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Nonpartisan Civic Engagement Initiative Will Focus on Strengthening Democracy, Organizing for Justice and Accountability
Boston, Mass. (April 14, 2022) – The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is announcing that it has launched its UU the Vote initiative for the 2022 elections. UU the Vote is a nonpartisan civic engagement initiative focused on strengthening democracy and organizing for justice, accountability, and healing. The effort was launched at a virtual event (Vimeo) on Sunday, April 10th that featured UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray, Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations from across the country, and partner organizations.
“A commitment to democracy is central to our faith tradition and it is also central to our society. It is a principle that recognizes that every voice matters and is needed,” said UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray. “We recognize we have an obligation to raise our voices and act on our values to strengthen democracy by fighting for fair elections, advancing voting rights, protecting abortion access, and resisting the targeting and criminalization of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities as well as LGBTQIA+ individuals, especially trans and nonbinary people.”
The UUA 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. Volunteers sent more than a million postcards and held more than 350 UU the Vote events in 35 states. UU the Vote also co-hosted phone banks with partners in key states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In total, UU the Vote volunteers contacted more than 3 million voters, including outreach to more than 148,000 voters in Michigan, 45,000 voters in Pennsylvania, and 36,000 voters in Nevada.
“There is so much at stake in the 2022 elections – and not just at the federal level. There are a number of ballot initiatives across the country that will have long-term implications for reproductive justice, voting rights, direct democracy, labor rights, education, health care, and more. Our faith calls us to take action for our values, knowing these are issues that impact all of us - but especially those who are already most marginalized in our society,” said Rev. Ashley Horan, Organizing Strategy Director for the Unitarian Universalist Association. “For this year, UU the Vote will focus on those ballot initiatives as well make sure all communities can and do access their right to vote at the local, state, and federal levels.”
At the event, JaZahn Hicks was introduced as the new campaign manager for the UU the Vote initiative. Hicks was an organizer in Pennsylvania for the 2020 Biden presidential campaign and helped to elect Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia Senate runoff campaign. He subsequently was part of the team that ran two statewide judicial campaigns in Pennsylvania and was the Field Director for five local races in that state. Most recently, he managed phone banking efforts for the City of Philadelphia’s Philly Counts community engagement initiative, which contacted more than 750,000 to ensure they had access to the COVID-19 vaccine, rental assistance, and other important resources that the city has to offer. A New Jersey native and currently a resident of Philadelphia, JaZahn Hicks is a Minister at Agape Fellowship Christian Church in Clayton, New Jersey.
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.