We kindle this light in the centre of our circle.
May it symbolise the light and life and warmth
In the centre of our beings.
May it mirror the light of fellow Unitarians here
And around the world.
-Patricia OliverMore >
The message below went out on Thursday, April 12, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
I buy a lot of books, some from my local bookstore and some from Amazon. Recently I purchased Van Jones’ new book, “Rebuild the Dream.” I paid for this with my Visa card and it will be shipped to me by Federal Express or UPS. Imagine my shock when I learned that each step of this transaction was providing revenue that supports the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. ALEC is the organization that has promoted the “stand your ground” laws highlighted in the tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida; Arizona-style, anti-immigrant legislation; laws that undercut voter registration in communities of color; and anti-environmental legislation. Yes it’s true. Amazon, Visa, Federal Express, and UPS all provide substantial support to ALEC. All I can say is: What are they thinking?
In addition to being a customer of these companies, I also have another relationship. As the Treasurer of the Unitarian Universalist Association, I am responsible for overseeing our denomination’s investments, and we hold stock in each one of these companies. I am outraged that these companies are funding ALEC, and shocked that these companies that depend on their relationships with millions of consumers would risk their hard-earned reputations by aligning themselves with ALEC and an agenda that is very often directly harmful to our communities. That’s a bad business decision that hurts us as a shareholder.
In the past days alone, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and Wendy’s have all agreed to cut ties with ALEC due to pressure from consumers like you and me. Let’s keep up the pressure.
Please join the leadership of our denomination in asking Amazon, Visa, Federal Express, and UPS to cut their ties with ALEC.
ALEC presents itself as a non-partisan organization “that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and the vigorous exchange of ideas between the public and private sector to develop state based solutions.” Its approach is to bring legislators together with business leaders to work jointly on crafting “model” legislation that can then be introduced, often verbatim, on a state-by-state basis. In addition to promoting “pro-business,” low/no tax legislation, ALEC pushes an ultra-right, pro-gun, anti-immigrant, voter disenfranchisement agenda—and ALEC is enabled by their corporate supporters. The (mostly Republican) state legislators, who make up the membership of ALEC, provide about 1% of the organization’s budget, while the rest comes from companies, many of which you and I do business with every day. None of ALEC’s work would be possible without its corporate funders.
The laws ALEC promotes stand in stark contrast to several of our Unitarian Universalist principles:
SB 1070 and its anti-immigrant copycats violate the spirit of “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.”
Voter I.D. proposals that disproportionately disenfranchise minorities fly in the face of “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.”
Stand Your Ground legislation has shown how it gets in the way of “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”
For several years now, the UUA has been working with other investors, including the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees and Walden Asset Management, to promote our values and press companies to disclose their financial relationships with lobbying groups like ALEC. Now we have the best example yet of why these alliances are bad for business and disastrous for our communities. This shareholder coalition has filed resolutions with many leading companies asking for full disclosure of their lobbying and political expenditures. The votes will take place over the coming months. We will continue to pressure them privately and to speak out at their annual shareholder meetings.
But we don’t have to wait. Right now, let’s urge Amazon, Visa, FedEx and UPS to stop funding ALEC. They deserve better company than that. You can join me in sending a message to these companies today.
Click here to urge Amazon, Visa, Federal Express, and UPS—companies the UUA holds shares in—to cut ties with ALEC.
Simply put, companies we do business with should not be aligning themselves with an organization that is doing such incredible harm to our communities.
Unitarian Universalist Association
The message below went out on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters that have expressed an interest in organizing on college campuses. You can sign-up for these emails here.
I am thrilled that you are joining us in exploring new ways to stand on the side of love at college campuses.
Our first step together was when you expressed interest in this movement by responding to a February email by my colleague, Meredith Lukow, on behalf of Standing on the Side of Love and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
I–as Campus Ministry Associate at the UUA along with Meredith as Program Assistant at the Standing on the Side of Love campaign–have been working on our next steps by brainstorming tools we can provide you that will best equip you to confront issues of identity-based oppression.
We want the tools we create to fulfill your unique needs. Can you please answer a few, short questions to help us better understand your needs?
If you’re interested in starting a campus ministry group, please contact me and we can work together to make a game plan that is strategic and successful. If you’re hoping to use the Standing on the Side name for your public protests against injustice, you don’t need permission, but Meredith would love to make sure you have all of the campaign’s tools at your disposal, and also to hear your stories!
Thank you again for expressing your interest in joining us in standing on the side of love at college campuses. We hope to learn more about you and how we can assist you through this brief survey. We hope you’ll take a minute to fill it out.
We’ll gather your information, formulate a plan, and report back!
Yours in the struggle,
Campus Ministry Associate
Unitarian Universalist Association
The message below went out on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
I want to share a disturbing trend with you that I think you should know about.
Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070, is based on a model bill that was created by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The “Stand Your Ground” or “Shoot First” law that has prevented the killer of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin from being charged is model legislation endorsed and promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
In addition, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has promoted undemocratic and unjust voter ID laws that disenfranchise young people, people of color, and the elderly from voting.
What is ALEC and what can we do to stop this effort?
ALEC is an organization that promotes opportunities for corporations and legislators to work together behind closed doors to promote legislation that helps their bottom line, often at the expense of disadvantaged communities.
This week, the national, racial justice organization Color of Change is leading a charge to ask prominent companies to stop funding ALEC. This is an important campaign to end the corporate dominance of state legislators that are promoting discriminatory laws that hurt our communities in the name of profit.
Can you add your name to the petition asking AT&T to end its association with ALEC?
Other companies, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Kraft, have dropped their association with ALEC as a result of consumer outrage. Now we need your help to continue this effort.
ALEC Exposed describes the process through which ALEC’s “model” legislation takes shape:1
Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations… Participating legislators… then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law.
Members include many notorious organizations such as the Corrections Corporation of America, Koch Industries, and Altria/Philip Morris USA. The list also includes more mainstream corporations looking to benefit their bottom line at the expense of the common good, like Johnson and Johnson, Bayer, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and the United Parcel Service (UPS).
With the momentum growing, now is the time to act.
Add your name to the petition asking AT&T to end its association with ALEC.
Over the coming days, we will also be looking at how Standing on the Side of Love can use our unique perspective to help end the sway that ALEC holds on promoting corporate-backed legislation that is responsible for increased mandatory prison sentences; harsh, anti-immigrant, “papers please” legislation; and racist, voter suppression laws.
1. “ALEC Exposed,” April 10, 2012 http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_ExposedMore >
Come ride a bus to Justice GA 2012 in Phoenix with fellow UUs!
A limited number of seats are available for an exciting bus trip across the country. This spiritual trip will be inspirational, fun and educational. It will originate in Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, June 16, and will pick up other riders in Atlanta, GA. It is scheduled to arrive in Phoenix on Wednesday, June 20.
Youth 14 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Youth 15-17 are welcome without a parent or guardian and will be assigned a qualified youth advisor.
Information and a draft schedule are posted on the SED website, as is a link to the registration form.
Sign up now! Don’t miss this rare opportunity to participate in an intergenerational, multi-racial, multi-cultural, interstate, cross-congregational pilgrimage to an historic General Assembly.More >