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Breaking News:
UU Forward Together's New Leadership Team

  UU Forward Together's Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Lisa Garcia-Sampson will succeed Rev. John L Saxon as the new Executive Director of the UU Justice Ministry of North Carolina. 

  Lisa graduated from Boston University’s School of Theology in 2018 and most recently served as the Ministerial Intern at First Church Boston. She recently received preliminary fellowship as a UU minister and will be ordained this spring by her home congregation, the First Unitarian Church of Providence. Lisa moved to the Triangle in June 2019 with her spouse Ry who is a Family Medicine Resident at Duke. 

  UU Forward Together's Board is also grateful that Rev. John L Saxon will continue to serve the UU Justice Ministry of NC as its President, succeeding Doug Rhodes who was, and always will be, the "Founding Father" of the UU Justice Ministry of NC and served as UU Forward Together's first President from 2012 to 2020. 

  But wait, that's not all! Rev. Gaye Morris of Manteo, NC will be coming on board next month as UU Forward Together's new Secretary and Treasurer

  UU Forward Together is really, really excited about UU Forward Together's new leadership team and our plans to work with you to give life the shape of justice in 2020. 

Lisa Garcia-Sampson

Rev. John L. Saxon

Rev. Gaye Morris

February 2020
In This Issue

Justice Matters

May Love Be Our Guide 

Forward Together News & Events

Farewell & Best Wishes from Doug
"I Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
UU the Vote in NC
Thank You, Jacqueline & Sadie

Giving Life the Shape of Justice

"Prophetic, Not Partisan" Webinar
CJJ ICE Verifier Training
Raising Wages NC

Stop Deportation of Immigrants with Temporary Protected Status
Democracy NC: Protect Voting Rights
Poor Peoples March on Washington

Congregations Making Justice


Join UU Forward Together at HKonJ 2020

We need you to join hundreds of UUs and tens of thousands of people for the annual HKonJ Moral March on Raleigh, this Saturday, February 8, 2020. 

Click here for more information about this year's HKonJ march.

Click the button (above) to RSVP if you'll be staying for the UU Forward Together gathering immediately after the HKonJ march and rally.


Justice Matters

May Love Be Our Guide

Dear Forward Together Community, 

I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve as the new Executive Director of Forward Together. In the months and years to come, I’m excited to work alongside you and our partners in justice to create change in North Carolina.

Of course, the strength of our movement lies in our relationships with one another. I look forward to meeting many of you and learning about your stories, your gifts, and what sustains you in this work. 

My spouse Ry and I are relatively new to North Carolina. Almost exactly a year ago, while visiting Duke as a prospective Family Medicine residency program for Ry, we ventured over to Raleigh to attend the annual HKonJ rally. It was there that we met UU’s from all across the state and witnessed your determination to create change. We flew back to Rhode Island that night both knowing that we wanted to be a part of North Carolina’s progressive movement. Four months later, we moved here. 

With that being said, I’m still learning about the complex dynamics of North Carolina – in all its challenges and beauty. I welcome your support and partnership in deepening my (and our) understanding of North Carolina’s history, the scope of racial, economic, environmental and political injustice in our state, and how UUs can most effectively contribute to this movement.

Finally, please join me in thanking our founder and outgoing President, Doug Rhodes, and our outgoing Executive Director, Rev. John Saxon for their vision and leadership. As John now transitions into the role of President, I'm excited to have the benefit of his years of experience. 

So much is at stake in the year to come. Our faith calls us to meet this moment with imagination, courage, and above all, love. 

May love be our guide. 

Lisa Garcia-Sampson
Executive Director, UU Justice Ministry of NC


Forward Together News & Events

Farewell & Best Wishes from Doug 

Dear Friends, 

I will always treasure the time that I've spent over the past eight years creating and leading the UU Justice Ministry of NC. 

But more than that, I take great pleasure celebrating the new leadership of our statewide UU justice network, Forward Together, and envisioning its work to give life the shape of justice in all the years to come.

Doug Rhodes was the "Founding Father" of UU Forward Together (2012) and served as its first President (2017 - 2020).

Over the past few years, this idea that UU congregations and justice leaders in North Carolina can join together to strengthen local programs and work together across the state on pressing issues of our time has found fertile ground and is growing deep roots.

UU support for this widely held belief, now a successful reality, comes at a time when new energy, new ideas, and new leaders are needed and are now present and ready to serve.

