Welcome to Social Justice
The Unitarian Church in Westport serves as a beacon of justice in and beyond our community. The Social Justice Council, with the Senior Minister, leads the congregation’s efforts and provides assistance to our social action committees.
Time sensitive, effective volunteer opportunities exist for those interested in advocating, educating, organizing, serving and witnessing for social justice. All are welcome.
SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEES
We have been active in gun control since members of our congregation were founders, 20 years ago, of Connecticut Against Gun Violence and have consistently advocated for gun safety ever since. While the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation on April4, 2013 in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook there is still much more to be done both on the state and federal levels.
In the year 2000, our congregation voted to adopt this struggling inner-city school in Bridgeport, CT. Since then, church members have supported the staff and students of Beardsley Elementary School through volunteer work and financial donations for special projects and urgent needs. Most importantly, our volunteers become mentors, tutors and readers for grades K-6. Over the past 12 years, our congregation has provided bi-annual Read Aloud Days, opera and theater, job coaching, financial seminars, art, book clubs, myriad school and teacher supplies, winter coats, backpacks, clothing, many new and used books, scholarships, swimming lessons, musical instruments, anti-violence training, Principal for a Day, speakers, participation in work days, an annual Pot Luck Supper and a Teacher Appreciation event.
The Immigration Committee’s mission is to help immigrants in their struggle to integrate into the community, to work for more just and humane immigration policies, and to engage as many volunteers as possible in the process.
The Microfinance Committee lends funds to entrepreneurs in developing nations through a web-based organization called KIVA. On their website, the founders of KIVA describe the service as, “the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.” Its mission is “to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.”
The loans made through KIVA are uniquely risk-free and transparent. We can track exactly who receives our loans, what they are doing with the funding, and when they pay it back. The KIVA website deducts no fees so all loans have 100% pass-through to recipients, whose repayment rates are exceptionally high, averaging 98%.
You can join the UU Westport KIVA lending team by going to the website: kiva.org. Once you are on the site, select the “Community” box then enter “Westport” in the box entitled “Search for a lending team”. The site will then prompt you to request to join the “KIVA/Social Justice Council–Unitarian Church in Westport CT”. From there, you can make donations as part of our team. Alternatively, you can make funds available to the committee to lend for you. You may also want to join the KIVA Committee, which meets on the first Tuesday each month, and help us raise and distribute funds.
The Racial Justice Committee plans and implements initiatives to make the Unitarian Church in Westport more welcoming to people of all races.
Members of the committee prepare and present a special service for Martin Luther King Sunday and help to expand the congregation’s awareness of the real and harmful effects of racism through ongoing reading and discussion groups, film showings, and speakers. We are also connecting with community groups working on racial justice.
For starters, please join our e-mail list and we’ll keep you updated on area events, book discussions, and other awareness raising projects.
Westbridge is a coalition of six local churches and synagogues that repair and renovate homes and community buildings for families and organizations that can not afford to or are otherwise incapable of have the work done. We work with ReBuilding Together in an effort to maintain existing housing.
Volunteers, teenagers and adults, no matter what your skill level are welcome. We have skilled crafts people who are excellent teachers. You’re guaranteed to leave knowing more than when you started. We primarily work on Saturdays.
We can always use your help in construction, family and beneficiary selection, telephone and e-mail communication, photography, and fundraising. Or you can donate materials (or the money to by them) including windows, doors, insulation, programmable thermostats, grab rails, paint, CFL light bulbs, lumber and plumber and electrician supplies.