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Social Action and You. Opportunities to Serve Our Community and Our World A Presentation of the Social Justice Council of The Unitarian Church in Westport. Social Justice Council. Supports the congregation's efforts to advocate , educate, organize, serve, and witness for social justice.

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Social action and you

Social Action and You

Opportunities to Serve Our Community and Our World

A Presentation of the Social Justice Council of The Unitarian Church in Westport

Social justice council
Social Justice Council

  • Supports the congregation's efforts to advocate, educate, organize, serve, and witness for social justice.

  • Strives toestablish our church as a beacon of social justice in our community.

  • Focuses on programs in Bridgeport, particularly those aimed at improving the well-being of children.

Social action committees
Social Action Committees

  • Westbridge Coalition

  • Beardsley School

  • Global Justice

  • Amnesty International

  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

  • Connecticut Food Bank

  • Green Sanctuary

  • Environmental Action Group

  • Anti-Racism

  • Heathcare Task Force

  • Youth Group

Social justice council1
Social Justice Council

  • The SJC provides a variety of opportunities for you to be involved inSocial Justice initiatives that interest you, and fit your available time and level of interest.

  • We offer advocacy options about governmental administrative policy and/or legislation on social justice needs.

  • We provide information for members and visitors of the Church about the social justice work we are doing.

  • Learn about our different Committees:

    • What We Do,

      And …..

    • What You Can Do!

Westbridge coalition
Westbridge Coalition

What we do:

  • Fifteen year history of providing volunteers.

  • Built our first house in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, three other Westport congregations, and Gicela Gutierez with her four children in 2003.

  • Expanded our Westbridge Coalition, to include 5 churches and 3 synagogues. Completed our second Habitat house in partnership with Bernadette Brown and her four children in 2005.

  • WB has joined with Rebuilding Together to renovate homes of people in need: elderly, physically and financially - making homes safer, warmer, and more energy efficient while saving families money.

Westbridge coalition1
Westbridge Coalition

What You Can Do:

  • Join a UCW- Westbridge Coalition Committee: construction, family selection, telephone tree, email announcements, photography, lunches, fundraising, or to coordinate youth participation.

  • Attend big workday last Saturday in April.

  • Join other workdays throughout spring-summer ‘08.

  • Buy a window, door, insulation, programmable thermostat, grab rails, paint, CFL light bulbs, lumber, plumber’s or electrician’s services, etc. for Spring ’08 Fundraiser.

  • We have many opportunities for you to participate in ways that work for YOU.

    Contact Sherry Jagerson, [email protected]

Beardsley school
Beardsley School

What We Do:

  • In 2000, the congregation of the Unitarian Church of Westport voted to adopt Beardsley Elementary School, a struggling inner-city public school in Bridgeport, as a Social Action Priority Program.

  • Since then, our congregation has provided a wide variety of assistance to this school, which serves children in Grades

    K through 6.

  • We’ve had a meaningful and tangible impact on the lives of children in this neighboring community, and have developed a very focused, deep, and caring connection with this adopted school and its community.

Beardsley school1
Beardsley School

What You Can Do - VOLUNTEER:

  • Be a Mentor, Tutor, Reader or Book Buddy.

  • Run a Book Club or a Unitarian Read Aloud Day.

  • Give an after-school seminar on personal finance or job coaching for parents.

  • Host or organize social activities that bring school staff and volunteers together.

  • Organize a special after-school activity for a subject, activity or sport for which you have a passion.

  • Be a Principal For-A-Day, help build a new playground, or make a child’s Christmas complete.

    The time commitment varies but we can help you find one that works for you!

    ContactMary Beth Mollica, [email protected] or 557 3247

Beardsley school2
Beardsley School

What You Can Do - GIVE:

  • School supplies and necessities at our Angel Tree.

  • Backpacks, winter coats, umbrellas, a picnic bench, a garden bench, scholarships for summer school, computers and writing achievement awards.

  • Scholarships for after-school programs & summer basketball camp.

  • Funding for anti-violence training for teachers, staff and students.

  • Donations to meet student, teacher and family needs.

  • Emergency aid to families and staff in need.

  • Santa letter responses at Christmas.

  • Class trips to professional theaters.

    ContactMary Beth Mollica, [email protected] or 557 3247

The global justice committee
The Global Justice Committee

  • UU – United Nations Office

  • Microfinance

  • Drumbeat for Darfur (a UUSC program)

  • Every Child is our Child

Uu uno unitarian universalist united nations office
UU-UNOUnitarian Universalist - United Nations Office

What We Do:

  • Promote the goal of a world community with peace, liberty and justice for all, as reflected in the UN Charter.

