Aside from spiritual and pastoral callings, I consider social justice to be the most important part of my calling as a minister.
I consider it a spiritual discipline to show up to justice rallies and actions whenever possible. As the t-shirt says, “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up!” Consequently, I showed up as often as I could to Occupy Boston in the fall of 2011… I answered Rev. Dr. William Barber’s call to show up at the Moral Monday Rally and March in Raleigh, North Carolina in February 2014… I participated in the People’s Climate March in New York
City in September 2014… I participated in civil disobedience fighting Spectra’s pipeline in West Roxbury in June 2016… I answered the clergy call to go to Standing Rock in North Dakota in November 2016… I participated in the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. in January 2017, and more.
I have a strong dedication to issues of social, economic, and racial justice. I have worked for small social justice non-profit organizations as both Program Director and Executive Director, engaged in program development and strategic planning. As for “official” UU social justice organizational involvement, I am currently a Board Member (Secretary) of the UU Animal Ministry. I’m a former Board Director for UU Mass Action and for UU Ministry for Earth (Treasurer). As for non-UU organizational involvement, I currently serve on the editorial group for Religious Socialism. I’m also a former Executive Committee member (Secretary) for the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace.
Working for the rights and well being of immigrants and refugee families has been an area of focus for me in recent years, though my interest goes back to my field education work (and later my part-time employment) with the Irish Immigration Center in Boston during the 1990s. In more recent years, I have had the opportunity to advocate for immigrant rights through my work as a Board member of UU Mass Action.
I have also been able to advocate for immigrants through participation in efforts of the Merrimack Valley Project and, more recently, the Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network. In September 2016, I was one of the clergy participating in the first leg of the 100 Women, 100 Miles Pilgrimage from a detention center in York County, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. on behalf of immigrant and refugee families.
My congregation played a meaningful role in the recent formation of the Merrimack Valley Chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). We have striven to be supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, participating in local vigils and rallies. I have led several worship services at my congregation on aspects of the movement for black lives as well as topics such as white privilege and white supremacy.
My congregation proudly displays a Black Lives Matter flag.
In the fall of 2016, I responded to a clergy call to be in solidarity with the the Standing Rock Sioux and participate in an interfaith worship service and rally in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. I joined 500 clergy from around the country in Standing Rock, North Dakota. When I returned to Massachusetts, I did the best I could to share what I had learned.
Sample of articles on social justice matters
- Andover vigil for Charlottesville brings community solidarity (in Andover Townsman)
- Andover minister visits North Dakota for pipeline protest, prayer service (in Andover Townsman)
- Local congregation displays “Black Lives Matter” flag (in Andover Townsman)
- UU minister walks for immigrant women in detention (in Andover Townsman)
- Hundreds assemble in Boston for immigration reform rally (in Boston Globe)
- Vigil in Andover part of fight to end gun violence (in Andover Townsman)
- Eight UUs arrested in June 29 Boston pipeline protest (in UU World)
- Warriors celebrating peace, not themselves (in Boston Globe)
- Locals lend support to St. Patrick’s Peace Parade (in Andover Townsman)