Those Closest to the Problem Are Closest to the Solution: Following the Leadership of Directly Impacted Partners
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix held their annual UUJAZ service on Sunday, January 23rd, 2022. Our Executive Director, Janine Gelsinger, was honored to invite some of the frontline leaders of our partner organizations: Mika Maharaj of Phoenix Local Organizing Committee for Justice or Else, Sarra Tekola of Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, and Analise Ortiz, a reproductive justice organizer and candidate for the AZ state House of Representatives.
The incredible musical guests were Camille Sledge of Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, joined by her mother Debbie Sledge, of Sister Sledge. Their soul and gospel music filled the sanctuary with love and light that morning, and is not to be missed!
The speakers shared moving stories of ongoing challenges and inspiring successes, and highlighted some of the areas they expect to be working on going forward: reproductive healthcare services, migrant justice work, advocating for reallocation of resources beyond policing in city budgets, Black Mesa indigenous land defense, mutual aid, and addressing climate change, especially water issues.
Remember, your support enables all the ways that these partners shared that UUJAZ for showed up where needed, provided resources, and deepened our relationships.
Click on the video below to hear their stories and discussion of what it means to do justice work together. Sometimes there are moments where you get to see the fruits of the grind, and this service was one of them! (you can start at 36:00 for the sermon from our partners).