The broad message, “standing on the side of love,” emerged as a rallying point for people of faith in 2004 in Massachusetts during their early efforts for fully inclusive marriage, and later during the effort to keep the marriage equality law and block Proposition 8, in California in 2008.
The Standing on the Side of Love campaign, born out of that slogan and song by Rev. Jason Shelton of the same name, was launched after the 2008 shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, which was targeted because they are welcoming to LGBTQ people and have a liberal stance on many issues. The Knoxville community responded with an outpouring of love that inspired the leadership at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to launch our campaign in 2009, with the goal of harnessing love’s power to challenge exclusion, oppression, and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, race, religion, or any other identity.
To learn more about how Standing on the Side of Love manifests in local communities, watch this video we created about the Love People:
WHO IS the standing on the side of love team?
YOU! Standing on the Side of Love began as an open-source campaign, and has spread throughout the Unitarian Universalist world as an important way that we show up in the world. Originally imagined as an interfaith campaign, we are most closely associated with Unitarian Universalism, but remain steadfastly open to people of all faiths, and people whose only faith is LOVE!
For many of us, this campaign is so much more than a slogan or logo; it is a values statement we take to heart and live by. Every time you wear your shirt, or a pin, or talk to someone about the values of the campaign, you are an important ambassador.
Additionally, the SSL Team has some dedicated staff members and advisors.
CAITLIN breedlove, Campaign director
Caitlin Breedlove joined the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign as its newest Campaign Director in January 2016. She is the former Co-Director of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), where she has co-led innovative intersectional movement building work in the LGBTQ sector. Under Caitlin’s co-leadership, SONG has led campaigns, built new alliances, trained a large cohort of new LGBTQ organizers in the South, built a membership of over 3,000, and led countless political education processes for SONG’s constituency. Since 2003, Caitlin has been organizing and doing movement building work in the South with communities across race, class, culture, gender and sexuality. Caitlin is known across social justice movements as a leader, strategist, and writer connecting LGBTQ, racial and economic justice. Caitlin began her work in the South doing popular education and organizer training at the historic Highlander Center in Tennessee.
NOra rasman, campaign coordinator
Nora joined the campaign in February 2014. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Nora was involved with UU youth leadership development work both in her district as well as nationally through Groundwork Anti-Racism Trainers Collective and YRUU (Young Religious UU) Steering Committee. She sees the Standing on the Side of Love campaign as an opportunity to have long-term and intentional conversations about how faith communities will show up and show up to support, organize and fortify social justice movements. Prior to joining the campaign, Nora worked at a number of advocacy and policy non-profit organizations working for domestic and international human rights. She is interested in the nexus between social justice + art, intersectionality and identity, organizational development, cultural equity, graphic facilitation/recording, event and party planning. Contact Nora if you have questions or want to get involved.
LENA K. GARDNER, collaborative organizer
Lena joined the campaign in a collaboration with the Church of the Larger Fellowship where her work includes organizing with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism and Standing on the Side of Love in June 2016. She is the youngest of four children grew up just outside of Minneapolis in the suburb of Golden Valley, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2006 with her Bachelor of Individualized Studies in English Literature, Nature & Society, and Global Development. Lena played rugby for ten years and was a guide in the Boundary Waters and the west desert of Utah and Sonoran deserts of Arizona. She graduated in 2015 with her Master of Arts in Justice and Peace Studies in 2015 and was an early organizer with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Chapter after getting started on the path to organizing by working against the marriage and voter restriction amendments in 2012. She lives in Minneapoils, Minnesota with her dear friend Liz, Chloe the dog and Merlin the Black cat.
We also work very closely with the Multicultural Growth and Witness team of the UUA. Annette Marquis, Audra Friend, Janice Marie Johnson, Lesley Murdock, Susan Leslie and Taquiena Boston all contribute to our work of supporting UUs and partners to build a more just, creative, justice-centered multicultural world.
Finally, SSL consults often with strategic advisors, including a Steering Committee and Creative Advisory team. Are you interested in becoming more involved with SSL? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! We also are able to host interns and fellows through SSL on a case-by-case basis. Please email email@example.com to learn more.