Meet our 2019 General Assembly Spark Leaders!

At this summer’s General Assembly, UUCSJ is excited to offer our third annual stipended leadership opportunity to alumni of our programs and related justice and leadership initiatives to support their engagement in social justice education, action, and outreach at GA. Read on to meet the team of awesome young adult justice-makers who will help “spark” connections and inspiration in the broader community of UUs gathered in Spokane, as part of our mission to inspire and sustain spiritually grounded activism for justice. Watch for them at Public Witness, the UUSC booth, at UUSC, Love Resists, and YA@GA workshops and events.


My name is Henry Katzman and I’m excited to introduce myself as a Spark Leader. Faithful Social Justice work has been a calling I have delved into these past few years. I have been called to many projects, mostly mental health advocacy and mentorship, but recently have worked with local political protesters, women’s marchers, and immigration justice seekers. I combine this work with participation in Unitarian Universalist programming, having attended Summer Seminary (As a recently bridged youth), Meaning Makers, The Youth Ministry Revival (having participated at a young adult) and local congregational leadership.

I will be attending Lesley University in the Fall, graduating in 2023. I plan to dual major in both Sociology and Social Work, paving a path to some form of ministerial work in the future. In the meantime, before school, I plan on publishing a book (which is almost written) and incorporating a nonprofit (which is also almost done), based around community gardening for marginalized folks. While serving as a Spark Leader, I hope to connect with young adults across the country, networking, listening, and advocating for what the future of social justice work looks like in our faith.

I look forward to meeting people at GA; if you see me feel free to say hi!


For a long part of my life I thought that I was alone. I didn’t know that there were other people who looked, thought and shared experiences like me. I couldn’t comprehend that someone could live life as their full authentic self, and that place of isolation was dark. I decided that my life had worth, and so did every single other person’s, and the spark within me was lit. At the time, I didn’t have the words to express the racism and discrimination I felt blatantly and insidiously through micro-aggressions. As my journey continued and the fight for my life and for others’ got stronger and harder, I felt my world blossom and bloom into a full flame when I found Unitarian Universalism. Even beyond that, when I attended UUCSJ’s GROW Racial Justice / THRIVE program, I met friends and family who affirmed me and loved all of me. Now because of that, I am able to be my authentic fat, biracial, pansexual, musical and silly self. Once you’ve seen the brilliance of that fully formed flame, there is no turning back. It is my hope in life to help spark other’s flames and lend some kindling or to fan a flame when times are tough. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve on UUCSJ’s 2019 GA Spark team! 


KellyAnn was born and raised in Spokane, WA where she attended the UU Church of Spokane throughout her childhood – she is so excited for this opportunity to once again be UU-ing in her hometown! After being involved in a campus UU group in college and spending a year in the Quaker Voluntary Service, she now lives in Rhode Island with her sweetheart and (too) many tomato plants. She spends her working hours as an Americorps VISTA helping efforts to end childhood lead poisoning, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, reclaiming gossip, trying to learn Spanish, attending free community trainings, singing random snatches of songs, and going to meetings (especially at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, where she is on the Sanctuary Committee).

Lately, her spark has been fueled by the presences and lessons of those who have stayed with the struggle – through difficulties, barriers, heartbreaks, and time.



Chloe is a 21-year-old member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno-Clovis, California. She’s a senior at CSU Fresno majoring in Strategic Communication, and some of her favorite pastimes include traveling, eating, and writing. As an alum of Luminary Leaders, Activate, Thrive, Grow, and Meaning Makers, she loves having the opportunity to connect and support fellow youth and young adults. Fun Fact! If you give Chloe a sticker, pin, or button, she may just give you a high five. As she enters into her third General Assembly, Chloe’s looking forward to joining others in discussing, supporting, and building the Power of We.

Meet our 2019 Interns!

The UU College of Social Justice offers summer internships for emerging young adults (ages 18-25) who wish to deepen their engagement with social justice and discover new ways to put their faith into action. Our goal is to offer young adults a first-hand experience of grassroots justice work along with framework that helps them explore potential career paths as well as their own spiritual development. Our team of 12 interns is working with 8 amazing grassroots organizations!

Casa Alitas/ Tucson, AZ:  Emily P.

Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal/ New Orleans, LA:  Derrick G. and Mackenzie B.

Engaging People in Change (EPIC)/ Millbrook, NY:  Jazmin C. and Niah T.

