UUCLB History of Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppression Work
- Church hosted series of Black-White Discussion Groups in response to the racial conflicts of the late 1960s.
- Became a Sanctuary Church in the 1980s, sheltering a Guatemalan family for a half of a year. The father had opposed the militia in his town, and he fled their home country with his family fearing for their lives.
- Starting in 1990s, church participated in UUA-sponsored Journey Toward Wholeness Sunday. Special collection was split with two-thirds going to local anti-racism work and one-third going to the Whitney M. Young Jr. Urban Ministry Fund to develop and strengthen the Unitarian Universalist presence in the city. Whitney Young, civil rights activist and UU, was a founder of the Urban League and served on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Annual JTW Sundays every February, with special collection, continued into the next millennium.
- Hosted an Intercultural Dialogue Program [March 1994], developed by the Rev. Ken Brown in response to the Los Angeles Riots/Civil Uprising following acquittal of police officers who beat Rodney King.
- Formed Accessibilities Committee [mid-1990s] and continuing for several years.
- Hosted district conference on disability [March 1997]
- Held public forum challenging California Proposition 187 (insultingly-named the Save Our State (SOS) initiative)  that would have established a state-run citizenship screening system to deny access to public health care, education and other service for undocumented immigrants. Proposition 187 passed but was ruled unconstitutional by federal court.
- Formed the Anti-Racism Task Force [February 1997] to respond to the 1996 General Assembly’s resolution requesting that congregations engage in a one-year reflection and action process around anti-racism.
- Presented a worship service on April 13, 1997 entitled “The Journey Toward Wholeness”
- Presented the UUA Journey Toward Wholeness workshop, event known as Jubilee I [April 18-19, 26, 1997].
- Prepared the “Resolution to Become an Anti-Racist Institution.”
- Large group representing church, led by Rev. Marguerite Lovett, marched in Long Beach’s Martin Luther King Day parade [February 1998] and attended festival. Church continues to participate with some interruptions into the present.
- Welcoming Congregation [1997-1999]
- Welcoming Congregation is a UUA certification program designed for congregations wishing to be welcoming and inclusive of LGBT community
- Established by UUCLB Board on April 14, 1997. members included Denise Allen (chair), Barbara Atlas, Diana Braun, Jeni Rodriguez, Valerie Wilson, and Lee Wright
- Worship services and forums were organized, presented and hosted by Welcoming Congregation steering committee
- Films were screened followed by facilitated discussion
- Culminated in congregational vote to be a Welcoming Congregation [April 25, 1999] and recognition by the UUA [May 17, 1999].
- Rainbow flag in chancel is in recognition of church being a Welcoming Congregation.
- Confronting Racism Task Force [1998-2003]
- Organized various all-church events
- Held film screening on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday nights
- Organized and hosted a second Jubilee I [November 1999]. Presenters were members of UUA JTW staff.
- Held a church-wide convocation [September 2001] on anti-racism
- Self-selected delegation of church members traveled to Journey Toward Wholeness conference at First UU Church San Diego [January 2002], organized by Pacific Southwest District Anti-Racism Committee
- Members of committee included Marti Evans, Sandy Kroll, Ginny Monahan, and JoRae Zuckerman
- Founding member of Greater Long Beach – Interfaith Community Organization [1999-present]
- Partnership that draws on the diverse population of our community, including congregations that are predominantly African American, Latino/a, Cambodian and Samoan.
- Major accomplishment was creation of first year-round homeless shelter in Long Beach – official General Assembly service project. Project Achieve opened in 2004. Continue to serve as Guest Chefs four-to-five times a year.
- Voted at January 2000 special congregational meeting and worked to opposed California Proposition 22 that made marriage between same sex couples unlawful, until law was ruled unconstitutional in 2008.
- Anti-Racism Transformation Team [2003-2010]
- Anti-Racism Design Team selected original members of ARTT: Denise Allen, Shellynne Allen, Diana Braun, Jessica Castro, Paula Castro, Sarah Castro, Matthew McHale, Jeni Rodriguez, Michael Sallwasser, Elmer Taylor, and Pamela Wood-Browne
- UUCLB ARTT organized and participated in Jubilee II – weekend training seminar at church. At least three other congregations in Pacific Southwest District had between one and four members attending the training.
