Social Action Committee
PBUUC has had a Social Action Committee for most of its congregational history. The Social Action Committee leads, coordinates, and encourages the efforts of the Paint Branch community to bring about a more just society and meet the needs of disadvantaged groups both locally and globally.
Among our highest congregational priorities are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) rights. PBUUC supported marriage equality for years, by hosting campaign events and weekly phone banks, organizing members and friends to attend rallies and lobby days, testifying in Annapolis during the legislative session and volunteering at the polls on Election Day 2012 when marriage equality was won by popular vote! Similar efforts are now underway in support of rights and protections for transgender people.
The Social Action Committee has also held joint activities with the Diversity/Anti-Racism Transformation Team (DARTT) as part of our journey toward becoming an Intentional Multicultural Congregation. Together, DARTT and the Social Action Committee are examining immigration as a moral issue, planning activities to learn more about the issues, reflecting on them and taking action. We are also working with CASA de Maryland on immigration issues that affect our neighbors right here in Prince George's County.
Children in the Religious Exploration program have been involved in Social Action in several ways: making, serving and cleaning up after Warm Nights meals; collecting toiletries for our Warm Nights guests; and tending the vegetable garden planted between the Meeting House and the parking lot.
The Social Action Committee coordinates the monthly special collection, which is taken during the regular offertory at a Sunday service. The organizations that benefit from our special collections range from the local — such as food and shelter for the hungry and homeless in our county, local environmental groups and nearby high school arts programs — to the global. In one recent year, these collections raised more than $10,000 in total for a dozen good causes.
Since 1989, PBUUC members have served meals to hungry people on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Community Place Café in Hyattsville, Md. The Prince George's County Community Ministry organizes this food program. PBUUC's contribution is partially funded by the annual Warm Nights special collection.
Paint Branch is also concerned about affordable and emergency housing. PBUUC has a representative on the board of the Open Door Housing Fund, a non-profit community development financial institution serving the Greater Washington metro area. Open Door provides the early critical funding necessary to bring affordable housing plans to fruition. The Social Action Committee supports local housing assistance organizations in Prince George's County to meet emergency needs.
When the December holiday season arrives, the Social Action Committee sponsors an "Alternative Gifts" market where PBUUC members and friends can choose to honor their family and friends with gifts from organizations working to eliminate hunger, improve education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health, among other services.
The Social Action Committee also serves between PBUUC and organizations serving the wider community, such as the Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (representing the Greater Washington-Baltimore region), the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULM-MD), and the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO).
Social Action programs at PBUUC have a fall "kickoff" meeting, usually in October, at which participants hear speakers discuss issues of importance and brainstorm about possible activities to bring about social justice during the coming year. All are welcome to attend the kickoff meeting. And even if you missed that event, please join other Social Action efforts during the course of the year. Every little bit of help brings us a step closer to our goal of peace and justice for all.