Social Justice News


 Upcoming Events:

Education, ISIS, Peace, and Progress
Sunday, July 26th 12:30 until 2:00 PM

Rev Doug LeonardInterfaith Intercultural Conflict Resolution: Global Ecumenical Politics of Africa and the Gulf

UU respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every human being includes respect between Christians and Muslim and between Jews and Muslims. If we are to strive for peace we must engage in open dialogue between Muslims and Judeo-Christians. As I listen to Rev. Doug Leonard, I hear the stigmas of my culture busting in chorus!

He lives in an old building in Mutrah, Muscat, Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, less than 28 miles from Iran. The al Amana Centre is educating people of all faiths and nationalities with the approval and guidance of the Sultanate of Oman since 1893. Discussions get quite fiery and tolerance of all is tested during the weeks spent in this culture. It is quite an intense experience.

Rev. Doug will be sharing and answering questions on the critical topics of peacemaking and changes in life in the East on Sunday, July 26th after services from 12:30 until 2:00 PM.  His topic will include his personal stories and experiences with conflict resolution in education, ecumenicism, and politics in Africa and the six Gulf countries.

Come and join us for a lively discussion! For more information contact Unitarian Universalist Society East at 860-646-5151 or at

June Black Lives Matter! Activities

Hartford-area clergy protesting anti-black police violence

Hartford-area clergy protesting anti-black police violence

Civil Disobedience Training
Sunday, June 7, 5:00 to 8:00 PM

In advance of a June 8th Moral Monday CT action in Hartford, the UUS:E Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee is hosting a nonviolent civil disobedience training at UUS:E, Sunday evening, June 7th from 5:00 to 8:00. Bishop John Selders will be our lead trainer. All are welcome regardless of level of commitment. Questions? Contact Rev. Josh Pawelek at (860) 652-8961 or


Hartford Courant photo--UUS:E's Rev. Josh leading  the closing of the 11-25 Ferguson Solidarity vigil at Center Church in Hartford

Hartford Courant photo–UUS:E’s Rev. Josh leading the closing of the 11-25 Ferguson Solidarity vigil at Center Church in Hartford

Moral Monday Connecticut
Monday, June 8th beginning at 4:00 PM
Old State House Square, Hartford, CT

There will be a Moral Monday Connecticut / Black Lives Matter rally in Hartford on Monday afternoon, June 8th. The rally will begin at 4:00 PM at Old State House Square in Hartford. More information to come. Questions? Contact Rev. Josh Pawelek at (860) 652-8961 or

Moral MondayAlthough recent high-profile police killings of African American men and boys has focused the nation’s attention on police violence in communities of color, American racism is not limited to such violence, and it is not just in Ferguson, MO, Staten Island, NY or Baltimore, MD. It’s everywhere, and we are invited to struggle against it together.

Our good friend, Bishop John Selders of Amistad UCC in Hartford says this about Moral Monday, CT: Faith leaders and social justice activists from across Connecticut have been in conversation. We’ve decided to do more about the assault on black lives — and be very public about it. We held our first Moral Monday event on, February 23d, 2015, in Hartford.  The next event will take place on June 2nd. As many of you may know, the Moral Monday grassroots movement of North Carolina, led by The Rev. William Barber and others, has been for over a year gathering and protesting wide-ranging issues under the blanket of unfair treatment and discrimination. We are asking faith leaders, lay and clergy along with social justice- minded folk across Connecticut, to converge on downtown Hartford to let our voices be seen and heard. We will gather at 3:00 p.m. June 2nd, Christ Church Cathedral, 45 Church Street, Hartford, for a time of witnessing and then we will go to the streets for a time of public demonstrating.
Will you join us?
For information regarding trainings or for more information, email or Rev. Josh Pawelek at (860) 652-8961. 


Jesse Turner AKA "The Walking Man"

Jesse Turner AKA “The Walking Man”

Walking for Education Justice
Rally and Forum with Professor Jesse Turner
Sunday, June 14th, 2:30 PM.

