Last weekend we enjoyed some time after service learning what’s on our ballot and talking about important voter issues. We were joined by an organizer from Healthcare Rising, Matthew, and led by Anne Schneider. It was informative and engaging, thanks to all who stayed. I got my mail-in ballot this week and I am looking forward to filling it out and turning it in. We need everyone to participate in democracy to make democracy work. If you have time to phone or text bank, our UU the Vote team would love to hear from you! My mom has been doing quite a bit of this from home, and we will be delivering letters to our neighbors soon encouraging them to vote, too.
Speaking of elections, in 2020 I served on a special team of clergy and folks trained in de-escalation to work the polls as election defenders. Several states were identified as places where conflict and election interference were likely to happen, and Georgia was one of them. We worked all day on election day and then I also worked the special election in January for the Georgia Senate seats. It was a wonderful experience, and I am doing it again this year in Arizona…which is one of 8 states being watched for conflict and voter suppression/intimidation. I guess I know how to pick ‘em, right?
This Saturday UUJAZ (Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona) will hold an annual event on our campus (we’d love to have you join us!) with guest speakers and a chance to do some organizing work together. This Sunday we will learn about the work of Valley Interfaith Project after service. VIP will hold a Delegates Assembly at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale on November 16th where folks from its participating faith communities can join a discussion about where this work will go in the next year (we’d love to have you join us!) Beyond voting, our ability to save democracy and make it work for all of us is embedded in our desire to build a network of neighbors working for justice together–with and for each other. There are many different opportunities to do this work, and many ways to share the tasks. As they say in the Poor People’s Campaign, “Forward together, not one step back!”
Finally, as the cooler weather settles in, I am eager to get to know the greater Phoenix metro and I hope that some of you will organize neighborhood events I can come to and get to know more of you outside post-Sunday chats! Let me know if you have ideas for this!
Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan.