Social Justice News

Modified on: April 18, 2021

Social Justice Update – January 2021

Annual MLK Day of Service. In the midst of the pandemic, more people than ever need some help. We collected the same toiletries as last year, and gave them to TOTAL Ministries for the employees at TOTAL Ministries to assemble into kitsWe also gave some to Angel Ministries’ program supporting women released from prison, to Piedmont Care, serving those affected by HIV-AIDS, to PASOS, and to the Divinity Center, serving homeless men. Of course, our toiletries kits included our cloth masks! Our drive-through collectors were busy! We also spruced up nearby streets by removing litter and recording the data for the South Carolina Aquarium

Social Justice Update – December 2020

More than 25 people braved the cold to drop off items at our QUINTUPLE DIPS and enjoy talking & catching up with one another in the chilly UUCS parking lot! Donations for TOTAL Ministries included over 600 pounds of food, plus diapers and similar items. Our other collections: 4 boxes of wonderful children’s books, 4 boxes and bags of Teddy Bears, unicorns, etc., and 6 boxes of newspapers for the Humane Society! Thank you all! Everyone who came by got a holiday face mask for their families, and we took about 50 more holiday-themed face masks to the Hope Center for Children (30 for teens and staff, 20 for children).

MLK DAY 2021 is Monday, January 18th. This year’s event will need to be very different from last year’s! (That was so much fun!). If you have ideas on how to have a safe event that helps our community, please email The Social Justice Council will discuss these via email/ zoom and come up with a plan! Probably a much smaller plan than last year, but that will be all right.

Social Justice Update – November 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you are home and staying safe as the pandemic rages around us.
MASKS: Let’s give a virtual cheer to some incredible mask makers! Naomi has joined Nicole in passing the 1,000 mark! You two are amazing! As a group, we have made 4,700 masks! We’re keeping people healthy and saving lives.
Recent mask give-aways:

Saturday, about 80 of our masks to the Mexican grocery in Inman.

Tuesday, 180 masks mailed to Navajo Nation; 60 to the Soup Kitchen; 60 to Angel Ministry (which offers transitional housing and case management to women during and after incarceration


The next Dip is coming! Dec. 6th, 2:30-4:30, our Dip, : a special holiday collection of children’s books, new or gently used, for children in Safe Haven, SPIHN, PASOS, and Maranatha Church’s ministry with children. You can also donate food and toiletries for TOTAL Ministries, newspapers for the Humane Society, newspapers for the Humane Society, & pick up a holiday-themed face mask for your child or teen, plus a new mask for yourself. And, there’s one last chance to buy beautiful mural note cards from an LWV volunteer, until they sell out! We’ll repeat the Dip on Dec. 8th, Tuesday morning, 10:00-Noon.

The men’s winter clothing from the last Quintuple Dip was gratefully accepted by volunteers at the Spartanburg Opportunity Center. Volunteers filled a cart with coats and other warm clothing; the clothes for women and children were delivered to PASOS for Hispanic immigrants in the Boiling Springs area.

Social Justice – October 20, 2020

It’s been a busy week! One of our get-out-the-vote efforts was sabotaged by the theft of our banner at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. So far, the others are untouched.

Glendale Shoals Litter Crew
Glendale Shoals Litter Crew

Saturday, Joyce led a glass and litter pick up at Glendale Shoals. She says 5,011 pieces of glass were removed from Glendale Shoals today + an additional 279 pieces of litter. Kudos to Alice Sutton, Kaye Savage, Ruth Stanton, Liz Perry, Stacey Jackson, Kaleo Wheeler, and Joyce Harrison for pitching in to round it up and take it out. There’s more to tackle another day!

Sunflower heads in playground for seed planting in spring
Sunflower heads in playground for seed planting in spring

Our Sunday Quintuple Dip was productive and lots of fun. Thanks Susan Turregano, who led the food drive, said we had 26 donors and we collected 608 lbs. of food, plus another 20 lb. from someone who missed the drive by times and took it on to TOTAL Ministries. A great effort! We collected many pounds of winterwear for the Atheists helping the homeless, as well as half a dozen baskets of newspapers and enough

wildflowers to fill our triangle garden. And, thanks to Abby Fowler, several of us bought lots of beautiful LWV mural cards. Thank you also, to Collin, a UUCS friend who came by and did a couple hours of garden prep!