FM4 Paso Libre/ Guadalajara, MX:  Olivia T.

Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative:  Amnah K. and Julia K.

Rural & Migrant Ministry/ New York State:  Mel P.

UU College of Social Justice/ Cambridge, MA:  Alex W.

UU United Nations Office/ New York, NY:  Malama T. and Danieh F.

Congratulations and the best of luck to our Summer 2019 team! We know you will use your skills and talents to do amazing things and deepen your spiritual connection to social justice along the way.

Love Made Visible

Love Made Visible

The UUCSJ office does not feel like an office. Perhaps it is better described as a plant haven with desks, or a living room/library hybrid.  A splotch of green adorns every windowsill and table. Colorful photographs, posters, and cloth hang on the walls. A bilingual bookshelf filled with poetry, biographies, manifestos, meditations, and more sits between two walls of windows. Whenever I look up from my computer, I am greeted by a print of a large sunflower beneath bright green letters spelling out “GROW”. Indeed, the physical space CSJ occupies provides an intentional foundation upon which the organization can truly act out its values. For example, everyone talks through cubicle walls, standing up and walking over  to offer feedback, or share toffee. People play informative videos out loud and casually give book recommendations. Meetings are moved around, created, and cancelled depending on the flow of the day. I’m consistently impressed by the flexibility of the organization and its ability to critically look at itself, rethinking goals and processes until they are in line with CSJ’s mission. I had no idea that a room with cubicles could feel so cohesive & cozy.

A constant reminder to GROW!

My favorite days at CSJ were Tuesdays, when we would have a staff meeting. Every staff meeting began with a ‘grounding’—a reading (or a song!) to center everyone. The act of grounding, in my experience, actually extended into the next ritual—a check-in. Each person checks in with the group—not just an update on work projects, but insight into how you are feeling, what big things are happening in your life, what you might need this week, what you are excited about, how it felt to spend a weekend in the woods. And it is not just a simple summary—it is also a critical analysis and emotional interpretation. You can share about big ideas that are floating around, and how they have manifested themselves in your work and your personal life. From my first Tuesday with CSJ, it was clear that the staff functions well as a team because they take the time to listen and understand where everyone is each week. This sense of community was integral to my time with CSJ. Regardless of the work I was doing, I was uplifted and inspired by the people around me.  

Though most of my days were spent in the office, I was able to go on a few ‘field trips’ to deepen my understanding of immigration justice, one of CSJ’s big areas of focus. In mid-July, I was invited to attend a rally at the State House to encourage legislators to pass the 4 Key Protections as part of the FY19 budget, thus making Massachusetts into a sanctuary state. As soon as I stepped inside the State House and joined the security line, I could hear singing echoing through the hallways. Upon turning the corner I was surrounded by people of all ages, gathered around the grand staircase, singing: “We shall not be moved / Just like a tree that’s standing by the water side / We shall not be moved”. I was touched by the gentle persistence the song and the power of dozens of voices joining together in harmony. Before we ascended up the staircase, three religious leaders representing different groups joined together and invited everyone into prayer. We held hands, bowed our heads, and let the words of hope and resistance wash over us. The rest of the rally was filled with speeches, chants, and more singing. This was the first time I had experienced a level of spirituality within justice work.

Speaking with the press at the State House rally.

The mission of CSJ is to inspire and sustain faith-based justice work, and true to form, this internship has both inspired and sustained me. Even when I’m spending an entire day researching best practices for social media outreach or combing through spreadsheets or looking for the perfect article to retweet or re-writing a section of the newsletter ten times, I know that the work I am doing is tied to many larger goals. And I know I have a community of people to support me. None of the work we do would appear on a “How To Change The World” brochure, and yet, we are changing the world in our own way by making that brochure in the first place.  This summer has shown me a new side of justice work: the not-so-glamorous part. Throughout the past 3 months, I have been reminded of something I heard in high school, when I was on an immersion-learning trip to India with my school: “Invisible service is love made visible.” With every meeting attended and email sent, each person working at CSJ is making love visible. I feel immensely grateful to have seen all the love flowing out of CSJ and into the world this summer.


