Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.
We are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are we free to abandon it.
~ Rabbi Tarfon, commentary on the Talmud
Social Justice Committee
Our seven principles honor the interconnectedness of all life and all justice issues and ours is a faith of deeds not creeds. To act on those principles, we begin by creating a just, welcoming, and inclusive beloved community. As we reach out to the community we build relationships with groups and communities most impacted by injustice. We provide service, education, advocacy, and public witness (the spiritual practice of taking a public position in support of justice).
The work of social justice originates in the committee or in other groups. It is a common thread in all that we do at UUCOD.
Each of us has worth and dignity, and that worth includes our gender and our sexuality. We give public witness by marching in the Annual Palm Springs Pride Parade. We have also spoken out aginast injustice towards Trans Youth and anti-gay legislation. With Safe Schools Desert Cities we sponsored the film “Mama Gloria”, the life story of a Trans Activist. Local LGBTQ youth were able to speak with her after the film.
The Social Justice Committee led a months long effort to fight Voter Suppression in the 2020 election. We connected with UU the Vote and other national organizations to staff phone banks and texting campaigns. We wrote and mailed postcards to people that had been purged from the voting rolls, informing them of their rights.
2022 Voting Rights Campaign
During May thorough October the Social Justice Committee will resume the fight against voter suppression. The Social Justice Blog has details on how you can get involved and will post updates throughout the campaign.
After many community members attended Beloved Conversations, the Board and Minister created the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Ministry (DIB). DIB helps us work towards building a welcoming, diverse, multicultural community. They initiated the goal of adopting the 8th Principle in 2022.
We also give substantial financial support to Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM).
The focus of the Social Justice Committe has been Environmental Justice for the East Coachella Valley communities. They are the most impaceted by the health hazards caused by the shrinking Salton Sea. Poverty and immigration status means they are the least empowered to effect change.
Committee members have partnered with Advocates at the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability to support bringing safe drinking water and better living conditions to the Oasis Mobile Home Park.
They facilitated bringing Kerry Morrison, Executive Director of The EcoMedia Compass to speak at the pulpit. Afterwards members participated in letter-writing campaigns and the Salton Sea Clean-Up.
Members have also attended virtual meetings hosted by the California Natural Resources Agency, the Sierra Club and Riverside County Supervisor Manuel Perez.
Social Justice Monthly Activities
Each month our community partners with local organizations to make a difference in the lives of the people in the Coachella Valley and surrounding high desert communities.
Here is how we respond with care, compassion and open-heartedness to the needs of the larger community:
Food on the First
Every First Sunday of a month, our congregations collects a food and clothing offering for Galilee Center and their overnight shelter. The center serves the needs of seniors & families, migrant farm workers & asylum applicants in the Mecca area.
Our donations help Galilee Center accomplish their mission “To fulfill the needs of the underprivileged and disadvantaged by providing food, clothing, and other basic needs and affirm their dignity with love, compassion and respect.”
Non-Expired Food Items…
- corn masa flour like Maseca or Tortimasa
- bagged rice & dried pinto beans
- dry spaghetti & small pasta
- vegetable, canola, & corn oil
- canned chicken & tuna
- jars of peanut butter & jelly or jam
- canned fruits & vegetables
- jars & cans of tomato sauce & pasta sauce
Since Omicron has devastated our valley, Galilee Center’s need for food & clothing has become even greater. In addition to the usual food products, they are in need of
- children’s clothing – sizes 2T – 14
- boys’ & mens’ pants & shirts – all sizes
- baby food, diapers, & baby wipes
Bring donations to the church parking lot & put them in the open car trunk with the Food on the First sign.
Can’t make it to church on Sunday? Just bring them anytime the church is open & put them in the brown bin in the lobby.
Check out the Galilee Center website here
Socks on the Second
On the Second Sunday of the month we collect a sock donation for the clients of Well in the Desert. The Well serves the population of the Coachella Valley in poverty prevention, intervention and advocacy.