Monday and Tuesday, our planting group planted giant coneflowers, perennial sunflowers, and a dozen more wildflowers next to the children’s play yard. Calling all children— if you would like to plant sunflowers in your garden next spring, stop by UUCS and grab a flowerhead before the birds get them all! Jeanette planted and tended them, and would love to share!


(September 17, 2020)

Congregational Dialogue: The Work of Consciousness

At our Annual Meeting in June, our congregation voted on a powerful new approach to Social Justice:

  • Once/quarter, we will gather as a congregation to do the work of consciousness through workshops and dialogues on becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppression, multicultural congregation. From this commitment to consciousness, four teams will work on four distinct projects in the areas of Immigration, Voting, Ecology, and Being a Neighbor.

We will host four congregational dialogues this year on becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppression, multi-cultural congregation. These will take place following Sunday services from 12:15 – 1:45 pm. These will be in a virtual Zoom format:

    • Oct. 4
    • Dec. 6
    • Feb 7
    • May 2

These sessions will strengthen how we work together and how we serve our community. They are for all of us as a congregation; they will change us all. Please plan to attend.


(September 16, 2020)

Voting Action Team:

Look for our new wayside pulpit signs and banner, coming soon. The deadline to register online to vote is Sunday, October 4, 2020, or in person, Friday, Oct. 2nd. We’ll be moving from a focus on getting people registered, to getting out the vote. For the most inspiring presentation on the importance of voting and getting out the vote, watch Rev. Barber lead this program by the poor people’s campaign:

MASK NEWSWe’ve made over 3,500!

In June, we donated over 200 masks to the Navajo Nation, so we rejoice especially in this news of its great progress in controlling Covid 19, from an NPR interview, (and the credit given to mask-wearing):
Our 16 member sewing circle has passed the 3,500 mark in our mask making!

Upcoming giveaway: PASOS event Saturday, Sep. 19th, PASOS event, with voter registration, census help, flu shots, and more in Boiling Springs. We will donate most of the masks we have for that event.

Recent giveaways:

Sep. 5th Mexican store: about 50 adult and youth/children
Sep. 1st and 10th Hope Center for Children: about 40 adult and 30 youth/children
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children

Why do we keep sewing?

For them—all the people we will never meet, who wear our masks and protect others from illness
For you—all our family and friends who are safer
And for ourselves—sewing can be a meditation and a way for each of us to know that we are contributing, saving lives, from the comfort of our homes.
Would you like to join us? Email for more info.


(August 25, 2020)

We’ve scheduled a general social justice meeting for Wed., Sept. 2nd, 7 pm, via zoom. We’ll go with q other month again, 1st Wed., 7 pm, so you can put that on your calendar. I’ll ask Anne to send a zoom link Wed. via email. IF you are reading this in the Happenings and want to join the meeting, email me at so I can add you to the social justice email list.

Agenda: Update on Consciousness team, Voter team, Good Neighbor team, with everyone’s contributions throughout. Schedule team meetings.
You can get a head start on the updates on the voting outreach with LWV, the good neighbor/ mask project and the places they have merged, below. You can see how immigration is covered in both these projects. And we’re saving ecology for when the weather cools down a bit! Please contribute your ideas and actions– See you Wed.

Voter Registration Action

Nonpartisan Door Hanger

The voter registration nonpartisan door hangers created by Barbara Dorsey, Joan McPherson, and their friend, Andy Aulde have opened a lot of doors! See attachment “Door Hanger,” (English side). We shared these at the dedication of the Grimke Mural with LWV members and church members, and they spread from there. The first thousand were gone before I could turn around twice, the second and third thousand, to be delivered Friday, are mostly committed already. with perhaps some left over. Our emphasis here is reaching underserved neighborhoods and people often overlooked. Take a look at where they’ve gone and bring your suggestions to our meeting.