Julia was the UUCSJ intern for summer 2018. She will be a sophomore at Scripps College in the fall, and hopes to study environmental analysis with a focus on race, class, and gender.
Insights from our RAICES Interns

Insights from our RAICES Interns

This summer, two of our Global Justice Interns are working with RAICES. In the past few weeks, RAICES has been in the national spotlight for the work they have been doing to help reunite separated families. Thanks to a viral Facebook fundraiser, they have raised more than $20 million dollars to continue fighting for immigration justice. We reached out to our interns to see how they are feeling about working with such an important organization at such a critical time. Here is what they had to say:

“The opportunity to work for RAICES when they are essentially on the front line of many immigration issues has been an extremely humbling experience. On a daily basis we interact with moms fighting for their children’s right to a better future. I feel blessed to be able to help these families in any way possible. The work we do is hard, but it is essential. Immigrant rights are human rights and we must always fight for humanity. La lucha siegue!” – Diana

“As someone who is already passionate about immigration rights and the immigration movement; I was blown away when I arrived at RAICES. The attorneys, legal assistants, and others are equally as passionate. They commit to long hours, and work through nights if something needs to get done. It’s amazing to see a group of people equally committed to making a difference. It just fueled me to run with what I love – the immigration movement. When I arrived at Karnes Detention Center, I was nervous. However, I was greeted by women and children who are grateful for our work. It’s difficult to listen to their stories, however these women symbolize the every parent. Every parent would do anything to give their child love, security, and a future. It’s incredible to see these women and their resilience. The children are also so kind and joyful, despite it feeling like the world is against them. Like Diana said, the work we do is hard, but it needs to be done. Immigration is about family and it always will be, and I am grateful to be in the front lines of this movement. Let’s fight the good fight!” – Jamie


Diana (center) poses with two other RAICES interns at the San Antonio Families Belong Together Rally on June 30.

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

On June 1st, hurricane season starts again

On June 1st, hurricane season starts again

“On June 1st, hurricane season starts again.”

She repeated it. We were a tired, overwhelmed group of CSJ participants on a toxic tour run by t.e.j.a.s. (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services). Our group of ten college students and four adult leaders had spent the last week volunteering with Rebuilding Together Houston with their Harvey relief efforts. For four days, our dedicated group worked under the watchful, kind eyes of the Rebuilding crew leaders. We painted, de-molded, deconstructed, constructed and aided in the recovery of homes impacted by Hurricane Harvey. With all of our collective effort of the week, we helped with three houses. On our last day, we left early to join this toxic tour.

“On June 1st, hurricane season starts again.”

Connecticut College Group Rebuilding Together HoustonIt was difficult to imagine hurricane force winds with the mild sun and chilly breezes we had been enjoying. On this day, the skies were clouded over and our guide directed our eyes to the gas flames being emitted above the petrochemical companies. We were standing in a children’s playground as we watched the gas burn. We were surrounded by houses. At a local mural, our guide pointed out the references to the petrochemical companies local children had drawn as a part of their community. This was their normal. These were all communities of color.

“On June 1st, hurricane season starts again.”

As we drove through seemingly endless miles of petrochemical infrastructure, we started to understand scale. As we peered over the edge of what had once been a popular lodge and heard about polluted flood waters and the damage they did to both buildings and human bodies, we started to understand impact. As our guide spoke about history and laws, we thought about historical patterns of abuse. And as we visited communities and heard about local resistance, we began to think about justice.

“On June 1st, hurricane season starts again.”

One of the most difficult parts of the toxic tour happened for me once it was over. Our rental van was running on empty. I plugged directions into my GPS and gratefully pulled into a gas station. Once there, I raised my eyes to see the name of the same petrochemical company that we had heard about during our tour—Valero. I put gas in the car and I cringed. How  to confront the enormity of this? How to understand not only our society’s dependence on fossil fuels, but also the effects that this has on the environment? How to understand that Hurricane Harvey was the third “500 year flood” (1/500 chance in happening per year) in five years? How to understand that connection of environmental justice with our country’s ongoing legacy of white supremacy?

“On June 1st, hurricane season starts again.”

I don’t know. But after that tour where we used our vehicle’s gas to drive from petrochemical plant to petrochemical plant, where we looked out our windows at the passing miles of petrochemical infrastructure as if we were on some sort of convoluted Texas safari, I was left mainly with a sense of scale. It’s a big problem. It’s gonna take a big solution. The beauty of both the toxic tour and our time with Rebuilding Houston was that we learned not only about the effects of the hurricane and environmental pollution, but also the power of communities coming together. People in strong networks create a web of support that might be the only thing that can keep us all floating with the rising tides. We will need those life rafts in the days to come. As we were reminded over and over,

“On June 1st, hurricane season starts again.”