  • Encourage congregational participation in projects to support the programs of the UN and the Millennium Development Goals.

  • Have a voice in global affairs and UN activities, and provide education about how the UN operates.

Uu uno

What You Can Do:

  • Become a member of the UU-UNO and:

    • Receive the newsletter about our activities.

    • Attend presentations to NGOs (non-governmental organizations such as the UU-UNO) at the UN.

    • Support the furthering of our views and values at the UN.

  • Attend the Intergenerational Seminar each April.

    • Some from our Youth Group attended the 2007 focusing on Modern Day Slavery.

    • The 2008 seminar is on “Building a Culture of Peace.”

  • Support Every Child is Our Child

    Contact David Vita, [email protected] or 227-7205 x14


How it works:

  • Small loans to extremely poor working women, to help them:

    • Build small businesses

    • Break the cycle of poverty

    • Educate their children

    • Reinforce their personal dignity.

  • UU Westport has raised $16,000 and established 4 village banks in Tajikistan. Our donations provide loans to poor working women.


What you can do:

  • Learn and share the microfinance message with our youth and community.

  • Join with other Unitarian congregations in making long-term investments in microfinance.

    Contact Rosemary Ratcliff, [email protected] or

    Dan McGovern, [email protected]

Drumbeat for darfur
Drumbeat for Darfur

What’s Happening:

  • The Sudan Government supports armed militias – the “Janjaweed” – that have murdered up to 400,000 people and who terrorize villages in rural Sudan.

  • More than 500,000 people have fled to neighboring countries and over 6 million have been internally displaced.

  • Refugees suffer severe hardship & physical risks.

  • China and other governments have impeded UN action against the Sudan regime.

Drumbeat for darfur1
Drumbeat for Darfur

What You Can Do:

  • Participate in demonstrations, rallies, and “teach-in’s” on Darfur. Join the “Save Darfur” coalition.

  • Contact U.S. and state legislators to demand action:

    * mandatory UN peace-keeping forces in Darfur,

    * divest state funds from companies who work with the

    Sudanese regime.

  • Raise funds for “Solar Cookers” to provide safe food preparation in the refugee camps.

Every child is our child
Every Child is Our Child

What We Do:

  • Provide education for children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS in Eastern Ghana through a UU-UNO partnership with a local, traditional, community organization - the Queen Mothers Association.

  • $80 pays for a year’s education, and $800 provides a complete 10 year basic education for a child. Students and their foster families receive free health care as part of the program.

    What You Can Do:

  • In Jan 2008 in partnership with our own children, we will begin fundraising and initiate a relationship between our kids and the theQueen Mothers School. Join Us!

    Contact Stephen Axthelm, [email protected] or 917 602-7844

Amnesty international
Amnesty International

What We Do:

  • We areworld’s largest grassroots human rights organization, uncovering human rights abuses, freeing prisoners of conscience - those imprisoned for their beliefs, color, ethnic origin, gender, religion or language - provided they have not used or advocated violence, working to abolish torture, secure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners and abolish the death penalty.

  • AI’s “Urgent Action” program, sends telegrams, e-mails and faxes within hours after the International Secretariat in London issues a call to help those threatened with torture, execution or other human rights abuse.

  • AI’s Death Penalty Network works to bring about a moratorium on executions in the US and abroad.

Amnesty international1
Amnesty International

  • What You Can Do:

  • Write letters each month to government officials on behalf of prisoners of conscience and to protest human rights violations.

  • Participate in Human Rights Day each year - sending holiday “cards of hope” to prisoners of conscience.

  • Participate in campaigns that deal with immigrant children held indefinitely in detention centers, racial profiling, and to halt violence against women world-wide.

  • Attend meeting on the fourth Monday of every month at the Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport.

    Contact Dorothy Rich, [email protected], call 803-0438 or go to

Uusc the unitarian universalist service committee
UUSCThe Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Founded to help rescue victims of Nazi oppression in Germany, the UUSChas been a powerful voice for human rights since 1939.

What We Do:

  • Work for human rights and social justice through partnerships with grassroots organizations in the US and abroad.

  • Work to protect civil liberties and democratic processes.

  • Defend the rights of vulnerable people affected by disasters.

  • Protect the right to safe, affordable water.

  • Work to defend and advance worker’s rights, including the right to a living wage.

Uusc the unitarian universalist service committee1
UUSCThe Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

What You Can Do:

  • Support the activities of UUSC through participation in the annual “Guest at Your Table” fundraiser coinciding with the Thanksgiving and Christmas/Chanukah holiday season each year.