Developing List: Jeraldine Mack, 20 for black barber and beauty shops, Ruth Littlejohn 20, Susan Turregano, 110 ( put in food bags at Total Ministry), Lou Sartor 20 (Soup Kitchen, she will print more on paper as needed AND let folks use computer there to register), PASOS 100, 20 for Inman Mexican store, about 75 paper for Cierra Fowler for Little Africa township. Cierra, also, as Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authoritiy, 600 to put on all public housing apartments, Vera Jeter Jones, 40 for Black churches, Pam Stoll has given 100 to Kenneth Myers for S Converse Neighborhood, Ann Waddell, 20 (Upstate Grad Advisor/Upstate AKA Sorority, and she will print more as needed). Ana Walker (works for ex-felon program). Next up, ethnic restaurants! We’ll save some for Sept 19th, a Latinx event in Boiling Springs. We’re also encouraging others to print or copy as desired.

Face Mask / Being a Good Neighbor project

On AUGUST 16TH our 16 member sewing circle passed the 3,000 mark in our mask making. We’ve given away many,

Tula in Mom’s mask

many masks in ones and twos, or threes and fours for a family, or ten or twelve for a small group, but here are some of the–

Recent give-aways:

Aug 10 & 12th About 30 for church members and 50 for protesters in Greenville
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children
Aug. 18th Little Africa (township in northern Sptg county): 50
Aug. 18th Elementary school teachers 20
Aug 21st Three mask-making kits for Cierra Fowler, Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authority, who plans to start a sewing group.

Click links for printables:

On your own, or in your sewing circle, contact Alice to let us know how many masks you have made!

Mask News –  Updates, click here!


We’re sending masks with those door hangers to those ethnic restaurants for their staff. We’ll circle back and see if the Hope Center needs more masks, too.


(August 13, 2020)

The Social Justice Triple Dip evolved into a Quintuple Dip! We collected over 1000 pounds of food donations for Total Ministries, from over 40 donors, in our Sunday and Tuesday events. Everyone at TOTAL Ministries is thrlled and so grateful for our donations for those in need in Spartanburg. Our mask makers provided 380 masks so our members had all kinds of choices. Members “bought” 30 masks (helping fund more mask materials) and also collected some for groups in need. We sent 50 for protestors in Greenville in coming weekends. We’ll send more to immigrant centers and check to see if Hope Center needs some more, too. We also sold most of our remaining Fair Trade inventory and UUCS Tshirts. And, finally, we welcomed the LWV which sold their beautiful notecards featuring our new mural. So, now you know what a quintuple dip is!


FOOD-DRIVE  HappyBirthdayTeresa



Being A Good Neighbor:

Collect for TOTAL Ministries

Give out masks

Sell remaining coffee, tea, chocolate

(August 2020)

Have you missed contributing to the TOTAL food barrel? We have, too, so we are doing a “drive by” collection Aug 9th, 5:00-7:00 pm, and Tues., Aug. 11th, 10:00-Noon for UUCS members and friends only. Just put your donations in the trunk of your car and drive around Henry Place. We will have a couple SUV’s backed up in the church driveway— pop your trunk and a volunteer will move your donation from your trunk to SUV while another volunteer will offer you our cloth masks and ask if you want to buy coffee, tea or chocolate (cash or check only). Susan Turregano has been volunteering at TOTAL and shares this information: “The need for families to receive food assistance is very great in Spartanburg at the moment. With schools and many churches closed, the food drives that usually help stock the shelves at Total Ministries have significantly slowed. Total Ministries has been serving over 100 families each week with food assistance alone.”

Greatest need right now is (not cereal, canned veggies or tuna):

Pasta and Pasta Sauce
Dried Beans or rice
Canned Beef Stew or Chicken and Dumplings
Canned Chicken
Mac and Cheese dinners for family of 4
Small jars of peanut butter and also jelly
Cornbread mix or boxed stuffing
Instant mashed potatoes
Canned Fruit

MORE MASKS FOR ALL CHURCH MEMBERS AND FRIENDS: Time moves so strangely in this strange time, but since we gave out masks to all church members we could in APRIL, it seems like we should do it again in AUGUST. So, if you are able to drive by and contribute to our food collection for TOTAL Ministries, we will use that opportunity to give you and your family new masks for as long as our supplies last! We do expect to have enough masks for everyone.

