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Members of the UU College of Social Justice in Boston (UUSC)

Justice journeys

The UU College of Social Justice offers experiential learning and social justice training programs.
By Michelle Bates Deakin
Spring 2014

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The UU College of Social Justice was created in 2012, a joint project of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the UU Service Committee. Its mission is to offer UUs ways to deepen their own justice work though experiential learning and social justice training grounded in UU values.

The College offers international service-learning trips to Haiti, India, and the northern and southern borders of Mexico. It also runs trips within the United States to Chicago, where travelers study restaurant-worker justice issues. The College offers programs for seminarians and for youth, including youth justice training programs in New Orleans and Boston and a civil rights pilgrimage in the southern United States.

In each location, the College partners with a local organization. In Haiti, the UUSC formed a partnership with the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) after the 2010 earthquake. The partnership was forged when Wendy Flick, then a consultant for the UUSC and now its Haiti program manager, flew to the Dominican Republic after the earthquake to try to find a way into Haiti to assist the devastated country. In Haiti, she was met by an MPP staff member with whom she had previously worked at another nonprofit. MPP was hosting hundreds of evacuees from Port-au-Prince, and Flick worked with MPP to identify how UUSC could assist, first immediately and then on an ongoing basis. The College’s “Haiti Just Recovery” journeys emerged from that growing relationship.

The College’s service-learning trips to India stem from the longstanding UU Holdeen India Program, which was established in 1984 after the UUA received a bequest to establish a program to aid the most impoverished people in India. The eleven-day trip lets visitors witness the work of the program’s partners in challenging gender discrimination and upholding women’s rights in India.

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of UU World (page 40). Photograph (above): The UU College of Social Justice offered a three-week National Youth Justice Training in Boston in 2013 (cc UUSC). See sidebar for links to related resources.

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