The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
5 Ways to Show Up for Human Rights
By UUSC Staff on July 30, 2019
Reading about migrant detention facilities, for-profit detention centers, the climate crisis and how it is affecting Indigenous peoples feels like a lot to unpack on a daily basis. With news this heartbreaking, it gets more difficult to turn the other cheek and not react. But if you’re new to the resistance, we understand how difficult it is to understand the different forms of activism. Here are some ways you can get involved with UUSC and the broader human rights movement:
1. Join an email list
Signing up for the UUSC email list is a great way to stay informed. Educating yourself about UUSC’s human rights work is the first step in showing up and being an activist. The more you read and educate yourself, the easier it will be to remain engaged in the work of supporting those fighting oppression. You can sign up for UUSC’s newsletter here.
2. Sign a petition
If you don’t think you’re ready to hit the streets and join an action, signing a petition or calling on your state and federal legislators is a great way to make your voice heard. There are numerous House and Senate bills that can benefit from your input. Signing a petition adds one name to thousands and contributes to a collective voice of compassion and solidarity.
3. Volunteer for a service trip
If you have the time and capacity, a volunteer or service trip will help you more fully understand what the problems are and what one can do about it. It’s one thing to learn and read about it, it’s another when you experience it. Our UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) offers various domestic and international immersion learning trips that will connect you with our grassroots partners in locales like Honduras, Arizona, West Virginia, and other places.
4. Join a protest
Every once in a while, you will receive an e-mail or a Facebook notification from UUSC inviting you to join an action as we march or protest in various locations. We do this to draw the attention of U.S. officials or institutions and remind them of what’s at stake – whether it’s about immigration, climate forced displacement, or a humanitarian crisis. We understand that joining a protest can be very intimidating, but the hardest step is just getting out of your house. Once you’re out and in the protest, just remember that you will be surrounded by people who share the same sentiments as you and that you’re all showing up for the same reasons. You may even come home with a friend or a new connection. (And you can find printable UUSC posters here!)
5. Organize and invite a UUSC staff member to speak to your group or congregation
One of the biggest ways you can help is to begin organizing a group around an issue of concern. Don’t be afraid of the word “organize”; it need not be 50 people, it can be as low as 10 or even just yourself and a friend. You can invite a UUSC staff member to your congregation, to your house, or out for a cup of coffee to hear first-hand experiences about what it means to show up and discuss opportunities to engage your community in social justice work and how to utilize your strengths and capacity most effectively.
Taking action wasn’t meant to be easy but that doesn’t mean it should be hard. All you need is yourself, an open mind, and a strong desire to help.
Photo Credit: UUSC
About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!