And, the last part of this “triple dip,” we are selling the fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate that we have on hand, cash or check only. Check the Happenings for a list of what’s available.

To volunteer to help curbside for our all-church drive-by, please email and I will pass your email along to Susan Turregano and Pam Stoll, who are planning this. To donate, just buy food and put the date on your calendar—hope to see you then!

ZOOM SOCIAL JUSTICE MEETING Tuesday Aug.4th, 7 PM, open to all and focusing on being a good neighbor and more—check next week’s Happenings for a zoom link and agenda.

Our Sewing Circle (16 strong) has now made over 2500 masks! During July, we’ve given over 400 to Hispanic outreach efforts, adding to the 100+ given in June. We still welcome new members to our circle! We’ll be making over 100 to give to church members and friends at our Drive By collection for TOTAL Ministries. Why do we sew? Two reasons.

  1. Masks are the most effective tool we have against covid19 –“your life is worth my time.”
  2. Sewing, doing something positive, becomes almost a meditation. It soothes the soul.

Email if you would like to join.

Alice Sutton, chair, Social Justice


February – March  2020 Social Justice Activities: Focus on Racism & Voting

All * events in UUCS Fellowship Hall. All are welcome!

In June, we’ll be voting for our focus issues for the coming year. Right now, we’re learning about them through our church services, programs, discussions, and actions. Participate in these as you can, and share your experiences with others in our congregation. Community activities by the League of Women Voters, the South Converse Neighborhood Assoc., and others give us many ways to learn, grow, and contribute!
Our six possible issues are listed at the end of this month’s activities.

Thursday, Feb. 6th, 6:00 Determined to Soar Art Exhibit. A talk by painter Nancy Corbin will open this exhibit of paintings celebrating the resilient and collaborative nature of women. Converse College, Milliken Art Gallery. Reception follows, and exhibit will be on display from February 6-27, 2020. The exhibition is located in the Milliken Art Gallery and is free of charge. Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 am-5:00pm, and Sundays 1:00-5:00.

The Drag Queen Story Hour Sun., Feb. 9th, 2:00-4:00, Fellowship Hall. We will have one or two police officers on site, plus a couple UU members to help direct traffic. Please wear your UU T-shirt (if you have one) and park by Hatcher House. Register to attend at

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 7:00 pmVoices in American Art: Lecture presented by the Johnson Collection, at Wofford College: Dr. Evie Terrono, Professor of Art History, challenges her students to see the vital intersection between ideas of American exceptionalism, and understandings of race, gender and politics in material culture and fine art. The presentation will be in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts on the Wofford Campus.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 12-2:00 pmLeague of Women Voters Birthday – 100 Years! Celebrate and Act! Join League members for coffee or tea and toast the LWV – and ourselves! Then we will act – writing postcards to our legislators telling them our state needs Fair Maps. Spill The Beans, 174 E. Main Street, Spartanburg (In the Aug Smith Building).

Saturday, Feb. 15th, 12:00. SCNA will meet in our fellowship hall to celebrate the unveiling of the two newest Lightbulb Art, in the South Converse Neighborhood. All are welcome!

Sunday, Feb. 16th. 12:15 Dialogue on social justice issues after our service led by Rev. Scott Neely

Mon., Feb. 17th. 2:00 at the main library, Barrett Room, or 6:00 pm at the CC Woodson Ctr. “The Other Boys of Summer”,a film that explores the history of Negro League Baseball. Spartanburg was host to the Spartanburg Sluggers from 1928 to 1952, a team in the Negro Textile League, and a number of well-known black players appeared at the Duncan Park Field. More at

ALSO Monday, February 17, 2020, 7:00 pmThe Life of Viola Desmond, Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond . Join us as John Abercrombie presents a lecture on the life of Viola Desmond, who is the face on the Canadian $10 bill. Hoechst-Celanese Room (downstairs) of the Spartanburg County Public Library.

Thurs. Feb. 20, 7:00. League of Women Voters’ celebration of 100th Birthday, Main Library.

