Each month we identify a special project or community partner and we give away 25% of our weekly Sunday offerings to this effort.
Text to give: 844-409-8397. Simply text the dollar amount you’d like to give and follow the prompts. Or donate online through our website at http://www.ussb.org/give
December 2023: Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism
In December, we share our Outreach Offering with Black Lives Unitarian Universalism (BLUU), in recognition of our congregational affirmation of the 8th Principle and in our commitment to the work of anti-racism in our nation, our community, our congregation, and our individual lives.
BLUU is an organizing collective formed in 2015 to provide support, information and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists, as well as to expand the role and visibility of Black UUs within our faith.
Specifically, BLUU is committed to:
- Expanding the power & capacity of Black UUs within our faith
- Providing support, information & resources for Black UUs
- Justice-making and liberation through our faith
BLUU harnesses love’s power to combat oppression and foster healing as a spiritual and political imperative. We know the power of love to be life changing, inclusive, relational, uncomfortable, unconditional and without end.
In the spirit of this shared vision, please give generously to support the work of BLUU. For more information: https://blacklivesuu.org
More about 8th principle: https://www.8thprincipleuu.org/
November 2023: The Brigid Alliance
The November recipient for our Outreach Offering, celebrating Gender Justice and Reproductive Justice, is The Brigid Alliance.
The BRIGID ALLIANCE mission is to “get people to abortion care, whatever it takes.” Legal barriers are just one factor that can prevent someone from accessing an abortion – particularly people struggling to make ends meet, young people, queer people, disabled people, and Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. For many Americans, the costs and logistical challenges of physically getting to an abortion provider are primary barriers to access – and only getting harder.
The Brigid Alliance supports people who must travel long distances for abortion care, working across the United States, through direct support and in collaboration with a network of partners, to arrange and fund confidential travel, lodging, childcare, and logistical assistance, closing the gap between the need for an abortion and the ability to access one and serving as a single, trusted point of contact for every step of the journey. Wherever someone needs to get to abortion care in the U.S., Brigid Alliance finds a way to get them there.
Established in 2018, the Brigid Alliance is working to make abortion access above-ground, borderless, burden-free, and accessible to all. It is the only national organization providing travel and other practical support for abortion access, and the only one that specializes in long-distance travel, the need for which is increasing. Most clients are forced to travel more than 1,000 miles and have travel costs of at least $1,000. Together, the Alliance and its partners are filling critical gaps making abortion possible for Americans from every state. Its resources are stretched thin and face surging demand in the wake of the overturn of Roe.
The Brigid Alliance is part of an ecosystem of support organizations propping up abortion care access in this country. Unlike many of their partners, the Brigid Alliance employs full-time paid staff led by clinical social workers; this allows a level of dependable, responsive, and holistic support that would not be possible otherwise. Client coordinators have the training and resources needed to handle the more complex cases that are often sent to the Alliance.
For more information about The Brigid Alliance, visit: https://brigidalliance.org/about/
If you wish to send a full donation directly to the Brigid Alliance, please make your check to The Brigid Alliance and write in the memo line “Outreach Nov 2023” or visit their website at: https://brigidalliance.org/donate/
October 2023: Immigrant Legal Defense Center
The October recipient for our Outreach Offering, celebrating Immigration Justice, is the Immigrant Legal Defense Center of Santa Barbara.
ILDC’s Mission is to provide equal access to justice and due process to indigent immigrants so that no one should face immigration court alone.
ILDC envisions a society where ALL people are treated equally and with dignity no matter their circumstances.
Immigrants in immigration court do not have a right to government-appointed counsel. The lack of legal representation has a profound impact on immigrants’ outcomes in removal proceedings. ILDC promotes equal access to justice and due process by providing pro bono legal services to indigent immigrants in the Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties area with the following services:
- ILDC provides representation to immigrant people in detention who are seeking release through bond.
- ILDC offers legal services to asylum-seekers that may be eligible to obtain relief on humanitarian grounds, such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Individuals who have been persecuted or have a credible fear of persecution and are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of their country of origin can apply for asylum protection from the U.S. government.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is available to unaccompanied immigrant children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned; who cannot be reunified with one or both parents; and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest.
- ILDC conducts Know Your Rights (KYR) presentations so that immigrants are informed of their rights should they encounter Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- ILDC hosts community clinics to screen individuals for immigration relief, assess their criminal record, and determine whether they have a final order of deportation.
