This post was written by Tim DeChristopher, seminary intern for UUCSJ.
I’m Tim DeChristopher, and I’m excited to be joining the team at the UU College of Social Justice. I am currently a student at Harvard Divinity School, where I am pursuing my Masters of Divinity to become a UU minister. My field education project this year will be working with the UUCSJ to help organize Commit2Respond, a joint program with the UUA and the UUSC that will focus on climate justice in the spring of 2015.
Prior to entering Harvard Divinity School, I spent several years working on climate justice with Peaceful Uprising in Salt Lake City, Utah. That organization grew out of my act of civil disobedience of disrupting a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in 2008. I eventually served two years in federal prison for that action, and I was released in April of 2013. That chapter of my life was documented in the film “Bidder70.” I’m still working for climate justice while continually deepening my understanding of the intersectionality of oppressive structures.
This week I’ll be in Fall River, MA supporting two activists who are standing trial for using their lobster boat to blockade a shipment of West Virginia coal from being delivered to the Brayton Point power plant. They will be making the case that they had a necessity to act to prevent the harm of climate change, and Bill McKibben and James Hansen will be taking the stand to help make the case.
The Commit2Respond program will be an effort to unify and propel the work that UUs and congregations are already doing on climate change. As part of the Commit2Respond program, we’re hoping to have a training next summer that launches a Climate Justice Organizers Core of committed and trained activists that are embedded in congregations around the country, and my efforts will be focused on that part of the project. I look forward to bringing the UUCSJ’s focus on social justice into the struggle for climate justice.