Why socks? Socks keep the walking feet of the unhoused comfortable through both the cold and the extreme heat of our valley. Fewer people are donating items they desperately need to survive.
Let’s not let socks be one of these items.
Well in the Desert delivers socks to clients at one of their five lunchtime sites in Palm Springs.
- new socks for women, men, & children
Can’t make it to church for Socks on the Second? Simply drop them off in the brown bin in theUUCOD lobby the next time you are there.
Find out more about Well in the Desert here.
Formula on the 4th
Share the Plate
On the third Sunday of every month from October to June we share half of our plate collections with a non-profit 501c3 organization. The Share the Plate recipients have been nominated and elected by members and friends from a pool of non-profits organizations serving the Coachella Valley and surrounding desert cities.
our 2022-2023 share the plate recipients…
Galilee Center (Summer 2022) addresses the needs of low-income residents in East Valley agricultural communities. They hold frequent distribution of food and baby goods, and provide rental and utility bill assistance, school supplies in early August each year and toys at Christmas. They also operate an overnight shelter and provide short-term shelter for asylum applicants while they await asylum processing.
Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest (October 2022) – Planned Parenthood’s mission is to ensure broad public access to sexual and reproductive health care through three approaches: Direct Health Care Services, Educational Services and Political Advocacy. Within our Coachella Valley, there are two Planned Parenthood Family Planning Centers, together serving over 15,000 men and women.
Nominator: Jane Betts-Stover & Liaisons: Margaret Manson & Sandy Sladen
SafeHouse of the Desert (November 2022) – is a life-saving shelter for youth ages 11 to 17 who have run away from home or whose parents no longer want them there.
Nominator & Liaison: Bob Rancourt
Tolerance Education Center (December 2022) – The mission of the Tolerance Education Center is to promote tolerance, civility, respect and understanding by the elimination of atrocities, hatred and bigotry. The Center was founded by a Holocaust survivor and opened its doors to the public in 2009.
Nominator & Liaison: Fran Hoag
UC Riverside Palm Desert Center Partners (January) – Nominator & Liaison: Rod Belshee
Safe Schools Desert Cities (February 2023)- Nominator & Liaison: Gloria Kapp
S.C.R.A.P. Gallery (March 2023) – Nominator & Liaison: Leslie Gebhart
Alianza Coachella Valley (April 2023)- Nominator & Liaison: Denise Janssen Eager
Riverside County Bar Foundation (May 2023)- Nominator & Liaison: Bob Rancourt
Palm Springs Animal Shelter (June 2023) – Nominated Twice By: Ingrid Pratt & Catherine Smith; Liaison: Catherine Smith
Click on the links above to find out more about each organization.
Social Justice Annual Activities
Throughout the year, the Social Justice Committee hosts events, campaigns and legislation updates to highlight issues of importance.
Greater Palm Springs Pride Parade
Pride Parade – UUCOD has walked in the parade since 2009 to celebrate the strength, equality and self-determination of the LGBTQ community. In 2019 our walkers carried banners & flags from countries that have passed laws against discriminating LGBTQI.
For several years UUCOD has conducted a Christmas dinner program with the CVUSD Migrant Education Program, providing food and toy donations. Many members enjoy attending the annual event. In 2020, Covid dictated that there would be no buffet dinner, no Santa and no in-person meeting. The UUCOD Migrant Ed Program leaders created the concept of a Caravan Christmas Party. The families would drive thru in front of the CVUSD district building in Thermal to pick up a meal and toys for the children. UUCOD decided to create a food drive for groceries to be donated and developed a sort of advent calendar for the month of November listing non-perishable food items to be boxed up and donated to a family at their Caravan Christmas Party. In lieu of toy donations, we requested cash donations and the Migrant Ed Program leadership bought all the toys for the children & youth. The same program was repeated in 2021.
- Food donations received: $2090
- Toy Drive donations received: $2000