OUUC’s work for social and environmental justice is rooted in the congregation’s mission statement which reads, in part, “We work for peace, equality, a healthy earth, and an end to poverty.” OUUC’s many social justice activities reflect our Unitarian Universalist prophetic history and tradition, a tradition that asks us to put our faith into action by working for social change that expands justice and freedom in our community and in the world.
The mission of the Social Justice Committee is to build awareness within the congregation of social justice issues and provide opportunities to engage in action with other members and the community at large. Terrence Zander is chair of the committee.
Some OUUC Social Justice projects are undertaken by the congregation as a whole, and other projects are conducted by groups of OUUC members and friends interested in a particular cause. Newcomers are always welcome to participate in any of these projects.
Our congregation supports:
- Out of the Woods homeless shelter for families with young children. For more information, contact
- Camp Quixote – a tent city for homeless adults which is hosted at various faith communities in the Olympia area on a 90 day rotating basis and has been hosted by our congregation 3 times, most recently March through June. For more information, contact Jill Severn at 753-2095.
- Share the Plate Offering - Each Sunday with occasional exceptions, half of our OUUC offering is given to a local organization, proposed by the Social Justice Committee and selected by our Board, which serves society’s well-being in keeping with our UU principles. These recipients change every two months. Click here to see list of recipients since September, 2004. Click here to nominate a recipient.
- Washington State UU Voices for Justice – Mission: To establish and maintain a strong Unitarian Universalist presence in the state capital city by: 1.) coordinating and supporting the congregation's efforts to advocate, educate, and organize for social action while serving as witness to social injustice in our community and the world, and 2.) sponsoring and supporting groups organized to address these issues.
- Guest at Your Table – a project of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an affiliate of the UUA, which uses funds collected annually from UU congregations to help people around the globe in their struggle for human rights. For more information,
- Overflow Shelter – an overnight shelter at OUUC for homeless, rotating to other faith communities every 2 weeks throughout the year. Contact or
- Thurston County Food Bank – A big blue barrel resides in the RE wing of our church to collect food for the general population and specifically for the TCFB Backpack Program that gives out food weekly to school children who are in need of nutritional help. Egg cartons can also be dropped off there to help with distribution of eggs at the food bank. Contact Jerry Smith if you want to help deliver donations to the TCFB.
- Giving Tree – this project runs from mid-November through December. The donations collected go to residents of Out of the Woods and to others from various local, non-profit groups that help individuals (2011-Camp Quixote, 2012-Capital Recovery Center). Each person is given a specific amount gift-card and any extra donations go to our minister's benevolence fund. Contact Corrine Taiji for more information.
Other social justice projects currently conducted by groups of OUUC members and friends
Immigration rights, reform, and support. Members of the SJ Committee participate in the following organizations that address issues related to immigration:
- Bridges Not Walls (BNW). BNW is a coalition of community members from the South Sound region of Washington State who have united to address issues of immigration in our community. BNW opposes the fear and intimidation created by immigration enforcement in our region, and therefore BNW works in solidarity with the immigrant communities in our area to promote human rights, economic rights, and civil rights for all people.
- Sound Immigration Reform (SIR). The mission of SIR is to create forums for community dialog which inspire and motivate people to take action toward achieving just, humane, and comprehensive immigration reform.
- Northwest Detention Center Roundtable: The Roundtable consists of over 30 organizations representing a wide variety of sectors: Activists, Healthcare, Higher Education, Law Enforcement, Legal, Political Representatives, Religious Organizations, Social Services, etc. The OUUC Social Justice Committee is a member of the Roundtable. Goals of the Roundtable include developing a coordinated network of basic services for detainees and their families; raising awareness in the community regarding the Detention Center and immigration-related issues; and advocating for sensible and balanced immigration legislation and policy.
Contact or for more information.
- Days of Peace - Representing the desire for peace and reconciliation through commemoration of the International Day of Peace on a quarterly basis. The project includes recognition of the costs of war via the Memorial to Life for Iraq and Afghanistan and The People's Journey. Days of Peace projects recognize the worth and dignity of civilians in countries occupied by US military personnel. Contact
- Global Days of Listening – Members of the congregation have developed relationships with grass-roots non-violent peace organizations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. A GlobalDaysofListening.org internet presence makes it possible to converse with those living in war-torn countries. Nurturing conversations between the youth living in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and other occupied countries, is having uniting effect with long-established workers for peace such as Veterans For Peace, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, VOICES for Creative Non-violence, and others partnering with the project. Proponents believe that this international perspective helps everyone consider the need for US soldiers to be at home. Soldiers in our community have found these conversations helpful in their path of healing from serving in Afghanistan. These on-going series of discussions include youth from around the globe including Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Egypt, and others. Special conversations are arranged for high school and college students as the project includes recognition of the costs of war. Participants recognizes the worth and dignity of civilians in countries occupied by military personnel. Contact Douglas Mackey.
Besides everything else SJ folks do, OUUC volunteers also host a satellite program for the Thurston County Food Bank at Radio Ranch (at the end of 8th Ave. NE, off of South Bay Rd.NE). Hours of operation are the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month from Noon to 3 pm. Contact Frances Tanaka if interested in volunteering.
Social Justice Issues
Here are some sites you may want to visit for information on Social Justice Issues:
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
- Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
- Washington State UU Voices for Justice
- Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Equal Rights Washington
Email your Elected Representatives
- The Whitehouse Homepage from which you can email
- President Barack Obama and
- Vice President Joe Biden
- US Senator Patty Murray
- US Senator Maria Cantwell
- US Representative Jaimie Herrera Beutler
- WA State Governor Christine Gregoire
- State Senator Karen Fraser
- State Representative Chris Reykdal
- State Representative Sam Hunt
- If you live in another district you can link to your representatives through the Washington State Legislature's Homepage.