Jesse Turner, AKA “The Walking Man,” is a professor of Reading and Language Arts and the Director of the Literacy Center at Central Connecticut State University. He is a long-time antiracism activist and a staunch opponent of educational testing. In recent years he has been walking from CT to Washington, DC every spring and summer to raise awareness about the flaws in federal education programs. This year he will be stopping at UUS:E on his way to DC! He arrives at UUS:E, Sunday, June 14th at 2:30 PM. Don’t miss it!


backpackThe Social Justice/Anti-Oppression Committee Backpack Project Continues!

The Social Justice/Anti-Oppression Committee will conduct the next collection of household and toiletry items for recently released prisoners during the month of June. This program, conducted in partnership with Community Partners in Action, an agency which helps recently released prisoners begin their lives again with the best possible start in many areas of living, collected 12 full backpacks last Fall. We hope to do the same in June, 2015. Watch for more details here!

ADVOCACY: Supporting efforts to pass Governor Malloy’s Second Chance Society Legislation.

The UUS:E Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee has worked in various ways over they years to advance criminal justice and drug policy reforms aimed at stopping mass incarceration of people of color and ending the US “War on Drugs.” This year, CT’s Governor Dannel Malloy proposed sweeping legislation to achieve many of the reforms we’ve worked on in years past.

Read the highlights of Governor Malloy’s Second Chance Society proposals here.

Read Rev. Pawelek’s letter in the Hartford Courant in support of Governor Malloy’s proposals here.


Get involved!

All are welcome to attend the planning meetings of the Social Justice/Anti-Oppression Committee (SJAO) which take place on the first Tuesday of every month at 7pm in Rev. Josh’s office.  Contact our office at 860-646-5151 or


Goals of the UUS:E Social Justice Committee:

One of our primary Social Justice Committee goals is to achieve a better balance between our advocacy and service work within the Greater Hartford community and our connective work within our own Unitarian Universalist Society: East community. We are accordingly working harder to listen and to respond to stories of our own members and friends. As a starting point, representative members of our Rainbow Alliance and Social Justice committees have been meeting together to determine how Unitarian Universalist Society: East can be an “additionally welcoming” place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) members and friends. Rainbow Alliance and Social Justice will accordingly cosponsor an appropriate range of educational, legislative advocacy and relationship oriented activities. Some suggestions have been forums,movie nights and direct discussion opportunities (e.g., getting together in members’ homes). During our last meeting, we also discussed”radical communication” as a possible metaphor (e.g., more openly sharing our individual journeys and our resulting hopes and dreams).

Our Mission:

“When people come together to work on social justice projects, they break the bonds of individualism and isolation that fragment communities. They make sacred space for one another. Together they explore the issues that tear at their hearts, and cause them concern for the future. The issue and the passion can only come from them. And, together, they partner with others to understand their place in the community, the gifts they bring to the community, and the hopes and dreams of others. Too many people think that spirituality and social justice are at opposite ends of the continuum, even polarized from one another. In truth, neither can be fulfilled without the other.” Rev. Jeanne Lloyd

The Social Justice Committee (SJC) fosters and focuses the passion for social justice among the members and friends of Unitarian Universalist Society: East by undertaking certain activities itself, and by providing an umbrella forum for the initiation, coordination and lifting up of social justice activities in other groups at Unitarian Universalist Society: East. In doing so, we cover the full spectrum of social justice work, including service (S), education (E), witness (W), advocacy (A), community organizing (CO) and transformation (T).

Activities of the Social Justice Committee



  1. […] The Moral Monday actions have not exactly been underground. There are hashtags and Twitter accounts for the movement. Yet, it seems that the civil disobedience during Monday’s evening rush hour took a number of people, including some reporters, by surprise — despite the intentions being announced on Real Hartford and elsewhere. […]