Our mission statement:
“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
Action for Social Justice at First Parish Church United believes that justice is at the core of our faith and that we are called to make a positive difference in our wider communities. We work to serve, to raise awareness, and to support and partner with people who face injustice. We recommend you to check this site out for more information on immigration laws.
In furtherance of this belief, ASJ seeks to:
- Engage our Church community in discussions about social justice focus areas
- Provide opportunities for interested members of the Congregation to engage in social justice ministries
- Collaborate with the UCC, UUA and local churches to move this mission forward
- Strengthen existing relationships and form new partnerships with organizations in our area that share our goals
- Communicate with the Congregation about local events involving social justice issues
Because: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” — Micah 6:8
The Last Dream
On Sunday Nov 24, several members of Action for Social Justice visited Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford to view “The Last Dream” and listen to members of the TPS (Temporary Protective Status) community describe their heartbreaking stories and the amazing work the children and young adults have done to fight for the right to stay in our country. Their play has been shown at BU, Harvard and the US Capitol.
Many TPS recipients have been living and thriving in the US for more than 10 years, some for 15 or 20 years, but they have never been afforded an opportunity to receive full citizenship. Our current administration has already cancelled protections for more than 300,000 immigrant recipients of TPS in the United States. More info.
Climate Action Now Rally
First Parish Church United joined with Westford Academy students for the Climate Action Now Rally on October 17. We braved wind and rain to bring attention to the climate crisis. Westford Academy Sunrise Movement students led the rally and demanded local and national action. Students, selectmen, state representatives and community members spoke, sang and chanted. Co-sponsors Indivisible Westford and First Parish Church United.
Lights for Liberty
Over 150 people gathered on the common on July 12, 2019 to add their voices to the nationwide Lights for Liberty event protesting detention camps and inhumane immigration and refugee policies. The event was sponsored by Indivisible Westford and First Parish Church United. Thanks to the speakers including State Senators Ed Kennedy and Jamie Eldridge. Special thanks to organizers Emily Gilstrap, Beth Morrison and Beth Perkins and Sunny Killoran for providing sound system and photos.
What Does Freedom For All Really Mean?
Thanks to Alexandra Chandler for joining us to lead a very special service! At First Parish Church United, our respect for the worth and dignity of all is one of our guiding principles. On Sunday, October 21 we affirmed our support for our LGBTQ community in a special service with guest speaker Alexandra Chandler. Alexandra knows something about courage. In 2006, as a transgender woman, she was one of the first in the U.S. intelligence community to transition on the job. She served for 12 years in Naval Intelligence preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction from countries like North Korea and Iran and targeting arms smuggling to war zones and terrorist groups. In 2018, she became Massachusetts’ first openly transgender candidate for US Congress here in the third district. She currently lives in Haverhill with her wife and two children. She is a strong advocate for freedom for all and Yes on Ballot question 3.
The service was followed with a discussion at coffee hour with Alexandra.
Community Forum on Immigration
Immigration Forum Attracts Over 150 to FPCU
The sanctuary was full on Wednesday night, February 28, as over 150 people from Westford and nearby towns joined together to explore the topic of immigration. Action for Social Justice sponsored the forum with the League of Women Voters and Indivisible Westford. Former town moderator, Ellen Harde, led the forum and five representatives from local immigration support and advocacy organizations participated. Attendees and panelists joined together in the church lobby after the forum to continue the discussion and enjoy refreshments. The discussion was very positive with many people thanking First Parish for hosting this event and suggesting topics for future forums. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this event a success!
Candlelight Vigil: Wednesday, December 6 in Westford Common
First Parish Church partnered with Westford Coalition for Non-Violence, Indivisible Westford, Live for Liv, the Westford League of Women Voters and Out of the Darkness Overnight to sponsor a candlelight vigil on Westford Common for victims of gun violence. The vigil was in remembrance of the five year mark of the Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy,as well as the 500,000 American victims and survivors of gun violence since December 2012.
UU Mass Action Workshop
- Racial Justice
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Our Spiritual Leaders Speak
- Immigration Reforn
- Love Resists on Criminalization and resistance
Immigration Forum on Westford CAT
On October 8. 2017, we asked people at Worship Service to let us know “What do you think we should do to reduce gun violence in the United States?”. Here are the responses.
On Sunday, November 19, Laura Wagner from UU Mass Action spoke at our worship service and conducted a workshop to explore how we can organize our congregation to be a powerful force for social justice in our community. Since 2006 UU Mass Action has been organizing and mobilizing the 20,000 Unitarian Universalist an 142 congregations around social justice issues in Massachusetts.
Refugee Dinner: Sunday October 29 at FPCU
FPCU hosted 11 members of two Afghan immigrant families for dinner and camaraderie. About 25 of our Church folks set up and decorated the hall, cooked some really wonderful food and then waited in slightly anxious anticipation for the families to arrive. We all wondered how we would be able to communicate with these guests, many of whom spoke little or no English and all of whom had lived lives in a far-away place, so different from our own. There was no need for concern! Those with better English skills translated for the others; and it turns out everyone can talk about and make themselves understood when it comes to family, culture and food! In a day and age when we are constantly bombarded with angst producing news, this night of cooperation, friendship and unexpected rapport was truly a bright spot. We will be doing it again, hope you can join us next time!