The following post was written by Joe Gayeski, a participant in the Global Justice Summer Internships. A student at University of Edinburgh studying International Relations, Gayeski served as an intern at UUCSJ’s headquarters.  

We do a lot of preaching in the United States. If you’re like me and were raised Unitarian Universalist and attended American schools, you’ve heard the sanctity of democracy sermonized in more than one place. From the seven principles of our covenant to the Constitution of our United States, the democratic process is taught as a fundamental virtue. Democracy brings each person’s vote into account, understanding the inherent worth and dignity of every person to include hearing every person’s voice.

We’ve all heard the preaching. But we’re having a lot of trouble practicing.

As an intern at the UUCSJ, I researched the widespread issue of voter suppression. My research identified the measures employed to suppress the vote of minorities, the many states considering such policies, and potential partner organizations addressing the democratic crisis. My research will be the foundation of a future UUCSJ program designed to equip participants with the education and skills to address election justice in their communities. As a Unitarian Universalist, I understood this issue as a dehumanizing attack on the inherent dignity of fellow Americans wishing to participate in our democracy. It was my effort to drive our democracy towards practicing what we preach.

The UUCSJ gave me the opportunity to explore a justice issue and contribute to program development. Furthermore, I assisted with the National Youth Justice Training, explored online advertisement, and gained an understanding of cross-cultural competency. UUCSJ is an organization dedicated to bringing social justice education and skills to UU’s and beyond of any age. If you’ve been looking for a chance to learn first-hand about a social justice issue and how to equip yourself to bring the work home, look no further. Learn with us. Let’s practice what we preach.

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