This resource was written and adapted by Rev. Lisa Garcia-Simpson & Rev. Ashley Horan as a reflection guide for congregations and small groups during these times.
Please review this document with your team to determine how to best leverage your assets to support defending the election and supporting voters before and after November 3rd.
CHURCH INFRASTRUCTURE (COVID-CONSCIOUS)
- Is a staff member present at the congregation? How frequently?
- Can printing and copying be done at your congregation?
- Could your space be used to store, sort, or distribute supplies for community organizations?
- Can your parking lot and/or outside areas be used as a place to distribute materials, collect donations, or gather in a socially distanced way for your congregation or the wider community?
- Do you have a tent, tables, and chairs to create an outdoor socially distanced space?
- Can you offer your congregation’s parking lot or sheltered area (large tent, etc.) for community-based COVID testing?
- Do you have a lot of refrigerator space for local perishable food donations? (collect and store until distribution). Does your congregation have an industrial kitchen that could be used to prepare large quantities of food?
- Is your congregation located near active protests? If so, could it function as a safe home-base for street medics, movement chaplains, water station, protesters, etc.?
- Is your congregation in a highly visible location where signs and protests would be especially impactful?
COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
- What are your primary tools for communicating with your congregation? (Weekly Church Newsletter, Facebook, in-service announcement).
- Does your congregation have a Zoom account that you can use and/or that you can offer emerging local groups to use?
- Does your congregation have access to Facebook Live, YouTube, or another streaming service through which you can quickly post a video message?
- Does your congregation’s wi-fi extend to outdoor sheltered areas?
- Do you have a system in place for quickly mobilizing people to direct action and/or calling for donations in a short period of time?
- Do you have a phone/communications tree where members are set up to quickly pass information along to other members?
- Does key leadership have a protocol for secure messaging? (e.g., Signal)
- Does key leadership have access to all members’ contact information?
- Do you have a plan in place for checking up on members in the case of quickly escalating uprising, disruption, or violence?
- How much money is in your discretionary fund? Is there a transparent process for members and non-members to ask for funding? What restrictions are in place? Do you have a way to transfer funds electronically to individuals and/or organizations?
- What protocols exist to do rapid response fundraising in your congregation? Do you have a clear way to track money raised for emergency purposes?
- Do you have a list of donors who could be quickly approached for emergency needs?
- Do you have an endowment? How are decisions made about endowment funds? Is it possible to make a decision now about a pot of money from the endowment that could be tapped quickly in case of emergency?
- Do you have a map of where members live by address, zip code, ward/district/etc.?
- Have you done a recent survey of members to see what kinds of actions they might be willing to take?
- How many members could be quickly mobilized for various actions? (e.g., meal prep, transportation, supply triage, direct action, protests)
- Do you have a system in place to help volunteers mobilize/recruit other congregants? (e.g. a phone or email tree, Slack channel, list-serv, etc.)
- Do potential volunteers know how you will contact them if they are needed? Do leaders know when and how to contact potential volunteers?
- Youth organizers and activists
- Relationships with those who hold power locally (e.g., local or state elected officials, Higher Ed Institutions, interfaith groups, non-profits, police/sheriffs, etc.)
- Justice committee(s)/ organized groups
- Visual artists
- Social media experts
- Song leaders & musicians
- Photographers & videographers
- Web design
- IT/Tech support
- Public relations/media liaisons/spokespeople with media training
- Non-profit expertise & 501(c)3 compliance
- Pastoral/spiritual Care
- Movement chaplains
- Street medics
- Childcare workers
- What community partners do you have existing relationships with? What forms of public organizing and resistance in support of liberation and democracy are they moving that your congregation can amplify, participate in, fundraise for?
- What organizations in your area are led by and represent people who are most directly impacted by oppression? How does your congregation align with those organizations politically?
- What is your relationship with other faith communities and/or multifaith organizations in your area? Who are your allies, and where might you join forces to pool resources and influence to support urgent needs in the community?
- Do you have a relationship with a state-wide council or association of religious groups? A community-based congregational organizing affiliate (PICO, IAF, etc.)?
- Do you have collaborative relationships with other UU congregations in your area/cluster/region?
- Has your congregation self-canvassed to ensure that every eligible voter has a plan for voting and making sure their ballot arrives in time to be counted?
- Are there known instances of voter suppression in your area? Which local/state organizations are working to combat voter suppression? What are their plans for election day and beyond?
- Are there particular areas in your region where there is a significant number of disenfranchised, marginalized voters? Which organizations are working to register, connect with, mobilize, and defend these potential voters?
- Who are your elected officials and what decisions are they making right now? Has your congregation called upon your elected officials to take action to ensure safe and free voting in your area?
- Do you have congregants who have been trained in de-escalation and/or interrupting violence?
- Do you have congregants who are willing to volunteer as official poll workers?
- Do you have congregants who are willing to bring water, food, supplies to people waiting in long lines?
- Do you have congregants who are willing to be trained in election defense at the polls?
- Are you located in an area (town, county, voting district) where community partners need local volunteers on election day?
- If your state has the option to drop off ballots at designated sites without presenting ID, do you have congregants who are willing to pick up people’s ballots and take them in?