Every human naturally possesses the power to instantiate and sustain positive change.
As Unitarian Universalists,
we must be committed to the welfare of all people.
It is our responsibility to be aware of conditions in the world
and it is in our communities that we are able to make a difference.
Spiritual or mindfulness practice can increase our awareness of the unexpected gifts
that fill life with insight and beauty. (Stephen M Shick)
UU Involvement with the United Nations and Peace Organisations
Unitarian involvement began with the UN in 1946 when the American Unitarian Association selected Elvira Fradkin as representative to the UN. A dedicated UU United Nations Office was set up to liaise with the UN to inform Unitarians of relevant UN activities and encourage participation.
Relevant web pages are:
The UU movement has very strong links with Amnesty International - William Schultz served as UUA president from 1985 to 1993 and then as executive director of Amnesty International USA from 1994 to 2006.
Our UU symbol of the flaming Chalice commemorates Unitarians and people who were willing to risk all for others in a time of urgent need during the 2nd World War in assisting Eastern Europeans who needed to escape Nazi persecution.
Doing something ourselves
Mahatma Ghandi said " we must be the change we want to see in the world". In other words, we are what we do. Sustainable change is easier where we have some ownership of the solution. Real hands and hearts in action make the difference.
Sometimes the scale of problems can induce a sense of paralysis in us. We may think this is the business of Governments or big business sponsorship. Stephen Schick says Nature and history reveal a fundamental paradox. Everything we believe and everything we do is both very insignificant and ultimately crucial. Learning to live with this paradox helps us discover our power to change the world for the better.
Here are some small ideas that each and every one of us can participate in to some extent, and all have the potential for change and positive contribution to social justice.
- Consider what change we would like to help with and make a plan to be actively involved; If you want an easy start, go to the Volunteer Queensland website, find a cause and give them a hand.
- Donate to charity. It helps people. Even a little bit helps. Each year BUUF gives a percentage of money we recieve to charities. The charities BUUF donated to last year were the Butterfly Foundation, a Nepalese childcare centre supported in a large way by one of our members, and to Open Doors (support for young gay, lesbian and transgender people). This year BUUF donated to Rosies who provide a food van and work with homeless people in Brisbane, as well as to the Butterfly Foundation.
- Donate your old phones, computers, glasses etc to organisations that reverse recycle these for people in the developing world or locally. Millions of people can't see properly to work, don't have access to computers or knowledge and so on.
- Buy fairtrade coffee and other fairtrade and ethical products, it helps provide the small scale farmers with a more secure future.
- Pick a social justice item on www.wearewhatwedo.org.au and do it! It's that simple.
- Learn about social justice issues - subscribe to a regular magazine like New Internationalist.
- Join a social justice organisation like Amnesty International, buy your presents in their online shop (ethical and fairtrade goods).
- Join and support an aid organisation like Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) or the Red Cross.
- You can probably name five American Indian tribes - Mohician, Apache, Sioux etc. Can you name five Australian Aboriginal Nations? Learn the names of some of the nations who cared for Australia for tens of thousands of years, learn something about them and understand and appreciate their culture. Read "Where the Ancestors Walked" by Philip Clarke for a better understanding of this amazing culture.
- Join the ANTaR Respect campaign to understand, acknowledge and support Australian Indigenous culture and people, and to speak up against racism. Sign the pledge online or at any one of The Body Shop retail shops.
- Start a volunteer day in an area of social justice that you are prepared to devote some time and energy to.
If you need inspiration and sustanance to help you, buy a copy of Be the Change - Poems, Prayers and Meditations for Peacemakers and Justice Seekers by Stephen Shick and read it whenever you need a boost.
"Peace comes with Justice."
Please see our news page for information on current Social Justice activities.