Marches, Rallies, and Actions

Yes, count us in! From the March on Blair Mountain to Tar Sands actions and Climate Justice protests, UUs are on the ground pushing for change. Check out previous events in the sub-sections. Upcoming activist opportunities are listed below.


Lights for Lima -Nov. 25, 2014

Lighting the WayNext week Commit2Respond is joining OurVoices for #LightForLima, a global, multi-faith prayer vigil, at the invitation of endorser group GreenFaith. December 1-12, 2014 is the next opportunity to call on our leaders for climate justice. At the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, held this year in Lima, Peru, leaders will establish the fundamentals of an agreement to be honed over the coming year and signed in Paris next December.
Each evening from December 1-7, households and communities around the world will light a candle, a chalice, or a solar lamp and pray, meditate, or offer an invocation for a climate agreement. Then we’ll take a photo and post it on Facebook or Twitter with our hopes for the future and the tags #LightForLima and #Commit2Respond.
On the evening of Sunday, December 7, people around the world from diverse faith and spiritual communities will gather for vigils. Take action: join or organize a vigil!
Time is running out for a strong climate agreement. World leaders in Lima need to know that people of all faiths and spiritualties are holding them in our thoughts, meditations, and prayers—supporting their efforts to reach an agreement and bearing witness to their decisions. Our lights will guide the way.


The Great March for Climate Action – March 1 to Nov. 1, 2014

Great March LogoTo learn more about the march, see our newsletter articles in the Winter Newsletter, page 7, and Spring Newsletter, page 7, plus the Great March website and Facebook page.

Here is a list of UU congregations within 50 miles of each stop along the march route from June through Nov. 1. Rallies are planned in many cities and you are welcome to join the march for part of the route.

Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution and frequent speaker at UU churches, is following portions of the march. Here is his itinerary, which includes stops at many UU congregations.

People's Climate March – New York City, Sept. 21, 2014

People's Climate March Logo

People's Climate March Makes History!

UUs marched in NYC to affirm a new commitment to work towards a sustainable, just, and fossil-fuel free future. 

Reports on attendance vary from 310,000 to 400,000 in NYC. About 10,000 marched in the Interfaith contingent; of these, about 1,500 were Unitarian Universalists (the second largest faith group after the Catholics – not bad for a small denomination!). The line of marchers was longer than the parade route (2.6 miles)! Crowds along the way were sometimes 5-6 people deep. Peter Bowden’s photos of UUs in particular and the Interfaith contingent at­.  More faith group photos at has a one-minute video overview and showcases international marches. 

What’s next?

How do we capitalize on this remarkable momentum and outpouring of energy to further the goals we all share?  Here’s one way: Sign up for Commit2Respond, a new effort led by Unitarian Universalists “to shift to clean, renewable energy, grow the Climate Justice movement, and advance the rights of peoples impacted by climate change” and take part in actions during the coming years. Learn more on the UUMFE Commit2Respond page.

Rev. Peggy Clarke, consultant with the UU Metro New York District, organized UUs through this Meetup site. Find more information on the new Facebook page.

Read Bill McKibben's article in Rolling Stone: "A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change," learn about the march and explore transportation options on the main website, and check out the Facebook events page.

The march was conceived by and many, many other organizations have joined in for the planning and execution of the event, timed to coincide with the UN summit on the climate crisis.

Sign the UUSC Petition Affirming the Human Right to Water

Monday, July 14, 2014 – a message from Pamela Sparr
Associate Director for Advocacy, Activism, and Engagement, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Two weeks ago, we launched a petition protesting Detroit water shutoffs. More than 4,000 people have already signed. Join us! Sign the petition today.  

Detroit Water Shutoff Graphic from UUSCOur goal is to have a total of 5,000 signatures by the end of day Thursday, July 10. We will be delivering these signatures to Detroit's mayor, Water and Sewerage Department director, and emergency manager soon thereafter.

The mass water shutoffs in Detroit, Mich., are making news around the world. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has reported shutting off water to over 11,000 households in the past two months.

Families with infants and children, people living with disabilities or chronic illness, and the elderly will be hurt most by these shutoffs. Their health is at risk without adequate water and sanitation. Child Protective Services must, by law, move to protect children in homes without adequate water and sanitation — children may be taken from their parents and put into foster care.

Water is not a luxury good. It is a basic human right due to all people, including low-income individuals and families. People need water for drinking, bathing, and even flushing the toilet!

Sign the petition, which asks Detroit’s emergency manager and water utility director to stop the water shutoffs. You can make a difference in protecting residents of this great city and defending the human right to water.

As Rev. Peggy Clarke, Minister, First Unitarian Society, Hastings on Hudson, NY, said in a message to the Ethical Eating Network: “Equal access to food and water that’s good clean and fair. That’s one of the four principles of food justice and it’s being violated in Detroit . . . This humanitarian crisis, right here in the US, is easily resolved.  We need to let the Powers That Be in Detroit know that the world is watching.”

Christopher Sims, UU poet extraordinaire, shares his thoughts:

The Detroit Water Crisis – A Poem by Christopher D. Sims

Who would be considered the nicest,
After shutting off people’s water
causing a crisis?

Using the devices of power
Hour after hour
To sour the living conditions
of so many.

Three-thousand households a week
are facing shutoffs. Can you imagine
how much those bills cost?!

Babies need water.

Children need water.

Youth need water.

Adults need water.

But it’s money over people.

This is a Human Rights issue.

And if this continues imagine
how many lives will be affected.
I’ve heard that gentrification is
connected to these shutoffs.

So it’s about money and land.
Resources changing from hand
to hand. An American pastime
That many poor and people of
color can understand.

Water is in demand.

But shutting it off in
Detroit is their plan.

© Christopher D. Sims
July 8, 2014