The TRUST Act (AB4-Ammiano) and the Safe and Responsible Driver Act (AB60) were passed by both houses of the CA legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Oct 5. While the bills are not "perfect", they are each huge steps forward on the path toward immigrant justice. Thanks to all of you who have visited and called your legislators to make this possible!
Pastoral Letter on Marriage Equality from Rev. Lindi Ramsden
On Wednesday June 26 across California, we cheered the demise of Proposition 8 and rejoiced in the new federal recognition of married same-sex couples. What a day! I am still gratefully soaking up this new legal landscape.
How did we get here? In 2004, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California began work on marriage equality. California UU clergy went on marriage equality caravans. "Cottage Conversations" created awareness. We helped to pass groundbreaking marriage legislation and delivered 3,800 handmade Valentines to our governor asking him to stand on the side of love. When the movement turned to the courts, we filed a series of amicus briefs lifting up interfaith voices on behalf of religious liberty.
Finally, love and justice won. In May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that marriage could no longer be denied to same-sex couples. The weddings began, and same-sex couples gave voice to long-held vows of love and commitment.
Until November. when Proposition 8 passed, and the door was closed.
I know that LGBTQ people are far from the only minority who has been deprived of rights due to the fear of the majority. It was still hard to witness. Dueling lawn signs and arguments over the legitimacy of someone's family damage us all.
We were in the thick of it. Our UULM Action Network had been asked to manage the interfaith part of the "No on 8" campaign. From pastoral care for vulnerable families to clergy witness and relentless phone banks, we were put to the test. As people of faith, we refused to demonize those who opposed us.
While we lost the Prop 8 vote, we "lost forward." We built important capacity for change. Others learned from our loss. State by state, the tide has now turned, creating the conditions for justice. We are so grateful.
Change is incremental. It comes in conversations and court decisions. It comes from young people raised without fear and the bravery of elders. And, it comes by refusing to live in silos - by standing with immigrants, by working for voting rights, by knowing that we are all family.
The Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 provide a huge burst of hope and momentum. Let's use it. This week, the LGBTQ supportive community is needed to advance compassionate immigration reform so that all families can be safe.
Justice is a shared garment. Let's keep weaving the fabric of love.
Rev. Lindi Ramsden
Senior Minister & Executive Director
UU Legislative Ministry of California
Charting the Course of Justice: Help Map UULMCA's Future
For the past decade, UULMCA has been provided spiritually grounded justice leadership training, experiential learning adventures and organizing to advance specific issues of interest to UUs: marriage equality, healthcare reform, immigrant and environmental justice. The Board is engaging in a listening process to guide UULMCA's strategic direction and wants to hear from UUs across California. You are invited to add your experiences and input during this "Charting the Course of Justice" workshop.
We welcome all interested in bringing Unitarian Universalist values to the public square - whether you are a beginner or far along the path, and whether or not you have worked with UULMCA.
Or, join us in person at one of the summer sessions being scheduled in Modesto, Bakersfield, Orange County or Palm Desert. Check back here for dates.
Thanks to all who have already participated in sessions in San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Canoga Park, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Palo Alto, Livermore, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Santa Rosa, Davis and Sacramento!
A Convening on the Human Right to Water in California
Please Join UC Berkeley’s International Human Rights Law Clinic
and the Safe Water Alliance for a convening on the
Implementation of the Human Right to Water in California
On September 12, 2012, Governor Brown signed AB 685, effectively making California the first state in the nation to explicitly recognize the human right to water. AB 685 aims to ensure universal access to safe water by recognizing that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” UC Berkeley’s report draws on domestic and international law to map when state agencies should consider the human right to water, what factors they should consider, and how they should advance the human right to water.
The World Wide Context of Migration
To adequately understand migration to the United States and to respond as Unitarian Universalists to the
issues surrounding this phenomenon, we need to recognize the most powerful force fueling the world wide
movement of people from region to region: economic globalization. (continued)
Join UULMCA and our Partners at General Assembly in Louisville!
New video premiering at GA Plenary Session Saturday, June 22 at 8:45AM
What's your state of justice? | UU State Advocacy Networks
Tim DeChristopher at GA Workshop
We are honored that environmental activist and UU young adult, Tim DeChristopher, who was recently released from prison for his principled civil disobedience, is able to join us in leading the workshop "Spiritual Tools for Activists" with Rev. Sonya Sukalski, Saturday 5:30 pm–6:45 pm Convention Center 101. You can learn more about his decision to disrupt the sale of oil and gas drilling rights in publicly owned Utah wilderness when he was 27 years old by viewing Bill Moyer's recent interview of Tim, or viewing the recently released documentary about Tim, Bidder 70.
UULM-CA GA Highlights include:
• New UU State Advocacy Networks Video
• Coaching Sessionswith UU State Advocacy Partners
• Workshop #1: BUILDING INTERFAITH ALLIANCES: WHEN WE ARE NOT ENOUGH
• Workshop #2: OUR COVENANT WITH GAIA: NETWORKING WITH UUs
• Workshop #3: SPIRITUAL TOOLS FOR ACTIVISTS with Rev. Sonya Sulkaski and Tim DeChristopher - "Bidder 70"
Human Right to Water Signed into Law in California!
September 25, 2012 Three cheers and thanks for all your support!
Governor Brown has signed AB685 (Eng), the Human Right to Water bill, into law! What a journey it has been. Members of low-income communities who live every day without access to safe affordable water have shown incredible resilience - never giving up and inspiring us all forward.
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, CA been privileged to help form and be part of an inspiring coalition of faith, environmental justice, public health, tribal and environmental groups who came together to champion the human right to water in California.
Thanks to all the congregations who have helped to educate their members about the human right to water, to young adults participants in UULMCA's water justice road trips, and to all who have worked with our companion UULM Action Network to help elected officials understand what is at stake. You have each added an important drop that is creating a wave of change.
Read the August 2011 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation issued following her mission to the United States, including California. Learn more about the human rights framework and suggestions for action.
Photo: Community Members Celebrate Senate passage of AB685!
Thanks to the Central Coast Water Board!
Central Coast Water Board Passes Historic Irrigated Lands Ruling to Protect Water
Now on Appeal at California Water Board
On March 15, the Central Coast Water Quality Control Board passed historic new regulations in to protect ground and surface water from agricultural pollution. Some parties are now appealing to the State Water Quality Control Board to request a stay of these new requirements to protect water from agricultural runoff. This appeal will be heard on August 30th, 9:30AM at the CAL/EPA in Sacramento. Directions. http://www.calepa.ca.gov/EPAbldg/location.htm.
For more information on the "Ag Waiver" and its importance to protecting ground water, read Surface Tension.