Written by Sandy Sorensen
“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoken decades ago, are as true today as they ever were. Moving into a new year, one that holds tremendous challenges and opportunities, your faithful advocacy is now more important than ever.
We are here to partner with you – to support you, struggle with you, celebrate with you and share your story as we work for justice and peace in 2017 and beyond.
Ready to get to it? Here are seven ideas to jump-start your advocacy in 2017:
1) Strengthen the Movement:
Invite at least 10 friends to join the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network. Share the link to join (ucc.org/join_the_network) or download a sign up sheet and collect signatures in your congregation and send it back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Support Each Other:
Reach out to others in your congregation and local community who are doing justice work. Pray together. Create safe space for healing and recharging. Find ways you can support each other’s efforts throughout the year. Also “like” our Facebook page to connect with other UCC advocates and find events and resources.
3) Learn & Advocate:
Ask important questions and deepen your knowledge of the important policy issues and their impact on the most vulnerable in our communities. We have highlighted a few of the major policy issues likely to see action in the coming months. While not an exhaustive list, you can click here to find out more about several specific policy issues in these key areas:
4) Build Relationships:
Reach out to and establish relationships with key decision makers at all levels of policymaking – from school boards, to city councils, to state legislatures, to members of Congress and the new Administration. Introduce yourself as a member of the United Church of Christ who cares about justice and the common good. Enter your address here to find your elected officials.
5) Show Up:
Participate in and organize your own public witness events. Many national events, such as the upcoming Women’s March on Washington in January have coinciding local and regional events. [Learn more about the UCC presence at the Washington, DC gathering.]
6) Take Your Advocacy to the Next Level:
Plan to attend the 2017 Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference in Washington, DC April 21-24, 2017. The theme is “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community,” addressing the challenges of racism, materialism and militarism. Our very own UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer will be delivering a keynote address at the conference. Learn more and register.
7) Remember That Your Voice Matters:
Although the advocacy landscape for the year ahead will hold challenges and uncertainties, there are things we can count on – our voice is as important as it ever ways, and as difficult as the way forward may seem, we have the gifts and tools we need for the work. We are surrounded and uplifted by our courageous and prophetic UCC justice witness over the years, and by the great cloud of witnesses who have struggled before us. We are not alone – the transformative spirit of God moves in, through and among our community and communities.
In taking up the challenge to bring healing to a broken world, I think often of the teaching of Rabbi Tarfon, words that have helped sustain me when my spirit is weary: “It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task. Yet you are not free to desist from it.” And so it is, in such a time as this, as we follow the arc of the universe that bends toward justice.
We look forward to working and witnessing together with you!
Courage in the struggle for justice and peace,
United Church of Christ Washington Office