Social Justice

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

Social Justice Committee and friends at the grand opening of the Hal Carlstadt Social Justice Center.
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. NEW! Find us on Google+

Read about our SJC "Partnering Policy."  Non-profit Social Justice groups can be a "Primary" or an "Associate" Sponsor.  That choice is up to you.  Publicity will simply say "Co-sponsored by."  See our Event Information Intake Form.

The SJC normally meets on the first and third Sundays at 12:30 pm in the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center, upstairs in the Education Building's Fireside Room, 1606 Bonita Ave. Meetings are open to the public, all are welcome!  If you would like to be on the agenda or for more info, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Join the Social Justice Committee's low volume events/alerts "Rise Up List" by sending an email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Partners for Justice

These are a few of the groups that BFUU partners with in doing the work of justice:

Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP)

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. 

California Interfaith Power & Light

Cindy Sheehan

CODEPINK Golden Gate Chapter


East Bay Sanctuary Covenant

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

 Occupy Berkeley

 Project Censored

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 Wind Song West Cafe

The first Friday of the month we hold the Wind Song West Cafe from 11:30 am to 2pm in the Hal Center. We begin with self-care for activists and have a potluck lunch, followed by a program. Past Cafe programs included civil rights lawyer Ann Fagan Ginger, a discussion of Israel and Palestine and what we can do, and poetry readings.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • library work

  • Site coordinator


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:


Fukushima Is Here:  Now What? A Town  Hall Forum

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

Brass Liberation Orchestra at a 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.  Woman with sign showing a four eyed cartoon fish. The group marched to the corner of Montgomery and Market.

Man protesting Frankenfish at rally in SF.


The Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center Grand Opening

Tom McAninley, Gene Herman and Cynthia Johnson cut the ribbon to open the Hal Carlstadt Social Justice Center while Carol Ann Amour looks on.
Tom McAninley, Carol Ann Amour, Gene Herman and Cynthia Johnson.
The opening of the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center of the BFUU was a festive and emotionally uplifting event organized by the BFUU Social Justice Committee on Sunday, June 3, 2012 from noon to 1:30 pm. The Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center is now open five days a week from 1:30 pm to 5 pm, the same hours as the BFUU office. The new center is located in the Fireside Room on the second floor of the RE Building at 1606 Bonita. The phone number is 510 275-4272 and the email address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The room was resplendent with flowers from Gail Penso's garden, social justice posters, and a large photo placard of Hal Carlstad from the BFUU's archive and oral history project.

Vic Sadot, past 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 former BFUU Minister 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 at the grand opening of the Hal Carlstadt Social Justice Center.
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 to further develop the arts initiatives. The Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center creates projects for community healing and citizen empowerment. In addition, the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center volunteers 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 is the hub of all of this ongoing activity.