I am grateful to share my weekly message today with the Rev. Ashley Horan, the UUA’s Organizing Strategy Director. We write to share an update on UU the Vote and how it is pivoting in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
UU the Vote launched last fall with a mission to mobilize Unitarian Universalists to combat voter suppression, have values-based issue conversations in their communities, mobilize new and infrequent voters, and provide spiritual sustenance for faith-based electoral organizing.
By January, we saw this project and UUs across the country spring into heart-filled, meaningful action and commitment. This was – and still is – so hopeful!
So much has changed since January, but the importance of this work has not. If the stakes of the 2020 elections were incredibly high before, they are astronomical now. This pandemic is exposing in undeniable ways the fact that what was considered “normal” treated so many people as expendable.
Long-standing systems of white supremacy result in COVID-19 killing Black people at exponentially higher rates; as people in prisons and detention centers fight the death sentence of being incarcerated during coronavirus; as politicians re-open their states knowing full well it will kill their own citizens. Like so many of you, we know that our deepest Unitarian Universalist beliefs in the inherent worth and dignity of all people and radical interdependence are beckoning us to show up now to protect people in the present, while fighting for a more just and equitable world in the future.
It is insufficient to seek a return to “normal.” We must reckon with the reality that there is both opportunity and risk in this moment. We already see the ways that corporate bailouts are taking place over ensuring the basic needs of all people. This pandemic could be a moment where we respond in ways that reinforce a deadly status quo or – with the effort of people pulling together – it could be a time of major investment in equity and justice – finally putting people and the planet over profits.
This is why UU the Vote is pivoting to meet this moment. There are innovative, effective ways that we can fight for free and fair elections, even (and especially!) in the midst of a pandemic. Our congregations can be hubs of the organizing, relationship, and spiritual sustenance that are needed more than ever in these times.
Unitarian Universalists are being called to rise to this occasion. Will you join us on May 12th for UU the Vote’s “How We Thrive,” to fill our spirits and find inspiration for living our principles during this pandemic? Join us LIVE for a special update from UU the Vote, featuring musicians from across the country, a message from President Susan Frederick-Gray, and opportunities for you to get involved and make meaningful impacts in 2020.
It is time now, beloveds, and it will be good to learn and work and organize and witness together even as our world gasps and grieves. We are so grateful to be in the work with you.
In love and solidarity,
Susan Frederick-Gray and Ashley Horan