The Forward Together Board of Directors has every confidence that this transition will be a smooth one and will result in greater engagement and visibility as this effort gains momentum.

UU Justice work in this state is serious business – now, more than ever. The challenges we face within our state and nation require of us more than contemplation and hope. We must find the courage and resolve to move to action and public advocacy, leading from our UU values and Principles. 

Our new Forward Together leaders offer us new inspiration and effective programs and opportunities for accomplishing our collective justice ministry mission. So, let's get started.

Forward Together!


I Ain't Goin' Nowhere!

Dear Friends,

I ain't goin' nowhere!

Yes, I'm stepping down as UU Forward Together's Executive Director. But I'm also stepping into a new role as UU Forward Together's President.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, I've worked with Doug, the Forward Together Board of Directors, and you to "reboot" and "relaunch" the UU Justice Ministry of NC as a more visible, more effective, and adequately funded network of congregations, individuals, and partner organizations that are working together to give life the shape of justice. And I have to say that UU Forward Together is in pretty good shape now - fired up and ready to engage in the really important work that lies ahead of us in 2020 and beyond. 

The Board and I agree that this is a good time to "pass the baton" in the next phase of UU Forward Together's future. And I have every confidence that Lisa will "run the good race." 

But let me say it again: I ain't goin' nowhere. I'm staying around to run this race with you!

I'll be there on Saturday (and next year and the next) to march with you. I'll be with you to speak out at the state legislature. I'll be here to work with Lisa and Gaye and the UU Forward Together Board. And I'll be working "behind the scenes" to help UU Forward Together give life the shape of justice for many years to come.

Forward Together! Not One Step Back!



UU the Vote in NC

On January 12th, hundreds of UUs from 80 congregations all across the US (including dozens of UUs in Wilmington, Hendersonville, Asheville, Greensboro, and elsewhere in NC) participated in a webinar to officially launch the UUA's national "UU the Vote" campaign.

And just two weeks later, on January 26th, more than dozen UUs from eight UU congregations in North Carolina met by video/conference call with UU Forward Together and Susan Leslie from the UUA to

  • share information about what UU congregations are doing and are planning to do locally in partnership with others to register voters, educate voters about voting rights and social justice issues, combat voter suppression and gerrymandering, and get voters to the polls in 2020,
  • learn about the resources and support that are available from the UUA and other sources to support our work for electoral justice, and
  • discuss how UU Forward Together and UUs in North Carolina can partner with others (including but not limited to You Can Vote, Democracy NC, the NC Poor Peoples Campaign, the NAACP, Siembra, Blueprint NC, and the UUA) to make a difference in the 2020 elections and beyond.   

Going forward, what we're hoping is that we can

  • continue this conversation in a second call (probably Sunday, March 1 @ 4:00 pm) and subsequent calls every month,
  • organize a NC "UU the Vote" action team to plan, coordinate, and support our work for electoral justice in 2020 and beyond,
  • identify a number of organizational partners that we can work with,
  • identify at least two or three major statewide or regional electoral justice campaigns, and
  • obtain grant funding from the UUA and other sources to support our work.

But to do that, we need your help, your time, your energy, your ideas, and your commitment.

Click the links (below) to learn more and work together to give life the shape of justice in 2020.


Thank You, Jacqueline & Sadie!

We're sad to say goodbye to two of UU Forward Together Board members, Rev. Sadie Lansdale, Minister of the UU Church of Greensboro, who served on the Board for one year (2019), and Rev. Jacqueline Brett, Minister of Member Engagement at the Eno River UU Fellowship in Durham, who served on the Board for two years (2018 and 2019). Both Sadie and Jacqueline will continue to work for justice within and beyond the congregations they serve. So you'll be seeing them around. And when you do, please join us in thanking Jacqueline and Sadie for their service to UU Forward Together.

The Forward Together Board of Directors hopes to introduce you to two new Board members next month who will be joining the remaining six Board members (Laurel Amabile (Asheville), Martha "Kitten" Bulen (Hendersonville), Jessie Lin (Raleigh), Raine Morgan (Wilmington), Elizabeth Terry (Wilmington), and Rev. Sally White (Morehead City)) to lead UU Forward Together in 2020 and beyond.


Giving Life the Shape of Justice

"Prophetic, Not Partisan" Webinar (Feb. 6, 2020 @ 8:00 pm)

As we dive into the work of UU the Vote in this election year, many congregations have questions about how to act boldly on behalf of our values while also remaining compliant with IRS non-profit/501(c)3 regulations. 