- Instrumental in AR/AO language in current church mission statement 
To create a welcoming and diverse community rooted in love, trust and freedom;
To lead by creating a multi-cultural, anti-racist, anti-oppressive congregation and denomination;
To take these ideals to the wider community in action and in service;
To inspire and encourage each other in our spiritual journeys;
To share our values with the next generation and empower them to create a better world
- Led worship multiple services on inclusion and cultural appropriation
- Provided AR/AO small group training for Board, Worship, Music and Arts, and Religious Education committees, and staff
- Provided AR/AO activities for church leadership at a Town Hall Council
- Compiled 64-page JTW & Anti-Racism Team Handbook that is given to new ARTT members and has been shared with other congregation ARTTs
- Prepared materials for Small Group Ministry that were used by all SGM groups in church
- Instituted practice of (L)DRE regularly evaluating Religious Education curriculum with AR/AO lens and incorporating AR/AO analysis into teacher training.
- Conducted and presented two annual AR/AO Church Audits
- Developed (with others) an event in response to presidential candidate Barack Obama’s speech on race (our workshop design was subsequently distributed by UUA)
- Hosted third Jubilee I. Many congregations were represented with half of participants from UUCLB.
- Created independent task group to consider Diversity of Ministry Initiative
- Established the Jack and Helen Graham Social Justice Award [September 1, 2005]
- The Social Justice Award is named after Jack and Helen Graham, to honor their decades of work toward creating a more just, equitable and compassionate world. Longtime members of the church, Jack and Helen (who died the day after the award was established) worked tirelessly for social justice with many years of serving on the Social Action Committee. Both Jack and Helen’s commitment was informed by the first principle, “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and even today, Jack continues the work through service on the Anti-Racism Transformation Team [language used in 2008 to present award]
- Three days before the award was established, Michael Sallwasser visited Helen at the hospice-care facility and shared his proposal for the award, noting that she and Jack would be the first recipients.
- Award Criteria:
- This annual award shall be given to a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach who has contributed sustained time and effort to the cause of social justice.
- The basis of the award shall be volunteer work within the church and the larger community that is performed in the name of the church.
- Special consideration shall be given for inspiring members of the church to the cause of social justice by direct encouragement or public witness.
- Special consideration shall be given for not only healing those wounded by injustice but also to ending injustice itself.
- Award is given annually to church members who are continuing work that Jack and Helen were so devoted to.
- Hosted public viewing of “The Bible Tells Me So” in Wylder Hall – an exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community. (event was co-sponsored by ARTT)
- UUCLB’s Sanctuary task group  organized vigils supporting Ileana “Sanctuario,” who was facing deportation despite having a US-citizen husband and three US-born children. Minutemen counter-protesters demonstrated across the street yelling ugly and racist epithets.
- Norma Chinchilla and Mario Salgado organized the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition and church courageously agreed to be the Financial Sponsor 
- Congregation voted to take the Sanctuary Movement Pledge [May 2007] which include a commitment to 1) take a public, moral stand for immigrants’ rights; 2) educate members and advocate in larger community on issue; 3) join other faith communities in campaigns to reduce hate, workplace discrimination, and unjust deportation of immigrants.
- Recently-formed UUCLB’s Immigration Task Force organized UUCLB / Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization Joint Fundraiser [November 9, 2007] featured speakers were actor, film producer and director, John Carlos Frey and Executive Director of CLUE, Alexia Salvaterra.
- Opposed California Proposition 8  that changed constitution to explicitly bar recognition of marriages between same sex couples.
- Organizational meetings involving several dozen church members plan events and actions
- Sponsored numerous public witness events
- Presented two worship services
- Organized and facilitated phone banks.
- Printed and hung 5’ x 8’ marriage equality banner at entrance to church parking lot
- Co-sponsored local Let’s Get Engaged  event in support of marriage equality
- Intern Minister, Denis Paul, hosted three Street Retreats [2008-2009]
- Participants spent the day on the streets of Long Beach visiting venues and areas where Long Beach homeless receive services and gather.
- Day concluded with shared meal at church and debriefing on experience
- Third retreat was in San Francisco with youth and chaperons.
- Seven members of congregation traveled to San Jose to attend UUA-sponsored Now Is the Time anti-racism justice weekend conference 
- A Night of Latin American Music [December 5, 2008] a co-sponsored fundraiser with Long Beach Immigrant Right Coalition to increase awareness about circumstances facing undocumented students at CSULB and raise funds for Future Under-Represented Educational Leader (FUEL). Featured Peruvian folk dancing, Latin jazz, and Bolivian folk music.
