The Berkeley Fellowship has a long-standing commitment to Social Justice. Through our Social Justice Committee and individual members, we are involved in diverse educational and activist campaigns. These include promoting inclusion and diversity, international solidarity, environmental stewardship, ending corporate rule, fair labor practices, homeless people’s rights and dignity, repealing the death penalty, stopping modern-day slavery and human trafficking, and promoting peace, democracy, and human rights in the US and abroad.
BFUU has twice received the "Moral Beacon" Award from the Pacific Central District of the Unitarian Universalist Association, for its "extraordinary courage and commitment in the work of creating a better world."
Social Justice Committee
|The Social Justice Committee and Friends support justice for Trayvon Martin at the grand opening of the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center.|
The Social Justice Committee sponsors events and forums on many issues of the day, including the "Conscientious Projector" film and discussion series.
We partner with local social justice groups to host a wide variety of events. Check out upcoming events to find out what's coming up soon.
Read about our SJC "Partnering Policy." Non-profit Social Justice groups can be a "Primary" or an "Associate" Sponor. That choice is up to you. Publicity will simply say "Co-sponsored by." See our Event Information Intake Form.
Partners for Justice
With programs ranging from free meal service to permanent supportive housing, BFHP provides a continuum of care to accommodate a broad spectrum of specialized needs. BFHP assists low-income and homeless individuals with needs and disabilities that are not effectively met by mainstream social services. The agency hallmark is to provide services with compassion to foster a nurturing, healing environment that can effectively end an individual’s cycle of homelessness. Our Minister, Rev. Ben Meyers, serves on their Board of Directors.
For over 30 years BFUU has been a member of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, which works to support refugees from Central America and Haiti, and immigrant rights in general.
East Bay Social Forum
Haiti Action Committee
Haiti Action Network
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance
No Lies Radio
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California (UULM-CA)
A statewide justice ministry to empower the moral voice of Unitarian Universalist values in the public arena. Members advocate and lobby on political issues in California. Current focus areas: Climate & Water Justice, Health Care Reform, LGBTQ Equality,and Immigrant Justice. Our community minister, the Rev. Earl Koteen serves a UULM's consulting minister on Climate Justice
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
Through a combination of advocacy, education, and partnerships with grassroots organizations, UUSC promotes economic rights, advances environmental justice, defends civil liberties, and preserves the rights of people in times of humanitarian crisis. In November and December we host the Guest At Your Table (GAYT) campaign.
The Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center
“The Hal Center” as the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center is affectionately known, is here to serve groups and individuals interested in social justice. Our services are free, although donations are gratefully accepted. Groups use the Hal for meetings, mail outs, phone ins, and other work sessions. Groups should reserve time a week in advance. Groups regularly using our space at this time include the Committee for South African Solidarity (COSAS) and Fukushima Response Bay Area (FRBA). Individuals use the computers (Mac, PC or laptop), write, make art, and browse our social justice library. We have wireless if you prefer to use your own computer. We are located on the second floor of the Education Building in the Fireside Room. At this time the space is not wheelchair accessible.
The Question Mark Cafe
The first Friday of the month we hold the Question Mark Cafe from 11:30am to 2pm in the Hal Center. We begin with self-care for activists and have a potluck lunch, followed by a program. Past Question Mark Cafe programs included civil rights lawyer Ann Fagan Ginger, a discussion of Israel and Palestine and what we can do, and poetry readings.
Standing on the side of love resolution
On Sept. 1, 2013, the Social Justice Committee passed the following resolution:
“We stand by Chelsea Manning as a war-crimes whistle-blower who should be freed. Instead of prosecuting Manning, war criminals should be put on trial under the Nuremberg Principles. We also stand with Manning in her right to choose her gender.”
Read an article by SJC chair Vic Sadot here: https://berkeleycalling.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/standing-on-the-side-of-love-free-chelsea/
Fukushima Is Here: Now What? A Town Hall Forum
On Oct. 17, 2013, the BFUU Social Justice Committee, Fukushima Response, Fukushima Response Bay Area, No Nukes Action Committee, CODEPINK Women for Peace Golden Gate Chapter, and EON, the Ecological Options Network, presented a forum on the ongoing disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, its effect on the West Coast, and ways to make a difference. EON videotaped the event and made high quality videos for those unable to attend. Cynthia Papermaster of CODEPINK Golden Gate and the BFUU Social Justice Committee was the primary organizer. The Fellowship Hall was packed during this event.
