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Boston, Mass. (September 7, 2022) – The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is announcing today that the UU the Vote initiative will focus on 12 states for the 2022 election cycle. UU the Vote is a nonpartisan civic engagement initiative focused on strengthening democracy and organizing for justice, accountability, and healing. The 12 states are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
“As Unitarian Universalists, we have an obligation to act on our Principles and values to strengthen democracy by fighting for fair elections, advancing voting rights, promoting reproductive justice, and resisting the targeting and criminalization of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities as well as LGBTQIA+ individuals, especially trans and nonbinary people,” said UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray.
The UUA launched the 2022 UU the Vote effort at a virtual event (Vimeo) in April. The association successfully conducted its first UU the Vote initiative in 2020. More than 450 UU congregations and more than 5,000 volunteers participated in voter mobilization, get out the vote, and election defense efforts in all 50 states during the presidential election year. In total, UU the Vote volunteers contacted more than 3 million voters.
“We selected these 12 states because we know that UU congregations and individuals can make a tremendous difference in democratic engagement in these states this year,” said JaZahn Hicks, the campaign manager for UU the Vote. “We want to equip UUs and others to have values-based conversations around important ballot initiatives as well as the issues that candidates are debating.”
Across the country, there are a number of ballot initiatives that will have long-term implications for reproductive justice, voting rights, direct democracy, labor rights, education, health care, and more. In 2022, UU the Vote will focus on ballot initiatives in several states - Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, and Virginia - to make sure all communities can protect their rights at the local, state, and federal levels.
The Michigan UU Social Justice Network (MUUSJN) is supporting the efforts of frontline organizations to educate the public on reproductive justice and protecting democracy through Get Out the Vote mobilizations efforts. Additionally, MUUSJN is working with partner organizations to support outreach and education on critical ballot initiatives in that state. “Our UU state action network helped collect enough signatures to put two issues on Michigan’s 2022 ballot: Reproductive Freedom for All and Promote the Vote, which protects voting rights. With support from the UUA, we are helping inform UUs in our state to better understand the issues and to vote their values,” said Randy Block, Director of the Michigan UU Social Justice Network (MUUSJN).
In Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, UU the Vote will focus on educating voters on the issues at stake during this campaign cycle.
For instance, in Arizona, there is a special election to replace the Maricopa County Attorney. Unitarian Universalists, with a long-established commitment to abortion access, are continuing their advocacy and engagement to ensure voters understand the risks to reproductive justice in the state. All but one of Arizona’s abortion clinics are located in Maricopa County. The next County Attorney will make critical decisions about the use of prosecutorial discretion in regards to abortion in Arizona, among other issues.
“Arizona UUs have been working to live out their values in their voter education work. We have already called hundreds of voters, knocked on hundreds of doors, written thousands of letters and postcards, and served as poll workers and voter protection volunteers – and we’re just getting started!” said Casey Clowes, Congregational Organizer, and UU the Vote, Legislative Advocacy, and Climate Justice Programs Coordinator for Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona Network.
UU the Vote is working on ballot initiatives, democratic engagement and voter education with partners on the ground, including UU state action networks and organizations like the Poor People’s Campaign, Florida Rising, the New Georgia Project, POWER, Wisdom, Vote Forward, KY Health Justice Network, Planned Parenthood, Michigan Voices, and Fems for Democracy.
Visit the UU the vote website if you are interested in learning more or in participating.
About the UUA
The UUA is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States. Our faith is diverse and inclusive and the UUA’s 1000+ member congregations are committed to Seven Principles that hold closely the worth and dignity of each person as sacred, the need for justice and compassion, and the right to choose one’s own beliefs.