“At this time, other than the ILDC, no non-profit organization in Santa Barbara County is dedicated to representing immigrants in removal proceedings (bond or full defense). The lack of legal service providers in the Santa Barbara County area, forces detained immigrants to remain in prolonged detention without access to legal counsel, resort to the use of fraudulent immigration attorneys and “notaries,” or to eventually be deported to their country of origin regardless of the merit of their case.” -From: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/32-0549576
ILDC has had an ongoing association with USSB including the Singing for Asylum fundraising concert in September 2019, the Local Heroes 2022 nomination of ILDC Executive Director Julissa Peña, as well as extremely helpful ongoing consultations on behalf of our Stockton asylum family.
ILDC is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit agency. Find out more at their website: https://www.sbimmigrantdefense.org/
September 2023: The League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara
The League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization working to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in our democracy. The League empowers voters and defends democracy through advocacy, education, and litigation, at the local, state, and national levels. The Santa Barbara League was founded in 1938, just 18 years after women received the right to vote. Over the years and in the present day, the local League has counted among its members and leadership many community advocates and leaders, including many members of our own congregation.
Acknowledging that the suffrage movement did not include all — women and men of color were excluded — League volunteers work furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion in issues of local importance, such as housing, the environment, and criminal justice reform. LWVSB often collaborates with other community organizations on issues of mutual concern.
At all levels, the League is committed to “Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy.” In election years, LWVSB’s voter service teams are involved in registering new voters and efforts to get out the vote. They help inform voters about candidates and ballot measures by organizing forums, distributing Easy Voter Guides prepared by the State League, and collecting election information for our monthly newsletter, the Channel Voter.
The Santa Barbara League is a 501(c)(3), all-volunteer organization with membership open to everyone age 16 and older. A statement from the National League explains their mission: “We envision a democracy where every person has the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate. We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy.”
More information at the website: https://lwvsantabarbara.org, or see USSB members and League Membership Team members Joanie Jones and Gail Fairburn.
August 2023: Our Local LGBTQ Partners
The August Outreach Offering supports our local LGBTQ partners, including Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF), Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN). These organizations provide services and advocacy for the gay and transgender community, which come at a time of great need in our local and wider communities.
PACIFIC PRIDE FOUNDATION (PPF)
The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara has had a longstanding relationship with the Pacific Pride Foundation. We turn to PPF for resources and education as we seek to develop our understanding of the current needs of the LGBTQ community. Our own spiritual journey is enriched by our work with Pacific Pride, and we have stood with PPF in the public square to advocate for justice and celebrate our progress! pacificpridefoundation.org
PARENTS AND FRIENDS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS (PFLAG)
PFLAG describes itself as “the extended family of the LGBTQ community.” Its membership consists of LGBTQ individuals and their family members, friends and allies. PFLAG provides peer-to-peer support, publications, tool kits, and other resources to support LGBTQ family members. This allows families to further support, affirm, and advocate on behalf of their LGBTQ loved ones. www.pflagsantabarbara.org
SANTA BARBARA TRANSGENDER ADVOCACY NETWORK (SBTAN)
SBTAN educates individuals and organizations on best practices for transgender & gender expansive clients, patients, students, congregants and families. SBTAN creates and develops spaces, actions, and policies that advance the welfare of transgender and diverse gender non-conforming individuals, their families, and allies in California’s Central Coast communities. SBTAN has provided training to workplaces, schools, medical providers and social service agencies, including Cottage Health Emergency, UCSB Faculty and staff, and Santa Barbara public and private high schools. www.sbtan.org
July 2023: Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California (UUJMCA)
The Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California (UUJMCA) seeks to develop skills of civic engagement and faith-rooted organizing so that UUs across California can educate, organize, and advocate for public policies that advance justice in our state, reflecting their UU purposes and principles. UUJMCA creates collaborative justice by connecting and using the powerful network of UUs in California through accountable relationships with our coalition partners to achieve the following organizing reality:
- California UUs have access to and participate in statewide justice education, advocacy, and witness that deepens their faith and changes life for the better in California
- California UU justice leaders are trained, effective, inspiring and connected
- California UU congregations have strong justice ministries
- California policy-makers and justice leaders value UUJMCA as a visible, credible partner in advancing justice in our state.
UUJMCA justice initiatives include, but are not limited to:
- Environmental Justice
- Economic Justice
- Healthcare Access
- Immigrant Justice
- Queer Rights
- Racial Justice
- Voting Rights
- Women’s Rights
Visit https://uujmca.org/ for more information, including opportunities to get involved. And please give generously this month; contributions to the UUJMCA directly support UU faith in action.
