5 Reasons to Visit the UUCSJ Booth at GA

5 Reasons to Visit the UUCSJ Booth at GA

Are you going to Kansas City for the UUA’s General Assembly 2018? UUCSJ is and we would love to have you stop by our booth to say hello. If you need some convincing, here are the top 5 reasons YOU should visit us at GA!

Get this year’s button!

Every year, we at UUCSJ pick a quote that connects to the theme at GA and spreads a message aligned with our values. General Assembly is your first (and often last) chance to get each button as we never print more than what we bring with us. Stop by our booth in the exhibit hall (this year we are with the UUSC) and grab yours.

2Talk to UUCSJ staff, Program Leaders and Alumni Leaders

As usual, Heather (our Senior Associate for Outreach, Enrollment and Administration) will be at the booth the most often, but you will also have chances to talk to Deva Jones (Senior Associate for Service Learning and Internships), Gina Collignon (Senior Associate for Immersion Learning), the Rev. Kathleen McTigue (our Director), our three alumni leaders and maybe even some of our fabulous program leaders.

Get a daily meditative reading in

This year, we will have a daily meditation at our booth, so wander by and take some time to spiritually center yourself during the hustle and bustle of GA.

Ask about our new congregational starter kits

Are you interested in getting a group from your congregation on one of our immersion learning journeys? Do you want more people to know about our internship and volunteer programs? Ask about our new congregational starter kits full of information and promotional materials to help you inspire social justice activism in your church.

The ribbons of course!

We have ribbons, yes we do. We have ribbons so can you! Stop by our booth and sign up to receive our monthly newsletter (or let us know you already are signed up) and we’ll give you one of our UU College of Social Justice ribbons to add to your collection.

UUCSJ Alumni Leaders At General Assembly 2018

UUCSJ Alumni Leaders At General Assembly 2018

This year, UUCSJ is excited to have three alumni leaders joining us in Kansas City for General Assembly. These three young adults have all participated in at least one of our immersion learning programs and are excited to assist with workshop facilitation and promotion, do some in-person and social media outreach, and help connect youth and young adult attendees to social justice opportunities at GA and to UUCSJ’s current array of programs. Meet this year’s alumni leaders below!

Rachael Milles

Alumni leader Rachael MillesRachael cultivated a passion for justice work growing up in the UU faith. She has served in various leadership roles both within her home congregation Main Line Unitarian Church, and on the national level at GA. She is grateful to MLUC for both “being the village that raised her” and helping her to attend UUCSJ’s Haiti service-learning trip.

Six months ago, Rachael moved cross-country to Tucson, Arizona to work in immigration justice, inspired by her first GA in Phoenix, AZ. She works with the Mayor’s office helping promote citizenship in the city and volunteers with No More Deaths, Keep Tucson Together, and the Tucson Samaritans. She envisions a country without borders where families are a pillar of immigration policy.

Favorite Quote: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson

Rosemary Dodd

Alumni Leader Rosemary DoddRosemary is a recent graduate of Wellesley College, where she studied Political Science and Spanish. After interning with RAICES Texas in the summer of 2016, she has deepened her commitment to working towards the end of family detention and for immigration justice. A lifelong Unitarian Universalist, she is excited about youth leadership and young adult involvement. She lives in Northern California and enjoys reading, crafts, cooking, and hanging out with her dog.

Favorite Quote: “Finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start. And when one person taps out a beat, while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.” -Pete Seeger

Alumni Leader Abby CrumAbby Crum

Abby Crum is a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a BA in linguistics. She is a life long UU and hopefully a future seminarian. She has worked with the College of Social Justice as a summer justice intern in New Orleans with the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal. She is excited and grateful to be part of the Alumni Leadership team at GA this year.

Favorite Quote: “The final word is love” – Dorothy Day

UUCSJ at General Assembly 2018

UUCSJ at General Assembly 2018

We’re just about a month away from the UUA’s General Assembly 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri! The theme this year is All Are Calledand we at UUCSJ are getting excited to connect with so many UUs from all across the country and around the world.

This year, we have three workshops that we hope those of you attending will check out.

Kathleen and Padre Melo at a protest in Honduras

Kathleen and Padre Melo at a protest in Honduras

Saying Yes and Saying No

(Thu, June 21, 1:30PM-2:30PM)

Our common impulse to try to respond to every justice issue is a recipe for ineffectiveness and burn-out. This meditative practice helps participants get centered in their deepest calling, and recognize that saying YES is served by the imperative to also say NO, in order to focus attention and energy

Presenter: Rev. Kathleen McTigue

Love Resists Criminalization

(Thu, June 21, 3:00PM-5:30PM)

Criminalization is a tactic used throughout the country to dehumanize whole communities, especially Black activists, immigrants, and Muslims. This workshop offers ways to resist through grassroots partnerships, spiritual grounding, ongoing learning, and practical tools for action including direct accompaniment, creative forms of community protection, and campaigns to end cash bail.

