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When we connect on our values, the People win

For all of you who engaged in the work of defending democracy, whether you’ve been with us since we launched UU the Vote in 2019 or joined us for the first time at our text bank to Pennsylvania voters on Election Day, I want to say thank you. 

There is value in the work of faithful organizing. The wins from values-centered campaigns in the 2022 midterms are revolutionary! Many ballot measures rooted in democracy, dignity, bodily autonomy, and liberation won by DOUBLE DIGITS! And many that sought to further marginalize and oppress, we defeated. Some of these measures won by greater margins than the candidates on the same ballot. This is why UU the Vote has been and will always be prophetic and not partisan. 

Together, we generated a groundswell of activity to show up for our values and voters in 2022. Our Unitarian Universalist community has already reached out to over 1.6 million voters this cycle, and the numbers are still coming in! (If you haven’t reported your work yet, now is a great time to start – share at bit.ly/uucount!)

I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact UUs make when you all work together towards a shared purpose. On Election Night in Philadelphia, I watched UUs answer the call to help voters look up their new polling place and drive them to the polls after a longtime polling in this majority Black community was closed abruptly. UUs showed up even when the city government, election officials and both major parties did not.

This work isn’t a hobby. It’s not something we do for fun—though the joy when we gather sustains us through these long haul battles. This work is sacred. And when the ballot box is your altar and a vote is prayer, you do everything you can to make miracles happen. And UUs, you make miracles happen. 

Beloved, when we connect through our values, it is the people who win! 

Let’s celebrate some of those wins.

Reproductive Rights

Building on the summer victory in Kansas, pro-choice advocates won decisively in all five states where reproductive rights were on the ballot Tuesday. Michigan, Vermont, and California voters embedded reproductive freedom within their state constitutions, while the people of Montana and Kentucky defeated anti-choice measures. An amazing six out of six victories where voters enjoyed the power to directly make law on a core justice issue!

Voting Rights

Also in Michigan, the Promote the Vote initiative passed, amending the Michigan Constitution with multiple provisions to prevent disenfranchisement while ensuring secure elections. 

In Connecticut, voters approved a measure to allow in-person early voting statewide. Until yesterday, Connecticut joined Alabama, Mississippi and New Hampshire as the only states without early in-person voting. 

Economic Justice 

Voters in Nebraska chose to raise the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $10.50 an hour by January 1st, 2023 and then up to $15 by 2026.

Abolition & Criminal Legal System Reform

More than 150 years after enslaved Africans and their descendants were released from bondage through ratification of the 13th Amendment, the slavery exception continues to permit the exploitation of labor by incarcerated individuals. On Election Day, voters in four states (Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont) have approved ballot measures that will change their state constitutions to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime.

UUs played major roles in many of these victories. Here’s some of the very early data: 

UU the Vote volunteers for a textbank to voters in PA and TX!
  • Michigan: 2,407 calls, 85,589 texts, 13,076 ballot initiative signatures
  • Arizona: 1,384 calls, 24,148 texts, and 1,728 ballot signatures
  • Minnesota: 4100 calls, 145,000 texts, and had 4,400 in-person conversations
  • Wisconsin: 3000 calls and 50,000 texts, knocked 3500 doors
  • Kentucky: 3000 calls, distributed over 2000 “vote no” yard signs
  • Illinois: 982 calls, sent 2005 texts

Celebrating Partnership

We got into some Good Trouble in this election. How we go about the work matters. The late Rep. John Lewis was known for showing up–with youth, LGBTQ+ communities, and all who wanted to join the work to bend the arc of justice. The partnerships that UUs have cultivated on the state and national level were essential to the historic turnout we are witnessing. With Michigan Voices, Red, Wine and Blue and Michigan United, I joined UUs in Michigan to talk to college students at Wayne State University about this election and voting. In the Kentucky UU Justice Action Network, UUs were with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and Kentucky Democracy Project.

With UU Justice Arizona, UUs worked with Healthcare Rising to increase protections for the one-third of Arizonans struggling with medical debt. UUs from Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania joined Positive Women’s Network, New Pennsylvania Project and Black Voters Matter to phonebank and knock on doors. When we build solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and people of color organizations, with LGBTQ+ groups, with youth, the formerly incarcerated, and low income communities, we do the work of building that Beloved Community where all of us can thrive. 

Young voters and BIPOC voters came out overwhelmingly to protect their rights from being trampled in all 50 states. These are the same voters who have been systematically disenfranchised for years and have the most to gain and the most to lose in every election, every year. These voters experience the impact of  rising costs and corporate greed, police violence, privatization of education, gun violence, and of course, voter suppression. Still, these leaders overcame deliberate hurdles to exercise their right to vote and show up for a country that continually lets them down.

A new day is breaking. It will take all of us, but I know that  justice, healing, and democracy for all is possible if we continue our faithful work. 

Welcome to another Georgia Runoff!

My friends, that work is not over. Welcome to UU the Vote for the Georgia Runoff!

We learned yesterday the race for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat will be decided by a runoff election after none of the candidates won an outright majority, as Georgia law requires. Our call now is to ensure voters in Georgia get out to vote again on December 6th, 2022.

We are already working with our partners to send you all the information you need to write postcards, send letters, make calls, and send text to get out the vote in the Georgia runoff election. 

So let’s make miracles happen again! If you are interested in doing any work for the Georgia runoff, please fill out this form. Feel free to share. 

In community,

JaZahn Hicks

UU the Vote Campaign Manager

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From our work for marriage equality, women’s suffrage, the abolition of slavery, for civil and voting rights, to advocating for a path to citizenship for immigrants, to taking on the ‘New Jim Crow’ and white supremacy today.

Unitarian Universalists have a legacy to carry onward.

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