Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

← About UUSC

Mission and History

UUSC's work began in 1939 when Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp took an extraordinary risk, helping refugees escape Nazi persecution in Europe.

Our mission: UUSC advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies. Our work is grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power and dignity.


When Unitarian minister Rev. Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha set sail from the United States in February 1939 to help refugees escape Nazi persecution, they put in motion UUSC’s more than 75-year legacy of advocating for human rights and social justice alongside the most oppressed, exploited, and vulnerable members of our human family.

Just weeks after their arrival in Czechoslovakia, the couple watched Hitler’s troops march into Prague. They were shadowed by Gestapo agents. Their offices were ransacked, and they had to burn files to protect refugees’ identities. The young couple narrowly escaped arrest by returning home in August.

Inspired by Rev. Waitsill and Martha Sharp’s courageous mission, the Unitarian Services Committee, the precursor to UUSC, was established in 1940 to continue and formalize humanitarian service. For more than 80 years, UUSC has maintained a steadfast presence on the frontlines of social justice movements around the globe.

Although we continue to innovate in response to the rapidly changing landscape of human rights advocacy, our core values and vision of a world free from injustice where all can realize their full human rights remain foundational.