
Ohio State House Rotunda, 2018
Since coming to Cleveland 6 years ago, I have been privileged to be invited to speak at the 100th anniversary of the ACLU in our public square. I have been a regular invitee to our Blessing of the Clinic for our local Planned Parent affiliate. I have organized and co-organized local clergy into a variety of vigils for people who have been killed in our city, which is always a sad and solemn thing to do, but it is something that needs to be done.
I have three times stood before the Ohio House of Representatives in my role as minister to offer critique of our government, four times in front of the City Council of Cleveland.
I have served on the Boards of local non-profits such as The Greater Cleveland Congregations and The Ohio Poor People’s Campaign. I’ve also been to various task forces: The Heights Arts Collaborative, The Greater Cleveland LGBT Center, Planned Parenthood, Heights Food Pantry as well as various interfaith efforts addressing homelessness, racism and violence in our streets.
I have even written several published editorial letters in the large paper in Cleveland, the Plain Dealer.
If I’m honest, writing this list was a little uncomfortable for me. I tried to strike a balance between an honest reflection of the work I’ve been able to do, which you can read, but what can’t be listed is all the work that still needs to be done. I am happy to engage in the very important work of social justice, and happy to preach about it, and happy to do my best in a manner which is consistent with UU values.
But I worry that a list like this, all in one place, might give the impression that somehow I’ve mastered the ability to be a social justice guru. I am not.
I am only a man who does his best to be aware of where my voice, as a cis-gendered but gay, white-lookiing but biracial, clergy but not Christian minister, where my voice can do the most good. Where I can advocate with those whose voices may not be as easily listened to.