- Diversity of Ministry Initiative [2009–2010]
- November 2009 – Self-selected group of church members, Marti Evan, Lee Kimura, Matthew McHale, Edie Mickey Silveria, Debbie Rodriguez, Michael Sallwasser and Elmer Taylor formed a DOMI Working group, spun off from ARTT members.
- February 2010 – Invited Rev. Dr. Mark Hicks to meet with interested church members to discuss DOMI
- March 2010 – Held multiple cottage conversations on “Building the Capacity to be a Vibrant, Prophetic Multicultural Congregation,” a curriculum designed by Mark Hick. Held in members’ homes, the conversations were among eight people with two facilitators. Participation was very high (one-third of all members)
- May 2010 – Vote on DOMI – Final vote tally was three votes shy of the two-thirds threshold that had been set by congregation.
- Church hosted Allies for Racial Equity national conference [March 2010].
- New Orleans Rebuild [July 2010]
- New Orleans cuisine Fundraising Dinner organized by Desiree Kannel
- Nineteen members and friends of UUCLB traveled to New Orleans to spend one week working to rebuild from devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Group included adults and youth – Olivia Coleman, Woodrow Coleman, Deirdre Gorospe, Ray Gorospe, Michelle Gutierrez, Kamilah Holmes, Einer Lorentzen, Grace Lorentzen, Matthew McHale, Maureen McHale, Edie Mickey-Silveria, Brendan Patterson, Carol Quinlan, Emily Rubin, Michael Sallwasser, Elmer Taylor, Amelia Toth, Jackie Vance and Lou Anne.
- Presented worship service on the lessons from our national (lack of) response to Hurricane Katrina.
- BorderLinks [March 2011]
- Group of UUCLB members and friends traveled to Arizona and Mexico to learn firsthand about condition at the US-Mexico border related to immigration. Norma Chinchilla (organizer), Gehl Davis, Bill Gilman, Lena Hernandez, Sandy Kroll, Maureen McHale, Carol Quinlan, and Michael Sallwasser spent a weeklong experiential learning event organized by BorderLinks.
- Organized Sunday worship at UUCLB based on experiences at the border and presented the same worship service as part of a Pacific Southwest District Assembly workshop.
- Alicia Davis and Connie Davis-Huegel attended BorderLinks in March 2012.
- BorderLinks attendees were the prime movers in preparing and organizing UUCLB participation in Justice GA.
- Transgender Awareness [November 2011], a minister’s task force, convened by Rev. Mitra Rahnema, organized and presented a weekend of events:
- Dinner followed by panel discussion DLRE Leslie Koons and others, on talking with children about transgender identity.
- Film, “Switch: A Community in Transition” followed by Q & A with Portland filmmaker and activist, Brooks Nelson
- Sharing Our Stories Panel led by Leslie Koons
- Readers’ theater play “We are All Welcome Here” written by Jeannie LaFrance and directed by Sandy Kroll with choral accompaniment
- Preparation for and Attendance at Justice General Assembly in Phoenix AZ 
- New Year’s Day banquet was first fund raiser and kick-off event to support and encourage UUCLB members and friends to attend Justice GA.
- All-Church Prom – dinner, music, entertainment, photo booth, games and activities to build multi-cultural awareness and continue to raise funds for Justice GA scholarships.
- UUCLB members participated in Celebrating the Diversity of Community, an interfaith service [April 29, 2012] at First Congregational Church. Keynote speaker was Imam Shakeel Fyed of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.
- Educational forums to prepare General Assembly attendees
- UUA Common Read of “The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands”
- Forty-nine members, friends and youth attended Justice General Assembly, nearly all of them receiving scholarships to defray costs. [June 2012]
- General Assembly attendees met after GA to create strategies to continue work started in Phoenix
- Members, as a program of the church, volunteered for weekly One-to-One Conversation with ESL Learners [Fall 2012] wanting to improve their English fluency – and make person-to-person connections.
- Created the Dreamers Scholarship program, spearheaded by Cynthia Case. Church raises money for educational scholarship for college-bound student, who are undocumented. [2012-present]. Scholarships are presented annually.
- Reproductive Rights  Saturday workshop and Sunday worship with Moira Bowman, Deputy Director of Forward Together – a multi-racial organization that works with community leaders and organizations to transform culture and policy to catalyze social change.
- Organized letter writing campaign to send Keep Families Together Valentines [February 2013] to officeholders urging them to reform immigration laws that separate family members through aggressive deportation practices.
