“Calling Voters is Our Way of Answering the Call”: Unitarian Universalists Prepare for the Election

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UU the Vote has launched biweekly national actions for UU’s to join in the fight against voter suppression. The first in the series aired on Tuesday, August 26th featuring a partnership with the New Florida Majority Education Fund. 140 volunteers made 10,545 calls to get out the vote during the two hour event.

Will you join UU the Vote’s National Days of Action and cast your lot with the growing coalition that is encouraging voters in key states to #VoteLove and #DefeatHate?

Signing into Zoom, the first thing that was heard was someone saying their name — and where they were from. It was like a joyous, impromptu roll call; the yellow box highlighted a new face, and a new voice. And another, and another. 

All one hundred and forty participants did not get a chance to introduce themselves. But it was an organic way to start a night where people from all across the country were tuning in to make impactful change — together. 

The night was the first in UU the Vote’s National Days of Action, a landing space for UU’s and congregations looking for actions that engage voters and fight voter suppression. Through election day, we are joining in partnership with the New Florida Majority Education Fund and Wisconsin Voices for biweekly phone banking events, amplifying their justice work in the two swing states. 

New Florida Majority is a powerful organization that works to build the political power of marginalized constituencies in Florida. For the last 11 years they have been working to increase civic engagement, hold elected officials accountable to their electorate, and educate the public to share the values of an inclusive and equitable democracy.

The phone bank that New Florida Majority is hosting aims to give non-partisan information that helps communities who are targeted by voter suppression to be equipped with the details about voting in the upcoming elections.

The phone banking event featured an extensive training on the script that volunteers would be using in addition to a technical training, introducing the efficient ThruTalk dialer. Before the training, leaders of both UU the Vote and New Florida Majority grounded the volunteers and spoke to the moral call that brought people together for the event.

It was a somber affair, even more so as the calling took place just days after a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rev. Ashley Horan, the Director of Organizing Strategy at the UUA, was one of the introduction speakers.

“When something like the shooting of Jacob Blake happens, it matters so deeply who the people are in office. We don’t elect people to be saviors. What we do is put people in office who will support the policies that help us move the next piece forward,” said Rev. Horan. “Our electoral organizing is just one strategy for justice. We all need to be thinking about the ecosystem of movement building. All of us have something to do, have skills and gifts to bring.”

Partnerships like the ones UU the Vote has created in this national phone banking series are a crucial part of this ecosystem of movement building. They key into the electoral work that is necessary for turnout this November, and they also build connections for the ongoing justice work that will continue.

Partnerships like the ones UU the Vote has created in this national phone banking series are a crucial part of this ecosystem of movement building. They key into the electoral work that is necessary for turnout this November, and they also build connections for the ongoing justice work that will continue.

The UU the Vote national phone banking series simultaneously trains a cohort of people for future events and creates the foundation for a relationship between UU’s and our partner organizations — all while making calls to connect with people targeted by voter suppression.

B Loewe, program designer for UU the Vote, sees the potential the UU’s have to make meaningful and large scale change.

“Unitarian Universalists actually have density. When seen as an organization and not just a collection of individuals, you can see that in multiple states UU’s have a larger membership than many community organizations or unions,” Loewe said. “There is an enormous potential for what UU’s can do together in alignment with front line organizations who are doing the work all year round — but that collective power isn’t regularly brought to bear.”

We as a people of faith are called to listen, called to learn, and called to act.

UU the Vote’s National Days of Action is an accessible and important way to answer that call — and there are many other ways to answer it as well. Organize your congregation and invite your friends. Tap yourself into the ecosystem of movement building.

RSVP for any of the upcoming phone banking events at the UU the Vote phone banking hub. The next event is Wednesday, September 2nd making calls to Wisconsin voters: register here.

“We are living through a tremendous moment that is calling more from us than any other time. I believe that on the other side of the election we will be asking ourselves if we did enough, if we could have found more or different ways to contribute,” said Loewe. “Blocking out four weeknights on the calendar feels like a highly possible commitment to make, and one that will show the world what UU’s can accomplish together.”

“I believe that on the other side of the election we will be asking ourselves if we did enough,” said Loewe. “Blocking out four weeknights on the calendar feels like a highly possible commitment to make, and one that will show the world what UU’s can accomplish together.”

Written by Aidan Wertz, UU the Vote blogger. Aidan is a college student in Middlebury, Vermont and a lifelong UU.

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Unitarian Universalists have a legacy to carry onward.

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