The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
UUSC’s Impact for Fiscal Year 2019
A Note About UUSC’s FY19 Impact
UUSC strives to be a true movement partner, in eye-to-eye relationship with the grassroots organizations we support. As one of our partners told us this year,“We don’t consider UUSC as our donor, we consider UUSC as our longstanding partner…”
This year, our partners lifted up their collaborations as examples of “broader movement-building, including efforts to build a formidable base of directly impacted communities and allies…” Others told us what a difference it makes that UUSC “actually understands well the work we do and the challenges that it brings and accommodates the requests we may have arising from the changes in our legal and political environment.”
Because successful movements must be led by those most impacted by injustice, over 90% of UUSC’s partners this year were led by women, immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, people of color, people identifying as LGBTQI, and/or people living with disabilities. Most are leading smaller, emerging organizations – more than two-thirds of our partners operated with annual budgets of less than $500,000 this year. Yet, many have been able to use our support to expand the scope of their work, strengthen their organizations, and increase their impact, growing from “emerging” leaders to powerful forces for change.
These are just some of the ways we support grassroots movements working for systemic and transformational change. For others, please read our full impact report.
Highlights of the report include:
Creating a Compassionate Response to the Border “Crisis” – Emergency Assistance Through Coordinated Volunteer Placement
In the fall of 2018, as large groups of asylum-seekers began making their way from Central America to the United States, the U.S. government sent more than 5,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. UUSC helped create an alternative response of compassion, solidarity, and support for migrant rights. As part of an interfaith coalition in regular communication with people accompanying the exodus through Guatemala and Mexico, UUSC’s immediate response through the UU College of Social Justice was to coordinate the recruitment and placement of volunteers with organizations on the ground in Mexico and the United States whose shelters were being overwhelmed by asylum-seekers.
A Participatory Convening of First & Indigenous Peoples Impacted by the Climate Crisis
UUSC is addressing the human rights violations that First and Indigenous communities are experiencing from the climate crisis by helping to build and support an international network of affected communities
that can support one another and advocate for their rights at the local, national, regional, and international levels. In early October 2018, UUSC brought together more than 60 representatives from impacted First and Indigenous communities in Alaska, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Bangladesh, Washington State, and Louisiana to Girdwood, Alaska, for a three-day gathering to discuss the impacts of climate change that they are experiencing, build community, and share strategies about how to address the devastating effects of the climate crisis, particularly the threat of displacement.
UUSC’s Grassroots Partners
These types of partnerships are critical — they help build and strengthen movements and directly challenge systems of oppression by supporting the leadership of communities who have historically been denied their rights, equal access to resources, and participation in decisions affecting them and their future. Partnering with “directly led” groups also ensures that UUSC’s programs and strategies will have the most impact because they are informed and led by those most proximate to the harms we are addressing together.