Our place in the world is only as good as the impact that we choose to make on it. Albany UU has always strived to incorporate Social Action through its history.
Our Commitment To Changing Our World
For nearly 175 years, Albany UU has lived its Principles by acting on three basic levels of involvement:
Social Concern: the call to learn and educate about specific issues, to change minds…including our own
Social Justice: the call to remedy or improve upon existing conditions
Social Action: the call to group action, to reverse the order of things, to change the world
Our social justice initiatives were born of the demands of our troubled world, from our own neighborhood and community and from around the globe. From hosting well-baby clinics to assisting poor women during the Depression, to joining Black activists in the 1960s, UUs have responded to the call of social justice for decades. We have opposed the Vietnam War, as well as US involvement in El Salvador and the Gulf Wars. We have supported full civil rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer persons. Locally, we protested $5 vote buying in Albany, solarized our building, support food pantries and serve Fair Trade coffee at church events. Across the board, Albany UUs live their faith by doing.
Highlights of Albany UU activism over the decades:
- Starting in 1956, we welcomed and supported refugees from Hungary, Bosnia, Iraq, and Colombia. We helped them find housing, employment, language and tutoring, as well as donations and cash assistance.
- In 1984, we formed the Albany Sanctuary Committee with the Albany Friends Meeting. This provides illegal sanctuary to refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala who are fleeing persecution, torture or death. Albany UUs provided sanctuary for more than 30 undocumented Central American refugees, helping them to find housing, employment, legal and medical aid, as well as English language classes.
- For the second time in its history, Albany Unitarian Universalist has declared itself a Sanctuary congregation, repeating the action taken in 1984 in response to refugees fleeing violence in Central America. Albany Unitarian Universalist welcomes everyone.
- Albany UU became co-sponsors of Albany FOCUS Churches Food Pantry, which has provided ongoing support of food, money and volunteers since 1977.
- Albany UU developed a neighborhood summer children’s program with the nearby Baptist church.
- Albany UU built two Habitat for Humanity houses.
Public Policy Advocacy
- Albany UU passed a resolution supporting gay marriage, citing Civil Marriage is a Civil Right. This is now the law in New York State.
- Albany UU passed a resolution opposing the current practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This resolution also supported the widespread adoption of renewable energy. New York State has banned hydraulic fracking and passed legislation that supports the use of renewable energy.
- One of the goals of the SRC’s End-of-Life Choice Task Force of more than 40 members is to advocate for passage of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act. We have been working on this issue, with partner advocacy groups, since 2015.
- The Social Responsibilities Council and its component groups often ask Albany UUs to contact their State lawmakers about specific issues or bills. Find your lawmakers names and their contact information here.
- Albany UU helped form the Albany County Domestic Violence Task Force, which eventually resulted in the Equinox shelter.
- Albany UU has participated on Albany FOCUS Church’s Task Force on Prison Reform since 1972.
- Albany UU currently supports New York Unitarian Universalist Justice. NYUUJ is a new state advocacy network with a mission to build justice and power in New York by connecting UUs across the state, learning from those most engaged in the struggle, and activating collective power to advocate for a just New York. Previously, Albany UU was active with Interfaith Impact of New York State.
- Albany UU participated in ARISE (A Regional Initiative Supporting Empowerment), pooling resources and people power among 30 religious organizations as well as several neighborhood associations. Through this, we influence public affairs, focus on criminal justice system and Rockefeller drug law reform. We encourage neighborhood revitalization, regional economic development, Get Out the Vote, as well as immigrant civil rights, among others.
- Albany UU members and friends volunteer at our neighborhood public school, Sheridan Preparatory Academy, assisting in classrooms, chaperoning field trips, and helping to build a new playground. Find more information here.