Join "UU the Vote" for an interactive session with attorney Davis Senseman, Esq. (Davis Law Office) and Rev. Rob Keithan (All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC and author of “The Real Rules”) where we will talk about some of the most commonly asked questions about congregational civic engagement and electoral work, interesting real-life case studies, and wonderings from our congregations as we head into UU the Vote 2020.

Click here for more information & registration. 


CJJ ICE Verifier Training in Durham (Feb. 11 @ 6:30 pm)

Building off of last year’s Never Again action in Alamance County, Carolina Jews for Justice is coordinating with Siembra NC’s Solidarity Committee to train a robust team of volunteers to support the rapid response ICE verifier network to promote increased safety and security for our immigrant neighbors.

The next training is scheduled for Wednesday, February 11, 6:30 pm at the Durham Friends Meeting House, 404 Alexander Dr., Durham, NC 27705

Click here for more information and registration.


Raising Wages NC (Feb. 13 @ 6:00 pm)

Join workers and allies demanding a $15/hr minimum wage in North Carolina!

On Feb. 13 @ 6:00 pm, workers, clergy, small business owners, and other community leaders will gather at First Baptist Church (99 N Salisbury St Raleigh, NC 27603) to speak out and call for a $15/hr minimum wage.

Speakers will include UU Forward Together's President, Rev. John L. Saxon. Candidates will attend, listen, briefly respond to testimonies, and give their position on wages. 

Click here for more information and registration.


Stop Deportation of Immigrants
with Temporary Protected Status

Join UUs for Social Justice and the UU Service Committee to tell Senators Burr and Tillis to reject the Trump Administration's plans to deport immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and, instead, provide TPS families with a pathway to legal permanent status in the US.


Help Democracy NC Protect Voting Rights

Democracy NC needs our help to protect voting rights and democracy in North Carolina.

Click here to become a Democracy NC Vote Protector and give life the shape of justice by

  • monitoring “high-risk” polling places on Election Day (March 3) and/or the last Saturday of Early Voting (February 29), 
  • helping voters who need assistance, and
  • documenting problems that occur at polls.

Poor People's Campaign Moral March on Washington 

The national Poor People's Campaign will conclude its year-long "We Must Do MORE (Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, Educating)" campaign with a rally at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on June 20, 2020.

Stay tuned for more details.


Congregations Making Justice

Please share your congregation's social justice news by adding UU Forward Together (news@uuforwardtogether.org) to your congregation's social justice mailing list or sending your news to

There's a lot going on at the UU Congregation of Asheville, including

  • a new Anti-Racist Covenant Group;
  • screening of Suppressed: The Fight to Vote at 7:00 pm on Feb. 7 for their next Justice Film Night;
  • hosting an "Engaging Voters Training" on Feb. 11; and 
  • a monthly discussion using the "Changing Systems, Changing Ourselves" curriculum.

The UU Fellowship of Hendersonville hosted a You Can Vote volunteer training session last month that drew a crowd of about 50 people.

The UU Church of Greensboro is continuing its participation in the UUs for Social Justice "Write Here! Write Now!" letter-writing campaign to lobby North Carolina's US Senators and Representatives with respect to a broad range of public policy and social justice issues. 

The UU Congregation of Hillsborough's Share the Plate Collection for February will support the work of UU Forward Together.

The Eno River UU Fellowship of Durham will host a book signing with David Zucchino, author of Wilmington's Liethe story of the 1898 white supremacist coup that attacked Wilmington's African American community and overthrew the city's progressive coalition government. On Feb. 15, ERUUF Earth Justice group will offer a workshop on Drawdown, a plan to address and reverse climate change.

The UU Fellowship of Raleigh is gearing up to partner with ONE Wake to assemble a locally controlled, broad-based, non-partisan organization capable of taking effective public action to resolve the top pressures facing families and communities across Wake County. 

Several UU congregations in North Carolina (including Eno River (Durham), Community Church (Chapel Hill) and Asheville) are planning "living legacy" journeys to Alabama this spring to learn more about the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.


Forward Together is the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of North Carolina - 
an independent, nonpartisan, progressive faith-based social justice advocacy organization that works with Unitarian Universalists, Unitarian Universalist congregations, and other progressive faith-based and secular social justice organizations to "give life the shape of justice" in North Carolina through education, organizing, mobilization, witness, protest, advocacy, grass-roots lobbying, and direct action. 

Contact Us

Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of North Carolina
225 West Tryon St., Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278

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