25 Things–from the UUA Washington Office

Surely by now you’ve heard of the “25 Things” trend circulating on Facebook. We wrote one for the UUA Washington Office on our Advocacy & Witness Initiatives of the UUA Facebook profile, and decided to share it here for those of you aren’t on Facebook.

  1. Our acting director, Adam, begins emails to office staff with the phrase, “Dear Friends of Justice.”
  2. On Adam’s first day as Acting Director, Lisa, Grace, and Alex stayed up all night filling his office with balloons.
  3. The Washington Office for Advocacy is the largest UUA office located outside of Boston.
  4. We drink two pots of fair trade coffee every day!!!!!!!
  5. Over 4,500 people subscribe to our weekly Advocacy Newsletter, which keeps folks updated on federal legislation and other opportunities for action.
  6. After the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church this past fall, we folded dozens of paper cranes and mailed them to the affected congregations.
  7. Some of the resources we’ve put out in the past year include Lisa’s Welcoming Our Neighbors: An Immigration Resource for Unitarian Universalists and Alex’s Unitarian Universalists and Islam: An Introduction to Interfaith Dialogue and Reading Group Guide.
  8. Our director, Rob Keithan, is currently doing a ministerial internship at First UU Church of Portland, but will return in June to be our fearless leader again. Rob’s other religion is beer.
  9. The Washington Office is located at 666 11th St. Sadly, the new building owners have decided to change our address to 1100 G Street, so we’ll no longer have the “Mark of the Beast” as a conversation piece.
  10. We have fourteen legislative objectives for the 111th Congress.
  11. To avoid implying rank of importance in lists, we alphabetize. That’s why we say “BGLT” instead of “GLBT” or “LGBT.”
  12. The Washington Office is part of the Advocacy & Witness (A&W) staff group, directed by Rev. Meg Riley. Meg’s other religion is gardening.
  13. We begin each A&W staff meeting with a quirky question to determine the order of the agenda. For example, what’s your favorite cartoon? Kat’s is the Power Puff Girls.
  14. Along with Congregational Advocacy & Witness, we maintain the Social Justice pages of the UUA website.
  15. We set aside time at every A&W staff meeting to celebrate the successes of the past week, from press conferences to lobby visits to a good tomato harvest in our gardens at home.
  16. Lisa bakes vegan muffins for her Interfaith Immigration Coalition meetings and they are delicious.
  17. Our annual Sexuality, Education, and Advocacy Training (SEAT) program is in its fifth year of bringing Unitarian Universalists, United Church of Christ members, and Reform Jews from across the country to lobby for comprehensive sexuality education.
  18. While Alex is a life-long Unitarian Universalist, he’s been deeply influenced by his Quaker college, Earlham, and is our resident “listener.” His other religion is burritos.
  19. Our staff blog Inspired Faith, Effective Action got the most traffic when we covered the Compassion Forum last fall and the Inauguration last month.
  20. The Washington Office uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper for our daily printing needs.
  21. The newest member of our office, Orelia, recently returned from two years of Peace Corps service in Burkina Faso.
  22. Every Wednesday morning, our office members meet for Theological Reflection (TR) with our office minister, Alida DeCoster, to help keep our work always grounded in our faith. On the Wednesday following the presidential election, we held TR outside the White House.
  23. Our current Action of the Month for February is Speak Up for BGLT Equality.
  24. All members of the Washington Office walk, bike or take public transportation to and from work.
  25. The Washington Office shares space with Taquiena Boston, the director of the UUA’s Identity-Based Ministries (IDBM), and will share a booth with IDBM at General Assembly. Come by and visit us!

UUA’s Advocacy & Witness is now on facebook.

While all UUA staff (and most UUs) are committed to helping to build a more just and equitable world, it is the express purpose of the Advocacy & Witness staff group to take Unitarian Universalist values out into the broader world – to advocate for issues that are important to UUs, to represent Unitarian Universalist values, and to empower UU congregations and individuals to do the same. This staff blog, Inspired Faith, Effective Action, is part of our efforts to communicate information to you in more timely and diverse ways. (We’ve been going for over a year now!) In addition, we maintain the social justice pages of uua.org, where you can find important dates, resources, and suggested actions, as well as several email lists. However, even though we ask for feedback, most of this communication is one-way.

This week, we are pleased to announce that the Advocacy & Witness staff group is now on facebook. Find us under Advocacy & Witness Initiatives of the Unitarian Universalist Association. From this page, you can read our blog, see other announcements including events, and view photos and videos. But more than that, facebook allows you to communicate with Advocacy & Witness and with other UUs engaged in social justice by leaving messages on the “Wall,” starting “Discussions,” and sharing photos of your social justice actions. Please join us on facebook, become a “fan,” invite other UUs engaged in social justice work to become fans, and share your work with Unitarian Universalists across the continent (and world).