UULMCA's Spiritual Activist Leadership Training (SALT) Fellows program trains, empowers, connects and releases the potential of young adult UU justice leaders. Through development of concrete justice and organizing skills, faith development, spiritual deepening and community building, SALT Fellows engage with California's justice history and its current leaders and movements. This 10 month, part-time, non-residential program includes weekend travel for California "Justice Plunges," retreats, regional theological reflection circles, activist projects, and a monthly mid-week on-line training webinar. SALT is open to UU young adults in or out of school and is designed to also be accessible to those who are working.
SALT is possible due to the generous contributions of individual donors to the UU Legislative Ministry, CA, the start up contribution of the UU Funding Program and the support of the UUSC Social Justice College. Many thanks! Your investment makes SALT possible!
16 UU Young Adults from Humboldt to San Diego were trail blazers on this first year of SALT. Fourteen graduated in Phoenix at Justice General Assembly, inspired by the words of Starr King School for the Ministry President, the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker.
What happened on the journey? We lobbied for the Human Right to Water at our August 2011 retreat in Sacramento, and learned about the Midwest Academy's strategy process for activists. SALT Fellows reflected with Rev. Doug Kraft of the UU Sacramento Society on personal empowerment.
In September, Northern California Fellows learned about the San Jerardo Cooperative's efforts to get farmers to clean up agricultural runoff which has contaminated 2 different wells they have drilled. In Southern California, SALT Fellows traveled to Maywood South of LA, a community of 90% first generation immigrants who have fought police corruption, and suffer from a superfund site in their community. Skill building was an introduction to Nonviolenct Communication basics, and Fellows reflected with Rev. Rick Hoyt in the South, and Rev. Lindi Ramsden in the North. Our hosts, Horacio Amezquita and Leonardo contributed profoundly to our understanding of the communities and how they reflect together on their work.
October's Justice Plunge was held on the Yuba River with the Tsi Akim Maidu's Calling Back the Salmon Ceremony. After taking part in the ceremony, The UUA's "Gathered Here" interview using appreciative inquiry was our skill building element, and participants reflected with Rev. Meghan Conrad Cefalu about "Where is God" in a situation. Check out the SALT blog for further reflections.
SALT Fellows joined UUs from across California in November for our first "Justice Camp," called Walking The Walk, held at Camp De Benneville Pines. Worship infused justice centered workshops on the Doctrine of Discovery, managing conflict in justice committees, engaging with Occupy, funding justice, and other topics. We left De Benneville's "Garden of Eden" pumped up with a sermon by young adult and Young Leaders Project Founder, Samantha Wilson, who preached about critical engagement with the world.
January's Plunge focused on Storytelling, Media and Messaging. Northern SALT Fellows were treated to a media training by UULMCA's new Director of Field and Development, Evan Junker, who has deep experience in working with the media on political campaigns. Intern Minister in Berkeley, Marcus Liefert, then led us into embodied storytelling as a leadership and reflection tool using Interplay techniques. Southern SALT Fellows were treated to Rev. David Pyle's perspective in storytelling in Ventura - born of his undergrad work in Tennessee focused on history and storytelling, his efforts as a military chaplain in repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and Ventura's Homelessness photography project. Seminarian Samantha Wilson, also a gifted storyteller, led the UUA's storytelling curriculum. Both cohorts explored "The Story of Self, The Story of Us and The Story of Now."
In Riverside and Oakland, SALT Fellows learned more about the DREAM act from people who have grown up in the US without documentation. Arlanza community garden is a project of working in solidarity with allies in Riverside, and Southern Fellows learned more about what the process of manifesting that vision entails, including "Porchsitting 101." Northern Fellows worked with Rev. Jacqueline Duhart, Justice Minister at the Oakland church to clarify the life experience they can bring to bear on activist work.
In March, Several SALT Fellows joined PSWD's Human Rights on the Border Trip to Tucson and Nogales, Sonora to see first hand the crossing people make through the desert. During the Justice Plunge in the North, Reverends Bill and Barbara Hamilton Holway told of their recent visit to the Borderlands, and Elinor Mattern shared her insights as someone who has worked extensively with people from South of the Border and economic development for immigrant women. Retired Ranger, Jack Duggan, showed us his old stomping ground on Angel Island afterward. Southern SALT Fellows will joined members of the UU Church of the Desert and CA Rural Legal Assistance to visit the Eastern Coachella Valley, right next to Palm Springs, it is a study in contrasts - economic, environmental, and cultural.