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Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community

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About Us

Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community (UUJEC) was founded in 1994 as a dynamic, independent grassroots affiliate of the UUA. Our mission is to engage, educate, and activate Unitarian Universalists to work for economic justice, recognizing that as people of faith in the struggle for justice, we are supporting and renewing our spiritual lives.  Our current focus is challenging corporate dominance.  Also we are developing criteria for UU congregations to be Economic Justice Congregations.  Our philosophy is rooted in the UU liberal religious tradition - to create a world of justice, equity, and compassion. Our method of fighting injustice was developed by faith-based groups in Latin America in the 1970s-80s. In using the dynamic process of study, action and reflection, we work for economic and social change. Our work contributes to a broader movement for social change, in collaboration with the UUA, UU Service Committee and grassroots organizations.

Congregational Study Action Issue, CSAI: Escalating Inequality

In 2013, UUJEC began writing and working for a CSAI on Escalating Inequality, with Dr. Dick Burkhart taking the lead.  The process is similar to writing a grant proposal, writing about goals, documenting authorities and listing references.  

Winning approval is like running a political campaign, with buttons and flyers to pass out and publicizing the value of studying inequality.  The rules on winning approval meant that we needed a run off vote.  With the UU Service Committee, UUSC, working hard on fair compensation, Rev. Dr. Bill Schultz, the UUSC President, got up and endorsed our CSAI.  And we won!

As soon as we won, we began lobbying for an effective curriculum.  At the same time, we authored our own curriculum to make sure it's as cutting edge and penetrating--income inequality is very complex.  Sources of inequality come from extreme taxation variables, with middle income people paying two to three times as much of their income in taxes as wealthy people.  With free trade agreements, American workers compete with almost free labor--pushing down unions and income.  Everything has worked against the working man and for the wealthy.  Laws worked against thrift and caution and for unlimited speculation--and when the economic house of cards collapsed, it collapsed on everyone but the top 2-3% of earners.

Rather than just passing the CSAI, we have chosen to be actively involved in helping UUs to use this curriculum.  This is the purpose of our UUJEC conference the weekend of February 20, 2015 in Evanston, IL.  Also, we will be presenting workshops in our own congregations.  To help other congregations, we will have workshops on how to use the CSAI at the Mid-America Assembly.  A proposal for a workshop at GA has been submitted, but that's never a sure thing as GA management have to turn down more proposals than they accept.

Our Vision

UUJEC ignites the passion for justice within the heart of every UU by channelling it into strategic actions that make a difference in people's lives. UUJEC envisions a world that sustains ALL living beings, where ALL people share the riches of the planet, where ALL voices are heard, where the inherent worth and dignity of every person is recognized and affirmed as set forth in our Unitarian Universalist Principles.

Our Commitment

Our Commitment... Join our nationwide network of over 1500 UU activists committed to living out UU values by working for economic justice. As a member of UUJEC, you will become part of a UUJEC "cluster" of congregations and individuals sharing our commitment. Benefits include:
  • Our newsletter, The Call.
  • UUJEC announcements.
  • Training materials and workshops on economic justice.
  • A UUJEC Website with resource materials, and write ups on UU action campaigns.
  • An opportunity to provide UUJEC with needed funds to continue leading UUs in the struggle for economic justice.

UUJEC Action Led to Two UUA Resolutions/Statements of Conscience on Economic Justice

The 1997 General Resolution, Working For a Just Economic Community, became the founding resolution of UUJEC, calling upon the Unitarian Universalist Association to urge "its member congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists in the United States to work in cooperation with Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, other public-spirited organizations, and individuals in support of a more just economic community." The 2003 Statement of Conscience, Economic Globalization and its Consequences also guides us, concluding: "Seeing the world as an interconnected web challenges us to turn from self-serving individualism toward a relational sense of ourselves in a global community and toward practices that help create economic structures designed to serve the common good".

What We Do...

UUJEC engages, educates, and activates UUs

UUJEC engages.... Help UUs to network and collaborate at the local and national level. Strengthen key UU multi-congregational alliances throughout the country. Present workshops at UUA District meetings and churches. To date, UUJEC action has resulted in two UUA Resolutions/Statements of Conscience: Working for a Just Economic Community (1997) and Economic Globalization and its Consequences (2003).

UUJEC educates... Developed curricula on economic justice for UU congregations nationwide.To date, nearly 200 UU churches have used our curricula. Sponsored nationally known speakers on economic justice at UUA's annual General Assembly. Our 2004 lineup included Dr. Michael Parenti, the distinguished historian and author; Amy Goodman, acclaimed host of the Democracy Now radio program; and Dr. Peter Phillips, Director of Project Censored. Hosted an annual UU Panel Discussion on Economic justice to foster information exchange about the exemplary work being done within the UU community. Manage a website enabling UU activists to exchange information about economic justice being done within the UU community.

UUJEC activitates... Mobilize UUs to participate in national protest events. For example, in November 2003 UUJEC organized UUs from around the country to join the Stop FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) Campaign in Miami. As part of the Campaign, UUJEC distributed FTAA learning packets to congregations, led an east coast caravan to educate UUs enroute to Miami, and delivered 3,000 signed UU Stop the FTAA postcards to the US Trade Representative. Sponsor annual life-changing trips to Mexico to experience the impact of current trade policies on the poor, the environment and labor rights, along with the powerful organizing work being done by the independent and democratic labor movement.