(scroll to the end for links to ongoing #UUtheVote action opportunities)
On my first Sunday morning leading worship as Intern Minister with Unitarian Universalists of Grants Pass, in the wake of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, I heard our collective grief and fear for the future. I shared that, grounded in the 5th of our 7 Principles, I was preparing to exercise my right to vote, and writing letters to encourage others to do the same. And the congregation asked me, in their words and in their silence, how can it be enough?
The following Wednesday, the day that the sitting president refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, and the day that no one was held legally accountable in the killing of Breonna Taylor, I joined UUA President Rev. Susan Fredrick Gray and UU the Vote for their Gather the Spirit online event, celebrating the work our faith has done together in 2020 to embody that 5th Principle. During the call, it was announced that the number of voters reached through the work of UU the Vote had already surpassed their goal of one million, by another 300,000 people – and the work continues! They’ve increased their goal to 2 million contacts, and we can be a part of it! Gather the Spirit ended with a call to action. Phone banks are ongoing, and their Week of Action is coming up in late October. (I’ll share more as the week gets closer.) Their partner organization, Vote Forward, makes it easy to mail out personalized letters to encourage folks to vote. It is not too late to get involved, in fact the most important time is now. Vote Forward’s Big Send date is October 17th – plenty of time for you to get a few letters ready to mail out to encourage others to vote.
I’ve signed up for my first UU the Vote phone-banking session, calling voters in Florida, on Tuesday the 29th. I’d love to see some familiar faces there on Zoom with me. Folks who shared about their participation in these phone banks during Gather the Spirit said that even as introverts who didn’t like to call strangers on the phone, they had felt well-prepared by the Zoom training provided and had had fulfilling conversations with the voters they called. Make no mistake: these contacts will lead to more people voting. This is crucial, and not only from a UU perspective. The most important thing we can do to ensure a peaceful transfer of power is to make sure the outcome of the election is clear and resounding, impossible to deny. My UU faith assures me that the more people participate, the closer we will come to achieving justice. The arc of the moral universe is long, and it is ours to bend.
Starr King President Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt shared with me recently a teaching that she carries close to her heart these days: “It is too early to despair.” While there is work still to be done, it is too early to despair. While we are here to do the work, it is too early to despair. While the outcome is yet unknown, it is too early to despair. So, my friends, let us not despair yet. Instead, let us #UUtheVote!
UPDATE! With one phone banking session under my belt, I feel at ease with the technology and excited to continue to multiply our impact by working together in this way. Although many of my calls ended in hang-ups, I was able to identify a few Spanish-speakers to get a follow-up call in their own language, as well as help a woman figure out that she could vote early, and where her polling places would be for early voting. I immediately signed up for the next Florida phone-bank on October 27th, and I’d love to see you there.
I’ve also learned that my fellow Ministerial Intern, Jennifer Hackett in Eugene, has organized an ongoing West Coast UU the Vote action, where folks can join to make calls every Saturday at noon up until the election. As with the national UU the Vote actions, all training will be provided when you log on to Zoom for the event at noon on Saturdays HERE with additional training materials available to review prior to the Zoom events HERE.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED & #UUtheVOTE:
- Sign up to phone bank with other UUs from around the country with #UUtheVote national HERE.
- Sign up to write letters to infrequent voters with Vote Forward HERE.
- Join West Coast UUs to phone bank. CLICK HERE to join the Zoom session on Saturdays at noon.
–Alison Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister
Southern Oregon UU Partnership