June 2023: Showers of Blessing
The June Outreach Offering recipient is Showers of Blessing Santa Barbara. Showers of Blessing provides free hot showers, fosters compassionate hygienic care, and offers access to critical services for people experiencing homelessness. Every week, Showers of Blessing drives a shower trailer to five established sites in Santa Barbara and Goleta. With each shower, their guests receive a freshly laundered towel and washcloth, a pair of new cotton socks, a pair of new underwear, hygiene items, and limited emergency clothing. Showers of Blessing also offers guests companionship, conversation, and contact with other homeless service providers. Their services are entirely free and access is unconditional to all people who are without a house or are in temporary or unstable housing.
For more information about Showers of Blessing, including how to volunteer, please visit http://showersofblessingsb.org or talk to Sally Hamilton.
May 2023: Santa Barbara Audubon Society
For over 50 years our Santa Barbara Audubon Society (SBAS) has been protecting area bird life and habitat, and connecting people with birds through education, conservation, and science. Education initiatives include Eyes in the Sky, a community education outreach program that presents five native birds of prey, rehabilitated from injuries, to children and adults throughout the greater Santa Barbara area. The birds’ unique stories of survival educate about the impact of human actions on wildlife. Eyes in the Sky presents programs in classrooms, camps, after-school programs, retirement communities, and at community events.
The SBAS Conservation/Science Committee acts locally to advocate for strong protections for birds and bird habitat, with an emphasis on riparian areas and regional open spaces. They meet with local officials and provide expert knowledge, thorough analysis and public comment, and community outreach to protect Santa Barbara area bird life. Other community science initiatives include the Breeding Bird Study and nest box monitoring. SBAS also offers bird walks and field trips, monthly evening programs, and the opportunity to contribute to research through the annual Christmas Bird Count. For children, they offer an annual Winter Bird Count for Kids.
If you are interested in learning more about the importance of birds, please watch their two short films, Why Are Birds Important? and How to Start Birding at www.santabarbaraaudubon.org/learning-resources.
To learn more about Santa Barbara Audubon Society, including how to get involved, go to www.SantaBarbaraAudubon.org or talk to USSB member Kathleen Boehm.
April 2023: Santa Barbara Alternatives to Violence Project (SBAVP)
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) began 50 years ago after the Attica Prison uprising, when a group of inmates reached out to Quaker volunteers to help design a program that would give them nonviolence skills. Since then, it has become an international movement whose guiding philosophy is that there is a power for peace and good in everyone, and that this power has the ability to transform violence. AVP builds on a spiritual base of caring for self and others, in prisons and in the wider community. The Santa Barbara AVP is a multicultural volunteer organization that teaches conflict management skills to teens referred by the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Experiential workshops introduce skills and resources to deal with the environment in positive healthy ways, empowering individuals to liberate themselves from the burden of violence. During the pandemic, AVP transitioned to outdoor workshops and also kept in touch with workshop graduates, helping them access resources like food, housing, and jobs. Since 2018, SBAVP graduates have been involved in substantially fewer fights, violence, office referrals, and truancy. To learn more about the Santa Barbara Alternatives to Violence Project, including how you volunteer, please visit www.sbavp.org or speak with USSB member Donnis Galvan.
March 2023: Hunt for Justice
Each year, we make our traditional Easter egg hunt, The Hunt for Justice, a “faith in action” family project. Our Outreach Offering for March will collect money to fund three local organizations selected by our children. Children will vote for their favorite charities before the hunt, which takes place on Easter Sunday, April 9. Children will be able to donate different amounts of money to the charities of their choice, based on how many eggs they find.
Parents, you are encouraged have a conversation with your children about causes they care about and where they would like to donate the money collected by our congregation for the Hunt.
If you would like to donate to this fund, please make out your check to USSB and write “Hunt for Justice” in the memo line. Or visit ussb.org/give to donate online.
February 2023: Beloved Conversations
This month’s Outreach Offering will support Beloved Conversations, a program for Unitarian Universalists seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. Originally commissioned by a congregation in need of resources to hold its members in covenant as they learned how race and ethnicity shape their spiritual and social lives, Beloved Conversations is offered by the Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School and has served more than 250 congregations across the continent.