- Standing on the Side of Love  awarded UUCLB and LBIRC a grant to hire an ESL instructor and a Dreamer to work as a community organizer, plus creation of slide show illustrating parallels between struggle for LGBT Rights and Immigrant Right, and the advantage of alliances.
- People of Color affinity group formed [2013–2016]
- Harbour Area Halfway House received $10,000 grant from UUCLB at part of our 100-year anniversary celebration 
- Minister’s task force, surveyed congregation and evaluated several local organizations before making final selection
- HAHH is a transitional resident home for women (primarily women of color) leaving prison
- Created partnership between UUCLB and HAHH to improve the quality of the lives of the women at HAHH. [March 2015-2016]
- Forty-six people from our congregation participated in the 29th Annual Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade [May 20, 2013]
- Public witness and protest of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls and the ineffectual international response. [May 11, 2014]
- “The New Jim Crow” Study Groups  led by Phyllis Daniel and Grace Lorentzen met over a few weeks to read and discuss Michelle Alexander’s book.
- Interfaith Protest of Eric Garner’s Death from police chokehold. Public witness event involved several Long Beach congregations and their faith leaders, headed by Rev. Mitra Rahnema. Protest was specifically about the death of Eric Garner (“I Can’t Breathe”), but also the disproportionate number of Black men who are killed by police every year.
- Annual Christmas Appeal [December 2014] raised $3000, along with matching funds so LBIRC hired a full-time organizer to applicants to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
- Support for California Proposition 47 – Sentencing Reform [2014-2016]
- LBICO sponsored all-day conference at church – co-sponsored by “All of Us or None of Us”
- Signed up people to pledge to make phone calls to voters urging passage
- Canvassed door-to-door encouraging voters to support Prop 47.
- Organized (with LBICO) monthly Prop 47 Clinic to assist eligible people in filling out paperwork to remove charges from criminal record.
- Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Team [September 2015- October 2017]
- Pursue certification through new program of UUA and Equual Access.
- Transform congregation to be more accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities
- Conducted Inclusion and Accessibility Assessment, interviewing church leaders and members of congregation
- Organized Worship Service on disability with three members of UUCLB sharing their experiences with disability.
- Racial Justice Strategic Planning Group [September 2015-present] – a minister’s task force, convened by Rev. Mitra Rahnema, which reconfigured as Racial Justice Team
- Support for Black Lives Matter locally and nationally
- Identify and confront racism in the congregation and community
- Created worship service and community forum [November 22, 2015]
- Congregation unanimously adopted “Resolution in Support of Black Lives Matter Movement” [May 1, 2016]
- Organized Ad hoc Congregational Speak-out and Reflection in wake of the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile [July 10, 2016]
- Co-hosted Faith Community Forum with BLM-Long Beach that attracted 40 clergy and lay faith leaders from Long Beach area [August 4, 2016]
- Unfurled Black Lives Matter banner (with Black Trans Lives Matter inset) before gathered members of neighboring faith communities and congregation. [August 21, 2016] Vinyl banner was stolen just days before it was scheduled to be displayed (it was furled at the time), and a temporary was paper banner was created.
- Minister and congregants spoke at Policing and Human Relations Hearing conducted by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations [December 3, 2016]
- Joined March in support of Islamic Center [December 17, 2016]
- Organized major contingents to participated in March for Women in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles [January 21, 2017] and hosted a post-event Forum / Panel of participants at church
- Hosted Environmental Racism Forum open to the community and attended by 100 members of the community and the congregation. [January 26, 2017]
- Hosted White Supremacy Teach-In in response to request by Black Lives of UU [June 11, 2017]
- Participated in launch of Long Beach Sacred Resistance – an Interfaith Coalition [July 2017]
- Hosted Race and Racism Workshop presented by Celia Young [May 5, 2018]
- Members of UUCLB attend and speak at civic events to find answers in unsolved hate crime, Murder of Fred Taft in Long Beach [July/August 2018]
- Hosted Community event to Reform Los Angeles County Jails [October 4. 2018]
- Black Lives Matter Banner was re-dedicated, and congregation re-committed our support for Black Lives [November 18, 2018]
- Congregation agrees to create All Gender Restroom to be accommodating, but equally important to proclaim our values of inclusion and welcome. [Mar 28, 2019]
- Arranged Deepening Racial Justice Workshop, presented by California Council for Equality and Justice [September 21, 2019]