Presenters: Viridiana Martinez, Hannah Hafter, Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, Rev. Kathleen McTigue

Gina and Marissa in Nicaragua

Gina and Marissa in Nicaragua

Liberation of the Imagination: Art, Games & Social Change

(Thu, June 21, 3:00PM-5:30PM)

All are called to engage our creative spirits in the work of making change. Participants will explore ways to confront injustice through artistic expression and the creation of interactive games. We’ll discuss how art and play helps generate constructive feedback and builds skills that can transform our activism and ourselves. This will be a youth-focused workshop, open to participants of all ages.

Presenters: Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario, Gina Collignon, and UUCSJ Alumni Leaders


UUCSJ staff and partners are also involved with some of the workshops and events hosted by our parent organization UUSC. Learn more about that at https://www.uusc.org/general-assembly-2018/

If you’re coming to GA, please consider joining us at these workshops and events, stop by the UUCSJ table to say hello, and stay tuned for other opportunities to connect by downloading the General Assembly app and following UUCSJ on social media ( Facebook | Twitter | Instagram).

UUCSJ By The Numbers

UUCSJ By The Numbers

The UU College of Social Justice was jointly founded in the summer of 2012 by the UUA and UUSC, so this year we are celebrating a big anniversary. We are grateful for all of our alumni and supporters who have made our work possible!

In honor of of all of you and our anniversary, here is CSJ by the numbers (as of October 2017).



UUCSJ has been inspiring and sustaining faith based action for social justice for 5 years!


During our 5 years, we have run 39 immersion journeys for adults, with a total of 470 participants (78 of whom were ministers, DREs or seminary students).


Through 18 week-long youth focused immersion learning journeys and training programs as well as three one-day offerings during General Assembly, 392 youth have experienced how Unitarian Universalism can inform their work for justice.


We have placed 65 interns in summer-long immersion internships in over 15 different grassroots justice organizations.


We have sent 53 skilled volunteers to placements with partner organizations for between one to 8 weeks. Most of those placements were lawyers and Spanish speakers working with RAICES in San Antonio Texas to help the women and children detained in Karnes.


Total participants across our programs totals 1,063. This number does not include collaborative training programs like the UU-UNO Spring Seminar and the Goldmine Youth Leadership program which extend our reach even further!


Of the participants who have completed an impact assessment form, 88% said that, as a result of their journey, they have a deeper sense of the connection between their faith and the role it can play in social justice.


Participants – both those who came as individuals and those traveling in a congregational delegation – came from 260 congregations representing nearly every state in the country.

But Have You Cried Together?

But Have You Cried Together?

Mara Iverson is a young adult from the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, VT who recently participated in UUCSJ and the UUA’s GROW Racial Justice 2017 in New Orleans. Mara is a member of Central Vermont SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) and is the co-chair of the diversity and inclusion working group on the university campus where she works.

“Yeah, but have you cried together? Because we have,” a Thrive participant stressed.

I, a Shift participant, responded, “Well, we teared up at one point. So, I guess we white-people-cried.”

I have spent the weeks since our time in New Orleans this June thinking hard about the importance of the question “but have you cried together.”

For context, Grow Racial Justice is a program intended to “equip UU young adults of color (Thrive) and white UU young adults (Shift) with the skills, spiritual grounding, and community to engage in racial justice work within and beyond our Unitarian Universalist faith.” In the Shift cohort we dove into understanding the culture of white supremacy that is part of us and that we contribute to.

We started by writing a covenant that was meant to guide us and also acknowledge that we would break our promises. And it was intended to give us the means to come back together in love when that happens. The covenant helped us as we considered hard realities about white supremacy culture. We recognized how we strive for perfection and fear mistakes. We thought about how white supremacy culture lets us make excuses.

I want to draw your attention to words I used: considered, recognized, thought. We spent most of our time together thinking. We dwelled in our heads trying to memorize and practice. That, friends, is so white. It is so white to try to memorize our way to perfect understanding. Sure, we have to have information, but injustice is not just about facts and figures. It is about deep feelings

During an activity from the Beloved Conversations curriculum we explored the values that drive us toward our justice-seeking goals and the values that stop us from reaching those goals. We ended up wading into what secretly terrifies and freezes us. Suddenly we realized our racism is bound up in our own weakest places. From that time on we were differently bonded and open. But we had still only scratched the surface.

There was a painful moment just before the program ended when we had to face that even with our best intentions we sometimes still do harm. So we started again. We read our covenant again and recommitted to it. We shared feelings. Some of us cried. Some of us held hands or leaned against each other. Then with hearts laid open we brought our broken voices together to sing Spirit of Life.

I cannot do the work of racial justice with my mind alone. I cannot just watch documentaries or even just call legislators. I have to grieve that I contain and must unlearn white supremacy. I have to show up with vulnerability. I have to let love crack me open so that when I cry it will not be to weaponize my guilt. It will be to create bonds that hold me accountable to people of color and other allies as I teach my spirit to shift.

Meet the Activate @ GA team!

UUCSJ offers a variety of Activate Youth Justice programs, including at General Assembly. This year, for the first time, we are excited to welcome a team of awesome Activate Youth Leaders who are helping shape, facilitate, and promote our youth justice workshops in New Orleans, in collaboration with the Youth Caucus team. Get to know the Activate Youth Leaders (and a few adults, too) via their bios below and come say “Hello!” if you’ll be in New Orleans in June!