In 2019, the first group of board of trustees, staff, and lay leaders of the Unitarian Society participated in Beloved Conversations, which used a small group ministry format. Participation has continued through 2022, using Beloved Conversations Virtual — a four-part, fully online program offering opportunities for individual, self-paced learning; relationship building in small groups; and large group worship and fellowship. USSB continues toward the goal of having all board members, staff, and lay leaders complete the curriculum, which is available to anyone who is interested.
The initial stage is currently named Beloved Conversations: Within. More information is available at the Meadville Lombard website: http://meadville.edu/beloved (where you will find a button for more information about Within and FAQs). Additional information will appear in upcoming weekly news emails.
January 2023: Sumi Nungwa
“Sumi nungwa” is a Hopi phrase meaning “to come together to help and benefit one another with no expectation of reward.” Sumi Nungwa’s core mission is to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and firewood to Navajo and Hopi elders seeking to maintain their traditional lifestyle on their reservations in Northern Arizona. The organization also encourages Hopi and Navajo artists to continue to produce their traditional arts and crafts, as well as hosting service projects like the ones USSB has been part of in past years and hopes to return to this spring.
Service projects have involved roofing hogans and homes, cleaning up and recycling trash, building traditional stone bread ovens, and taking on other projects for the elders and their families. More importantly, Sumi Nungwa observes, “[Visitors] have learned about the Hopi and Navajo cultures and spent time with the people. Interacting with the Native people is as important as learning to fix a roof.”
Let’s come together in generosity to support our elder Hopi and Navajo neighbors. For more information about Sumi Nungwa, please visit www.suminungwa.org.
December 2022: The Freedom Warming Centers
The Freedom Warming Centers (FWC), were inspired by, and named for, a Santa Barbara resident known by the name of “Freedom” who died on our streets after being exposed to cold and wet winter weather. The program was born as an effort to reduce or eliminate the chances of anyone dying from winter conditions in Santa Barbara County. USSB is one of a number of faith community partners that help support the program.
The Warming Centers are a low-barrier service providing shelter and a hot meal to all in need of sanctuary on cold nights. The program serves individuals across 12 sites in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Carpinteria, Isla Vista, and Lompoc. Guests can arrive at any hour of the evening, between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and pets are welcome. The Freedom Warming Centers can be a gateway for homeless individuals seeking recovery and/or housing services and other resources. Individuals who access Warming Center service have fewer emergency room visits and are less likely to be housed in jails. When activated countywide, the Freedom Warming Centers serve approximately 200 individuals a night.
Rev Julia and our staff will draw on donations to bolster our congregational support of the dinners our Warming Center teams serve, and to the larger work of the Warming Centers in the community. Please give as generously as you can.
For more information, visit ussb.org/justice/fwc.
November 2022: Refugees and Immigration Justice
Our November Outreach Offering will be shared with various refugee and immigration justice projects. Needs remain high. Members of our USSB Justice and Equity team continue to partner with other individuals and organizations both locally and across the state to do what we can. With your financial help, we will be able to do more.
Another border crossing trip is scheduled for January 2023. So far, most of our projects have aimed at filling immediate needs: food and supplies, children’s books and art materials, and wading pools to ease the heat in the La Cobina shelter in Mexicali. We are now turning our attention to support ongoing, longer-term projects the residents want and need, such as:
- Materials and teachers for ESL classes at the La Cobina shelter in Mexicali;
- Legal representation for asylum-seekers who are able to cross the border and secure court dates need legal support.
Statistics and tracking show that those with legal representation overwhelmingly receive better outcomes than those who do not have that support.
The Justice and Equity team, together with Rev Julia, will draw on the donations we receive to help support these and other projects as we are able. If you wish to contribute directly, please address your check to USSB with “Border Support 2022-23” in the memo line. To donate online, go to www.ussb.org/give. Please give as generously as you can.
October 2022: UUA Disaster Relief Fund
Disasters impact our congregations and their communities with increasing rapidity. From natural disasters like wildfires that scorch everything in their path and hurricanes that bring destruction through winds and water, to human caused disasters like the collapsing infrastructure that we’ve seen in Flint, our congregations, our people, and our communities sustain the impact. Your donation to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund allows the UUA to respond flexibly on your behalf to tragedies that overtake us.
With your donations, we are able to provide assistance to congregations, their members, and their communities. Some of the expenses Disaster Relief Fund grants can be used for are:
- Damage to congregations’ buildings, and relocation to temporary locations
- Damage to members/friends homes, and relocation expenses
- Donations to local partner organizations that serve the community at large, particularly those who would not be eligible for other funding
For more information, visit the UUA website.