Our Racial Justice Team’s mission is to dismantle racism through education, advocacy and activism.
Comprised of congregant and community activists, the Fourth Universalist Society Racial Justice Team strives to identify racist policies, practices and procedures and replace them with anti-racist policies, practices and procedures. Largely focused on New York, the Racial Justice Team partners with like-minded organizations to eradicate racial disparities in education, criminal justice, housing, healthcare and the workplace.
In an effort to support this mission, we are partnering with The Fortune Society, an organization which helps formerly incarcerated people successfully reenter the community and rebuild their lives. Each year, they provide services to over 9,000 people – assisting them with housing, education, treatment programs, and more. The Fortune Society is also a leader in advocating for criminal justice reform.
At Fourth Universalist, we are supporting Fortune’s work by:
- Direct Volunteer Opportunities such as helping with food distribution at the Castle residence in Harlem, assisting with mock job interviews, and involvement in their creative arts programming.
- Providing Financial Support through our Share the Plate program and hosting a performance of their play “The Castle.”
- Donations to their Back to School Drive and Winter Coat Drive.
- Advocating for Criminal Justice Reform by attending rallies, signing onto letters and petitions, and emailing, calling, and visiting our legislators. Recent campaigns include CloseRikers, LessIsMore (not revoking parole for technical violations) and RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison).
To GET INVOLVED TODAY, please contact the Racial Justice Team at email@example.com
Below is a sermon from our Senior Minister, Rev. Schuyler Vogel, on “Punishment”:
Racial Justice Education
In our fight against systemic racism, we acknowledge the importance of learning about our country’s history and reflecting on that history as well as on our own individual lives. We maintain a Recommended Reading/Viewing/Listening list and recently offered a workshop which included reading Me and White Supremacy
by Layla Saad. Congregants journaled daily and met weekly in small groups as we considered the impact of racism in our lives and the lives of others.
Black Lives Matter
Our congregation prominently displays a Black Lives Matter banner overlooking Central Park, and yet we know that such symbolic actions are just a beginning.
In June, 2020, we held a vigil to remind ourselves and others of the work we must do to confront and dismantle systems of injustice that allow for the murders of countless People of Color to continue:
8th Principle Adoption
In June of 2021, our congregation voted to affirm the new 8th Principle, which states that we are:
Journeying towards spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
Our Board of Trustees has created a task force to guide us in living out this principle as individuals and as a congregation. To learn more about the 8th Principle, check out our special 8th Principle page here.
If you would like to learn more about our work, please contact our Racial Justice Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to being in touch!