Pablo deVos-Deak is finishing his freshman year of high school and attends the Unitarian Society of New Haven, where he serves as a K1 teacher and is involved with his youth group. Born in Guatemala, he has traveled the world and most recently gone to China for two weeks. Pablo is very passionate about social justice and among other youth leadership experiences, has participated in a youth visit to the College of Social Justice and workshops at the UU-UNO Spring Seminar. Along with being a “sneaker-head” and playing three sports, he also loves trying new foods, playing the the piano, drums and steel pans, and listening to Logic. He looks forward to attending his 7th GA this year!


Adele Gelperin
is a rising junior at Mount Holyoke College, where they study religion and education. They grew up in the Unitarian Society of New Haven and now call Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence a second home.  Adele is a handbell enthusiast, a bookworm, and an aspiring elementary school teacher, who can often be found singing songs from Moana, arguing about philosophy, and tromping through the woods. They are an alum of Activate Boston (when it was known as National Youth Justice Training) and are thrilled to join the UUCSJ team and meet even more UUs at GA this year.

Liam McAlpin is a rising high school sophomore from Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tahlequah and attends Sequoyah High School, an all Native tribal school run by Cherokee Nation, where he is a member of his school’s student council and strives to make his school and community a safe and better place for all. Liam also attends Squirrel Ridge, one of the last remaining traditional Cherokee ceremonial grounds, where he is a proud member of the ground’s leadership and helps keep his Cherokee culture and spirituality alive. When Liam has free time, which isn’t that common, he enjoys making and listening to music, writing poetry and short stories, and spending time with his family and friends.

Chloe Ockey
attends the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno in Fresno, California. She is currently a college sophomore majoring in Communication Studies, who wishes to pursue a career in Public Relations. Some of her many hobbies include music composition, writing, and travel. As an alum of Luminary Leaders, Activate Boston, and Thrive West, she has participated in a variety of opportunities related to UU youth leadership and social justice. She can’t wait to meet all of you at General Assembly this year!


Abiy Welch
is a first-year student at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Her hometown is Hillsboro, Oregon and she attends both West Hills UU Fellowship and the UU Church of Eugene. She is a ‘13 GoldMine alumni, ’15 Summer Seminary alumni, is a member of the PWR GoldMine staff and is a peer chaplain. In 2016, she went to New Orleans for UUCSJ Activate Racial Justice! In her free time, she loves to sing hymns and read children’s books to others. The biggest thing that she took away from her Activate! trip was to find something you are passionate about, find that community, and stick to it. Join Abiy at GA for some food, coffee, or just a chat about anything and everything! She says, “Remember: Always. Believe. In. Yourself!”

Kristin Famula
has been a religious educator for the past decade, currently serving as the Acting Director of Religious Education at the UU Community of the Mountains in Grass Valley, CA, and previously as Director of Religious Education at Prairie UU Church in Colorado. As an educator and a life-long UU, she works to create and offer opportunities for people of all ages to deepen their commitment to transforming systems of oppression through reflection, learning and relationships. Kristin also serves as President of the National Peace Academy (nationalpeaceacademy.us), an educational institute dedicated to holistic peace-building. The National Peace Academy focuses on developing and offering learning opportunities for bringing forth the peace-builder in all of us, including through international opportunities for youth leadership and cultural exchange. As a UUCSJ Program Leader, Kristin has led several immersion learning journeys, including last year’s Activate New Orleans and a recent youth journey to the US/Mexico border.

Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario is a UUCSJ Program Leader and the Founder and Executive Director of Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE). As a committed human rights activist, artist, educator, and advocate for youth, Marissa launched ARTE in 2013 to help young people amplify their voices and organize for human rights and social change in their communities through the arts. Since early childhood, Marissa became interested in the arts and its potential for bringing attention to important social issues within her community. At an early age, Marissa also developed the propensity to lead as a student activist and public servant through her involvement in several non-profit organizations, including: United Students Against Sweatshops, the Advocacy Lab, Public Allies New York, Global Kids, and the UUA. In all of these experiences, Marissa realized the need to support young people in their development as organizers to help cultivate the next generation of social justice leaders. She has recently supported UUCSJ’s expansion of new initiatives in Nicaragua and new training collaborations such as the UNO Spring Seminar.

Angela Kelly is SO grateful to be working with this amazing Activate@GA team and in collaboration with the awesome Youth Caucus staff! As Senior Associate for Justice Education at UUCSJ, her work focuses on developing opportunities to integrate activism, popular education, and spiritual practice. As a teen, immersion learning journeys fueled her own passion for human rights and social justice and in the years since, supporting youth leadership has remained an energizing component of her work, which has included 15 years of organizing in various contexts for peace, community empowerment, health equity, refugee solidarity, and racial justice. These days, being rooted in her neighborhood, running in nature, circling up with kindred spirits, painting and scattering #KindnessRocks, and hanging out in child’s pose renew and sustain her ability to “rejoice & resist”.

We all look forward to seeing you soon!