Our Social Action and Community Service

Our Social Justice Teams – Opportunities to Engage in Service
Members of CUUC with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins at Justice March in White Plains, NY July 14, 2016  CUC rallies at the People's Climate March  CUC engages in the People's Climate March
Rally for Justice (left, with State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins), July 14, 2016, White Plains
“I was amazed at how two miles seemed to melt under my feet as I walked in the middle of a crowd chanting 'Justice, justice now!' How invigorating it was to be literally part of a movement, even in such a small way." ~ Mary L. C. 


Social Justice Teams - How will you engage in service?

Planned Parenthood Lobbying Day in Albany, NY - January 25 2016

The third part of CUUC's mission statement is to “engage in service to transform ourselves and our world.” Our goal is for each Member and Friend to participate on one team. This is an invitation, not an obligation, to be involved as you are able and as your time allows. Which Social Justice Team would you like to be a part of? They all address important issues, so look for one that resonates most powerfully with you. For general questions, contact one of the Social Justice Coordinators: Jeff Tomlinson (jefftomlinson8@gmail.com), Mary Cavallero (marycava4@gmail.com), Emily Economou (emily.economou@gmail.com), and Rev. Meredith Garmon (minister@cucwp.org). For team meeting dates, please check the weekly e-Communitarian newsletter or the CUUC events calendar.

Democracy Matters / UU the Vote

Our Democracy Matters/UU the Vote team partners on the state and local levels with organizations like Reclaim Our Vote, Common Cause, and Center for Common Ground, to work for fair elections, advance voting rights, promote reproductive justice, and resist the targeting and criminalization of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. Our activities include writing postcards and letters, and phonebanking to historically underserved voters, providing information about where and when they can vote. Contact Norm Handelman (yakman42@gmail.com).

Environmental Practices

The Environmental Practices Group (EPG) focuses on the environment and on educating our congregation on ways to “Reduce our Waste Stream.” The EPG has been teaching adults and youth in our congregation how to improve the recycling collection in our homes and in the CUUC building. We have held annual forums on food scrap recycling, energy sources and consumption, and eating to help our planet. We have also sponsored trips to food scrap and plastic and paper recycling sites to better understand what happens to their recycled items. We’ve worked with our youth to train them to become “Eco Experts.” We are exploring ways to begin participating in the UUA Green Sanctuary 2030 program. We continue to inform the congregation, via the e-Communitarian newsletter, about areas of environmental interest or concern. Contact: Janet Bear (jsbear1@gmail.com) or Charlie McNally (mcnally@pobox.com).

Hunger and Homelessness

The Hunger and Homelessness team focuses on projects to assist those in our county experiencing food insecurity and homelessness. In response to the tremendous need in the community resulting from these difficult times, our Meals for HOPE team of volunteers have been cooking and delivering prepared food trays to HOPE (Help Our People Eat) Community Services soup kitchen (hopecommunityservices.org) since April 2020. We also support local organizations such as Coachman Family Center (westhab.org/familyservices) and the Ecumenical Emergency Food Pantry. In the past we have donated toiletries, gloves, hats, and other necessities to Open Arms Men's Shelter and Samaritan House Women's Shelter (liftingupwestchester.org), and we have collected lamps and small furniture for Furniture Sharehouse (furnituresharehouse.org). New team members are always welcome! Contact: Nicole Turygin (nturygin@gmail.com).


Our UU Seven Principles remind us that each being has worth and dignity, and that worth includes our gender and our sexuality. The LGBTQIA Social Justice Team discusses Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual justice issues and the intersectionality with Racial Justice, Women's Issues, Hunger and Homelessness, and Economic Justice. In 2005, CUUC was certified as a "Welcoming Congregation" after completing programs to increase understanding and inclusiveness of LGBTQIA issues. In 2018, the LGBTQIA team successfully completed the work to renew CUUC’s Welcoming Congregation designation. In 2019, the team has sponsored presentations given by Tony Arrien, including "The Incomplete Guide to Trans and Non-Binary Identities" and "Gender Identity Trends, Intersectionality and Neurodiversity." The team has hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance Sunday service. The Gender Recognition Act, which our team made multiple visits to Albany to advocate for, went into effect on December 21, 2021. In addition to legislative visits we support other organizations such as The LOFT LGBT Community Center, PrideWorks, and GLSEN Lower Hudson Valley, and we send speakers to special LGBTQ educational events in the area. Allies are welcome to help the team with their efforts! Contact: Tony Arrien (arrien@optonline.net).

Racial Justice/In The Spirit of Truth

The Racial Justice Team focuses on actions we can take to combat racism and to support movements such as Black Lives Matter. In The Spirit of Truth (ITSOT) was formed to address issues of intolerance and explore ways of building acceptance for diversity in both our congregation and the local White Plains community. The team has sponsored presentations on Creating Safe Spaces for Interracial Worship, the Equal Justice Initiative Summit in Montgomery, the Doctrine of Discovery, and White Fragility, as well as CUUC's annual Juneteenth worship service. Team members have participated with various organizations and in workshops to combat racism and explore intercultural competence sensitivity. We have hosted discussions on books including as "Caste," "Breathe," and "Defund Fear," as well as the NY Times Magazine’s The 1619 Project addressing the lasting effects of slavery on our society. Individual members have participated in events at the Martin Luther King Institute for Nonviolence, the NAACP of Greenburg, and the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, and we maintain contacts with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and the Poor People's Campaign. Contact: Jeff Tomlinson (jefftomlinson8@gmail.com).

Refugee Resettlement

The mission of the Refugee Resettlement SJT is to assist in the resettlement of refugee families in Westchester County under the umbrella of ICNAW (Interfaith Council for New Americans of Westchester). Since 2017, we have helped to resettle five families. Overall, we have assisted 11 adults and 12 children, including two babies born here. We also work with Hearts & Homes for Refugees (HHR) and other organizations to support their work. Additionally, we engage in advocacy related to refugees, and inform our team and the wider CUUC community of issues, initiatives, and events related to refugees. If you would like to become involved in supporting refugee families, contact Jane Dixon (lilrhodie@gmail.com) or Robin Rocchi (robinandal@verizon.net).

More Ways You Can Serve the CUUC Community