The Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Social Justice is paramount for the Unitarian Universalist denomination. We have a tradition of “deeds not creeds.” Unitarian Universalists put our faith into action striving to improve the lives of others both in our country and around the world. The national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has defined the major issues of our time—racial, environmental, climate, and economic justice- that require action on a larger scale.
UUDAN joins twenty other UU State Advocacy Networks (SAN) which are combined in a national coalition. UUDAN’s role is to offer members and friends of the five Delaware Unitarian Universalist congregations the opportunity to join together as an advocacy organization. Our mission is to champion actions and policies at the local, state and national levels which express our Unitarian Universalist values.
Many Delaware organizations share our goals and objectives, and our mission includes building broad, effective coalitions to leverage the power of progressive forces in our state. Because Delaware is small, a committed group of advocates can make a big difference. Working together, we can impact public policy and programs to create a more just and equitable society.
Reverend Greg Pelly on Indifference to Racial Injustice
Community Issue Education
In spite of its democratic majorities, Delaware is a conservative state. Last session it was impossible to repeal the death penalty, and the legislature doubled down on expanding the three strikes law.
Delaware has the third highest rate of prison overcrowding in the nation, and the highest percentage of prisoners in solitary confinement. Delaware remains devoted to old fashioned law and order politics contributing to the eighth highest rate of violent crime in the nation. A significant percentage of Delaware legislators are retired police officers. Given the current make-up of the Delaware legislature, the potential for reform is limited.
UUDAN cannot limit its advocacy activity to our five congregations with our members concentrated in upper New Castle County. Legislators in this area supported repeal of the death penalty and are generally open to reform bills. Our legislative proposals fail because of conservative legislators in other areas of the state.
The swing districts are in lower New Castle County with mid-level Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) scores. If we want to achieve reform in Delaware, we need to build support for reform issues in those districts.
We should establish relationships with churches and other community organizations in these nearby areas. We should mount sustained campaigns to gather letters and petitions along with the emails of supportive voters from the swing districts. This activity should be undertaken in the spirit of education and relationship building.