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Tim DeChristopher Selected as UUA’s 2013 Holmes-Weatherly Award Winner
The Holmes-Weatherly Award is given to an individual or organization, not necessarily a Unitarian Universalist, whose life-long commitment to faith-based social justice is reflected in societal transformation.
The award panel was moved by Mr. DeChristopher’s extraordinary commitment to environmental justice. From his radical non-violent protest as ‘Bidder 70’ at a 2008 auction of oil and gas leases to his ongoing commitment to organizing, including the formation of his organization Peaceful Uprising, his leadership has been inspiring. Additionally, Tim’s clear vision of justice-making as a spiritual practice as articulated in his essay ‘Activism is an act of faith’, is a clarion call to Unitarian Universalists to embody and honor our faith by acting for justice. (Learn more about Tim DeChristopher in UUWorld’s 2012 profile of him.)
Vince Pawlowski, Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth Board of Directors said in his letter of support: “In the extended time during trial delays when Tim faced up to ten years in prison and a million dollar fine, he had the courage to lead Peaceful Uprising and the national youth climate justice movement at the Power Shift conference, rather than shrink in fear. He became an inspiration to many, and kept to the integrity of his message of universal climate justice. That inspiration is evident in that I found many of his Peaceful Uprising friends at climate activism events around the country during his incarceration. His interest in serving our faith as a minister and calm, patient demeanor exhibited over the past year since his transitional supervised release are indicative of a man who has grown into a future leadership role.”
In his letter of support, Rev. Neal Anderson, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, wrote: “Tim’s deep commitment to environmental and social justice is grounded in his Unitarian Universalist faith. He is called to act in the face of the catastrophic consequences of unaddressed climate change. The actions which led to a two year prison sentence took deep courage to engage in. Despite the knowledge that his act of civil disobedience would most likely lead to a prison sentence, Tim did not accept a plea bargain. He knew that his act would have even greater impact if he was to go to trial and have an opportunity to further educate the public about this current crisis. His courage in presenting the case for urgent action on climate change has inspired so many people to further action.
Tim’s acts of moral and spiritual courage put him amongst the great cloud of Unitarian and Universalist’s who have preceded him in bending the arc of the universe towards justice. Tim’s actions have indeed changed the course of history and inspired countless youth and elders to take a stand for climate justice. I hope that this award will not only honor Tim, but also inspire others to act for justice in ways that are consistent with and called forth by our Unitarian Universalist faith.”
About the Award
The Holmes-Weatherly Award is given to an individual or organization, not necessarily a Unitarian Universalist, whose life-long commitment to faith-based social justice is reflected in societal transformation. The Unitarian Society for Social Justice established the award in 1951 to honor its founders, Revs. John Haynes Holmes and Arthur Weatherly. The recognition is accompanied by a $500 cash award. Past recipients include Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Rev. Richard Gilbert; Planned Parenthood; and Rev. Marie Fortune.
Nominations should include:
- A one-page introduction to the nominee.
- No more than three letters of personal testimony or reference.
- Any relevant media that has been generated about the nominee.
Questions may be directed to the Administrator at (617) 948-4241.
Nominations are due on March 1.
Send entries to:
UUA Congregational Advocacy & Witness Office
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston MA 02210-1409
Or by e-mail to: socialjustice [at] uua [dot] org with Holmes-Weatherly Award in the Subject Line