Frankenfish Rally in SF
SJC member Seon O'Neill attended a Frankenfish Rally in SF on Feb. 9, 2013. About 500 people turned out to protest GMO salmon at the Embarcadero. The Brass Liberation Orchestra provided music. A commercial fisherman joined the protest. The group marched to the corner of Montgomery and Market.
The Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center Grand Opening
|Tom McAninley, Carol Ann Amour, Gene Herman and Cynthia Johnson.|
Vic Sadot, current chair of the SJC, was the MC and sang a song called “Are You A Citizen of Are You A Slave”. Gene Herman led the ribbon cutting ceremony. The first speaker was Rev. Ben Meyers who called the new social justice center a great step forward and a blessing to us all. He was followed by then outgoing President of the Board, Tom McAninley, who recalled how Hal Carlstad led by example and would never pressure anyone to do anything. Poems were recited by Frances Hillyard and Gene Herman.
|Vic Sadot singing "Are You a Citizen or Are You a Slave?" at the grand opening of the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center.|
Hal Carlstad was a long-time leader of legendary renown for social justice activism at the BFUU. Hal Carlstad was an activist against war and against the death penalty, and for many social justice causes, especially regarding Haiti and Central America and opposition to the death penalty. His long-time partner, Cynthia Johnson, former chair and current vice-chair of the SJC, gave a very moving tribute to Hal.
Among the speakers Carolyn Sklar of EPICALC, Redwood Mary, Leslie Coady of St Joseph the Worker Catholic Social Justice Committee, D'Andre Teeter, Rev. Meg Whittaker-Greene, Syl Scherzer, Diana Bohn, Esteban Myers, Dolores Hellman, Phoebe Sorgen, Ellis Gold, and George Lippman of the City of Berkeley Peace & Justice Commission. Also present was Cynthia Papermaster of CODEPINK Golden Gate. Thanks were generously offered to the volunteers who worked to help set up the center in time for the opening. In addition to those mentioned above, this list included Abbot Foote who set up the computers, Ben Burch, Gail Penso, Frances Hillyard, and new BFUU members Ted Rogers and Virginia Hollins-Davidson.
One of the greatest features of the new center came out of the donation of a lifetime collection of books and DVD's by Cynthia Johnson. The Social Justice Committee voted to name library in her honor. It has books and DVD's about all matters relevant to work for genuine justice and peace. It will have an extensive film archive with the technology to preview films. The Hal Center will provide information and contacts for the many opportunities to serve the community and to participate in social and environmental justice causes. Workshops will soon be scheduled on subjects such as leadership, effective activism, spiritual activism, climate change, and the arts and activism. The Center is also the rehearsal space for BFUU’s social justice theatre project TheatreWorks! and home to the new craftivism circle, beginning in July.
Cynthia Johnson is working with current Task Force Co-Coordinators of the Center, Gene Herman and Carol Ann Amour, to develop the arts initiatives. The Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center will create projects for community healing and citizen empowerment. In addition, the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center volunteers will join in the ongoing effort to organize the archives of fifty years of social justice history at the BFUU and Fellowship Hall. The archives will be accessible to the public for research.
At the end of the event, a photo was taken with the Social Justice Committee banner at the front steps of historic Fellowship Hall where the BFUU has hosted such famous speakers as Daniel Ellsberg, Cindy Sheehan, Bruce Gagnon, Joanna Macy, and many more.
The Berkeley Fellowship of UU's has a long tradition of social activism to continue that includes opposition to war, the death penalty, economic injustice, environmental destruction, corporate globalization & privatization of natural resources, the militarization of our police forces, and illegal COINTELPRO programs to spy on Americans who exercise their rights. In the affirmative, we are for peace, green & sustainable energy, environmental preservation & re-forestation, torture accountability, labor justice & union organizing rights, woman's equality, LGTB & marriage rights, 9/11 Truth & ending the so-called “war on terror”, and so forth! We continue to host the lively monthly open mic created by Country Joe McDonald every 2nd Friday of every month! The Hal Carlstad Center will be the hub of all of this ongoing activity.