The earliest known statement of the Golden Rule was about 3,000 BCE in the Vedic Indian tradition: “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you; wish for others what you wish for yourself.” Unitarian Universalism, like many religions and Humanism, has a similar primary rule.
The first principle of Unitarian Universalism recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
In 1948, The International Declaration of Human Rights, article 14, stated
“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
These principles, religious and secular, are the basis for the UU support of immigrants and refugees, both here and abroad. UUCS has long had ties with the immigrant community, particularly the Hispanic community (especially through professors of Spanish in our congregation). We continue our partnership with PASOS and Alianza Spartanburg in support of immigrants in Spartanburg County and throughout South Carolina.
As we emerged from the pandemic, though, we felt a great need to help other groups of refugees seeking sanctuary in our country; first, the Afghan people who worked so hard to make their country better, and, in failure, faced threats to their lives.
Then, so quickly after that, when Ukraine was attacked by Russia, we wanted to support both those who stayed to fight and those who had to flee to surrounding countries or the US. Although we donated money to help through our “Share the Plate,” we looked for ways we could do hands-on work for these and other immigrants. For the past two years, we have focused on this in December and January, collaborating with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) to support refugee families.
- Winter hands-on activities: we provided financial assistance and collected and delivered everything to furnish kitchens, bathrooms, and a baby nursery for an Afghan family in 2022 and a Syrian family in 2023. We coordinated with the members of the Islamic Society of Spartanburg, who delivered pillows, comforters, and linens for bedrooms and bathroom.
- Mothers Day: again partnering with LIRS, we donated items for two “baby showers,” to provide mothers with everything their new babies needed.
- We are volunteering with PASOS to assist in classes to help immigrants learn English.
Some of our “Share the Plates” go to help Refugees and Immigrants:
- 2021 Dec: Financial aid and furnished a kitchen, bathroom, and more for Afghan refugees arriving in Greenville.
- 2022 Mar: For Ukraine refugees in Europe via Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund by GlobalGiving
- 2022 MAY: World Central Kitchen’s work in Ukraine
- 2022 Dec: Financial aid and furnished a kitchen, bathroom, nursery, and more for Syrian Refugee Family
- 2023 Mar: Global Response Medicine (GRM) working in Ukraine
We wanted to build stronger relationships as a congregation with the Alianza Spartanburg and PASOs, while deepening our work with both organizations. Then the pandemic struck. UUCS members took action to help immigrants ignored in our government’s programs for pandemic relief. Our Share the Plate in April and May 2020 began a collaboration with the local PASOS community to help those essential workers and their families, hit hard by COVID-19 disease and also by the economic devastation suffered by low income workers.Together with PASOS and Alianza Spartanburg, we founded a statewide fund to assist those immigrants impacted by Covid with rent and utility payments. Our multi-agency group obtained several grants and has now distributed about $125,000 to assist 1,452 individuals. You can read the latest update in the rippling effect of our partnership with Alianza Spartanburg and PASOS.Other actions include:
- Provided about 1400 cloth masks to the Hispanic immigrant community
- Hosted a vigil for Alianza Spartanburg
- Hosted 4 DHEC covid vaccination clinics targeting the immigrant community