Social Justice Working Groups
The Social Justice Committee (SJC) sponsors and supports a variety of working groups that help fulfill First Parish’s mission of challenging the excesses and injustices of our time.
New participants are welcome to join any of these working groups.
Working groups are created by groups of people who share an interest. If you have a group of people who want to work together on another issue, contact the SJC at email@example.com.
The Social Justice Committee
• Convenes First Parish social justice leaders to coordinate and plan the program
• Promotes awareness and celebration of social justice efforts at First Parish
• Facilitates task groups to conduct components of our program that have well-defined processes and few meetings
• Evaluates proposals to initiate new self-directed working groups
• Manages funding for some working group activities and special programs
• Serves as initial point of contact for outside groups seeking support and coordination
• Organizes and facilitates occasional actions and events that are outside the scope of any current working group
New participants are welcome to join any of these working groups. Working groups are created by groups of people who share an interest.
If you have a group of people who want to work together on another issue, contact the SJC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ArCS Cluster mobilizes local volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of refugees in Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville and nearby communities. ArCS provides practical help (including housing, access to health care, household goods, etc.), emotional support and financial assistance to individuals and families throughout their journey to establish themselves in a new community. See our website www.ArCSCluster.org.
Contact: Eric Segal, email@example.com
(Held six times a year)
Purpose: To coordinate six blood drives each year and to educate the community about the importance of donation.
Contact: John Hodges, firstname.lastname@example.org
This group takes local actions supporting global transformation of economies to clean energy sources, while eliminating fossil fuel usage that damages the climate system and has an unjust, disproportionate impact on communities that have never been heavy users of fossil fuels. CAWG promotes efforts in Arlington and nearby communities, Massachusetts legislation and executive action, and leads the effort to shift First Parish facilities to clean energy.
Contact: Alan Linov, email@example.com
This working group focuses on equity, fairness, and justice issues in Massachusetts, guided by UU Principles related to justice and the democratic process. The group participates in efforts (with UU the Vote) to oppose and overcome discriminatory barriers to voting, and supports issues like the Massachusetts Fair Share Amendment, a ballot question on taxing income over $1 million/year to produce funding for public education and transportation. This group has begun organizing to enhance civics education in Massachusetts.
Contact: Maggie Carey, firstname.lastname@example.org
This task group helps the congregation recognize and respond to social justice issues as they arise or they take renewed prominence. Group members manage the public witness banners on the meetinghouse lawn. The group also organizes and facilitate others in organizing public actions, sometimes rapidly, including vigils and protests that respond to violations of human rights and attacks on marginalized people.
Contact: Alan Linov, email@example.com
Giving First is the name of the program in which half of our Sunday service offerings are contributed to nonprofit organizations doing social justice work. At the end of every calendar year, this task group solicits nominations of beneficiary organizations from members of our congregation, selects a monthly slate for the coming year, and guides nominators in getting information about their organization to the people who handle Sunday announcements and send the collected money.
Contact: Joanne Pohl, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Meets the fourth Monday of each month at 8pm, September-June)
Indigenous Justice Working Group explores the grave injustices experienced by the Indigenous people of Massachusetts, from being displaced from their homes centuries ago to the vast health and social inequities today. Members seek truth and raise ideas about how we might learn about, acknowledge, and confront these injustices to heal and move forward together toward a more just future.
Contact: Ellen Leigh IJWG@firstparish.info
This task group plans and leads the annual Pie Palace, a fun, community-wide event where pie slices are sold to happy customers on Arlington Town Day while raising funds for the social justice program. Task group members contact pie bakers, recruit workers for the booth, and buy supplies.
Contact: Maureen Dolan, PiePalace@firstparish.info
RJCC identifies and supports activities that promote racial justice within the First Parish community and in the broader world, including providing education on race consciousness, microaggressions, cultural (mis)appropriations, institutional racism, and white supremacy. RJCC also leads in bearing witness on present-day events (through meetinghouse lawn banners and vigils), leads book discussions from antiracist authors and thought leaders, advocates for civilian participation in handling police complaints, works with ministers on racial justice projects, and manages a racial justice library.
Membership: Appointed by the Parish Committee: Lois Fine, Sara Whitford, Maggie Carey, Maryglenn Vincens and Tom Estabrook.
Contact: Maggie Carey, email@example.com
Each year, one Sunday is devoted to the social-justice-themed Shinn Service, with a guest providing the sermon related to their own social justice work and interests. Another Sunday is devoted to the Living Our Faith service, at which three members of our congregation speak briefly about how their faith relates to their work for social justice. This task group selects speakers and plans introductory remarks for these services.
Contact: Joanne Pohl, SJworship@firstparish.info
First Parish is a long-time member of The UU Urban Ministry, a social justice organization in Roxbury with a mission to work across race and place to dismantle racism and white supremacy culture and to advance racial, social, and economic justice. Its programs currently focus on domestic violence services, Roxbury youth, and artists of color. Engagement offerings may include guided area tours, educational racial-justice webinars and other initiatives to build awareness and connection to the Roxbury community.
Contact: Lois Fine firstname.lastname@example.org