Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) is an interfaith public advocacy campaign promoting respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Standing on the Side of Love confronts issues of exclusion, oppression, and violence based on identity. With the goal of creating beloved community, the campaign pursues social change through advocacy, public witness, and speaking out in solidarity with those whose lives are publicly demeaned.
Our core issues of focus include, but are not limited to: LGBTQ equity, immigrant justice, racial justice and intersectional movement building.
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.
NOra rasman, campaign MANAGER
Nora is the current Campaign Manager at Standing on the Side of Love. She 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. Prior to joining the campaign, Nora worked domestic and international advocacy and policy while also doing anti-racist organizational development work with DC-based non-profit organizations. She gets joy living in the nexus between social justice + art, scheming about organizational development, cultural equity and organizing, doing graphic facilitation/recording, event and party planning.
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. Her work with Standing on the Side of Love will conclude in Spring 2017 but we're grateful to continue working with her in her capacity with Black Lives of UU.
We also work very closely with the Multicultural Growth and Witness team of the UUA. Michael Crumpler, DiDi Delgado, 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.