  • Get more information on UUSC, the programs it supports, and actions you can take to support human rights.

  • Take a trip to New Orleans with the Youth group this spring will be to participate in a UUSC "JustWorks" camp.

  • Join the UUSC

    Contact Dorothy Rich, [email protected], call 803-0438 or visit:

Connecticut food bank
Connecticut Food Bank

What We Do:

  • We are a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to alleviate hunger.

    • In Connecticut 8.6% of households are hungry or food insecure.

    • 75% of households that receive emergency food assistance here live below the poverty line.

    • The CFB works with corporations and community organizations including our church to solicit, transport, warehouse and distribute donated food.

      What You Can Do:

  • On the second Sunday of each month bring food, toiletries, etc.

    Contact David Vita, [email protected] or 227-7205 x14

Green sanctuary committee
Green Sanctuary Committee

What we do:

  • Work to bring the church’s worship and operational practices in line with our commitment to the earth.

  • Oversee efforts to gain accreditation as a Certified Green Sanctuary Congregation.

    What you can do:

  • Attend monthly meetings to decide on steps toward accreditation.

  • Work on projects to make our buildings and grounds self-sustainable.

  • Assist in promoting energy-saving initiatives, from light bulb sales, recycling, to clean energy options.

    Contact Monique Bosch, [email protected] or call 221-1829

Environmental action group
Environmental Action Group

What we do:

  • Operate in the larger community with a focus on education, regional environmental policy and cooperative ventures with other organizations.

    What you can do:

  • Act as a liaison with other environmental organizations in the community.

  • Plan and execute environmental education programs for children and adults.

  • Attend monthly meetings to determine how to best affect change in our community.

    Contact Monique Bosch, [email protected] or call 221-1829

Anti racism

What We Do:

  • The Anti-Racism Committee reads, talks, and plans steps on our path to becoming an anti-racist congregation.

  • We help plan and take part in Martin Luther King Sunday.

  • We attend workshops on Anti-Racism and plan to bring one here.

  • Individually and collectively we raise awareness.

    What You Can Do:

  • Come to our meetings – we’re open and friendly.

  • Help coordinate our efforts against racism with other groups.

    Contact Catherine Onyemelukwe, [email protected] or 222-0630

Healthcare task force
Healthcare Task Force

What We Do:

  • Educate people in our community about the current state of health care in Connecticut, and in the US.

  • Examine the possibilities available to us as a voting public.

  • Stand for the rights of individuals to have access to affordable, quality health care.

  • Our GOAL is Universal Health Care in Connecticut: Health Care for all.

    What You Can Do:

  • Attend monthly meetings (4rd Monday of month) to discuss current health care issues, plan educational community events (e.g. films, etc.), invite speakers & legislators, voice our opinions to legislators, and build a voting bloc.

    Contact Andy Wittenstein, [email protected], 247-4103

Our youth and the sjc
Our Youth and the SJC

What We Do:

  • The Religious Education program at The Unitarian Church in Westport has a tradition of supporting social justices initiatives in our community and beyond including:

    • Habitat for Humanity: work on site and in the warehouse

    • Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition: selling New Year’s luminaries

    • Beardsley School: Yearly gently used book collection, grounds clean up

    • Green Sanctuary: car survey, canvas bag project

    • UUSC: Guest at your Table

    • Micro finance: raising funds for sponsoring 2 village banks in Tajikastan

    • UU-UNO Intergenerational Conference in April

    • Peace marches and rallies/pro choice marches

    • Meals for local shelter

    • Beach clean up

    • Raising funds for ‘Paws’ animal shelter

Our youth and the sjc1
Our Youth and the SJC

What You Can Do: Get Your Kids Involved!

2007/2008 Youth Outreach Initiatives

  • Beardsley Grounds Clean-Up

  • Youth Services Opportunities Project (November and January)

  • Gathering signatures for Bill Sinkford’s petition to Congress

  • Guatemala Fair Trade Sale

  • Canvas Bag Project

  • Intergeneration Trip to New Orleans

  • Toiletry Kits to Shelters

  • ‘Rebuild Together’- working together with Westbridge Coalition to assist homeowners

  • UU-UNO Intergenerational Conference (April 2008)

    Contact Jamie Forbes, Director of Youth Outreach, [email protected]

Social action and you1
Social Action and You

  • Numerous and varied Social Justice Initiatives.

  • Opportunities that can fit your availability and level of interest.

  • Now you know… What We Do,

    And …

    What You Can Do!

  • Speak to any of us about it - no pressure.

    Thanks for your Time and Interest!

Committee chairs contact information
Committee Chairs & Contact Information