Emerson Justice Advocates Corner
For those that wish to engage in social justice activity, Emerson has a wealth of opportunities from which to choose. These activities can be roughly categorized into Service and Advocacy & Public Witness work. Service work addresses the effects of social injustice. Advocacy & Public Witness work addresses the causes of social injustice.
Some examples of the valuable service justice work taking place at Emerson are the English as Second Language, the Rebuild Houston, and Sandwiches for SEARCH programs.
Opportunities for Advocacy & Public Witness within the congregation are gathered under an umbrella organization known as Emerson Justice Advocates (EJA). Within this organization, multiple opportunities for engagement exist. Please feel free to email Kenny Jones, facilitator of EJA at firstname.lastname@example.org or by text or voice message to 832-654-1779.
Emerson Justice Advocates Steering Committee – For those interested in leadership, there is the EJA Steering Committee which is responsible for setting the agenda for the organization and overseeing its operation.
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) – For those interested in national and international human rights and working to engage our congregation in such work, there is a need for a representative(s) to serve as the congregational representative of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). This individual or team is responsible for marshalling support for the work of UUSC both in terms of campaign engagement and membership development.
Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry (TXUUJM) – If lobbying and direct action in regard to issues present at both the state and local policy making levels are of interest, opportunities exist for engagement with the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry (TXUUJM). There is a need for one or more individuals to serve as members of TXUUJM’s Congregational Liaison Group which helps to guide and implement initiatives and activities of the statewide ministry. In addition, this individual or team serve to keep the congregation informed and active in building relationships with state and local policy makers.
Emerson UU Justice Advocates Indivisible Action Team – This is a team formed from the national Indivisible Movement which focuses on implementing effective advocacy primarily with our U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives on issues of common concern. There are many roles to be filled within this structure including leadership, logistics, data entry, direct action design, and organizing traditional lobbying efforts.
Emerson Justice Advocates Reproductive Justice Working Group
The Reproductive Justice Congregation Initiative – This is an initiative of Just Texas, a project of the Texas Freedom Network. The goal is to design and implement a campaign for an affirmative congregational vote to become an official Reproductive Justice Congregation, one which: Promises that women who attend will be free from shame or judgement for their reproductive decisions – including abortion; Proclaims that access to affordable reproductive health services is a moral and social good; Respects and Trusts Women
Emerson Justice Advocates Planned Parenthood Partners – Work in conjunction with Planned Parenthood on issue advocacy, education, community outreach, and financial support. Working group members would work with Planned Parenthood staff to plan and facilitate events and activities in support of the organizations mission.
Emerson Justice Advocates Racial Justice Working Group – the primary function of this working group is to provide a platform for our congregation to confront and deal with the uncomfortable issues present in racial justice: white privilege and white defensiveness or fragility. The purpose here is to open, facilitate, and maintain an effective dialogue on the complex and difficult issues of race.
Showing Up for Racial Justice – HTX (SURJ-HTX) – this is an outside local group that works to engage the community in facing difficult racial issues. Participation is open to all Emersonians. SURJ-HTX also works with other local groups such as Black Lives Matter – Houston, United We Dream, and LaUnidad11 (see below)
Emerson’s Racial Justice Study Group – this is a group of Emersonians that wish to explore the difficult questions posed by a racial justice inquiry. The group is presently focused on studying and discussing a variety of texts relating to the issue.
Emerson Justice Advocates Immigrant Justice Working Group & Refugee Support Team
LaUnidad11 – is a local group composed of immigrant families and community members united in a network that is prepared to defend the civil and human rights to secure equity and justice for all. The mission is ensure that individuals, families, and communities are prepared in the event of arrest, detention, or deportation and to lower the levels of stress, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty resulting from immigration status issues. Opportunities exist for interaction with the group and facilitating engagement of Emerson members in its work.
Interfaith Ministries of Houston Refugee Services Support Team – a team is needed to work on campaigns within the congregation to support the work of IM on behalf of Houston’s refugee community.
Healthcare Justice Working Group – this group is needed to create advocacy and public witness campaigns within the congregation and in the community to address this vital issue that touches us all. Some examples are a Single Payer Campaign, Affordable Care Act Protection, and Medicaid Protection.
Economic Justice Study Group – this group is needed to create campaigns within the congregation and in the community to address a broad array of issues involved in this complex yet vital subject. Though not an exclusive list, some examples are the New Poor People’s Campaign Income Inequality Education/Study, the Fight for $15 and increase in minimum wage campagn, as well as the study of the spiritual implications of our current economic system and those offered by competing and alternative systems.
Unitarian Universalist Voice for Justice of Greater Houston Rapid Response Network (UUV4J) – this is an association of area UU churches that seeks to provide a UU voice on issues impacting the community. Issues of concern are Interfaith Support, Reproductive Justice, and LGBTQ Justice. Once the network is activated, texts are sent to UUs across the area to join specific actions. There are opportunities for an individual or a team to build support for the network within the congregation, provide training for interested members, and provide logistical support for the network.