Wed. Feb. 26th, 2:00 and Mar. 11th, 7:00 at Humanist Meeting. Film “Suppressed: The Right to Vote.” More about this important film at

Mon., Mar. 2, 6:00 for potluck, 6:30 for meeting. Speaking Down Barriers, at Arthur Center, 400 E. Kennedy. Visitors always welcome! More info at

Books, books: New at the library: “Amazons, abolitionists, and activists : a graphic history of women’s fight for their rights” by Kendall, Mikki. And info on more books at

The Social Justice Council has chosen our focus topic options for June 2020, a total of 3 local and 3 global issues for the congregation to learn about and consider between now and the vote at our annual congregational meeting in June 2020. The issues chosen will be our focus for the year July 2020-June 2021. There were many vitally important issues submitted by the congregation at our church service Nov. 3rd, at Social Justice (SJ) meetings, and also by email or notes on the SJ bulletin board. Our SJ meetings elicited intense discussions encompassing the passions of SJ members, the concern shown by congregational “share the plates,” as well as the recent collection of food and sundries for PASOS (Hispanic, poverty) and other actions such as the coat collection for the Atheists Helping the Homeless, the youth collections for animal welfare, etc. We also looked at which issues offered the best opportunities for action for our entire church community, i.e., what organizations we currently have connections with, for potential partnerships, and resources available from UUA. Our notes below begin to expand on the issues; we will continue to discuss ideas for actions and education for all of them.


  1. Racism. Address need to understand history from perspective of Native Americans, African Americans, and other ethnic groups. Activities: work with Speaking Down Barriers, join MLK Parade, work to put up lynching memorial/ remove any Confederate statue in Sptg, similar. Write letters to support legal actions. This ties into various poverty, education, and UUCS internal concerns. UUA and racial justice:
  2. Immigration and Hispanic Alliance. Treatment of refugees as well as children in custody. Many issues re changes of immigrants and longterm immigrants. We have many church members who are passionate about this, and overall support has been shown by contributions to PASOS food and sundry drive, share the plate for lawyers for immigrants and services for children in custody. We have an ongoing relationship with the Hispanic Alliance in Spartanburg. Actions could include more of above, English lessons for adults or homework help for children. Also relates to poverty, and more.
  3.  Being a Good Neighbor in our church community and in Spartanburg. More details on this one later.



  1. Also Immigration and Hispanic Alliance. Treatment of refugees as well as children in custody. Many issues re changes of immigrants and longterm immigrants. We have many church members who are passionate about this, and overall support has been shown by contributions to PASOS food and sundry drive, share the plate for lawyers for immigrants and services for children in custody. We have an ongoing relationship with the Hispanic Alliance in Spartanburg. Actions could include more of above, plus visit to detention center, plus political activity (letters, more). Also relates to poverty, climate change, and more.
    Unitarian Universalist Assoc. and immigration issues:
    And 2018
  2. Citizenship Action and Get out the Vote. Although local actions, e.g., to register citizens to vote,encourage youth to vote, and to inform ex-felons of their voting rights, are important, they may seem not meaningful enough in this conservative state. However, local experience in voter registration may be practice for participating in voter registration in neighboring states. Also, citizen action, particularly phone calls and letters, can be effective in influencing legislation that affects many causes, including S.C. legislative action on the environment (local initiatives banning plastic straws and bags threatened by upstate legislators), work licensure for Dreamers, solar energy, marijuana legislation (criminal law reform), gun violence, education, etc. A monthly or bimonthly letter-writing + campaign could be a part of this, first, as part of the Congregational Education on Issues, and then, after the election of 2020 is over. Our strong ties with League of Women Voters would give us partners for this work, as well as our ties to WREN and “green” groups, and, of course, our own experience with Spartanburg Earth Day. This UUA webpage offers a way of pulling together a lot of our concerns about voting and citizenship:
  3. Environmental Action. We have just completed a 4- year focus on the Spartanburg Earth Day Festival, and as we partner with USC Upstate and become their junior partner.. we have ongoing actions that relate to the commitment underlying the festival. Our global concern is reflected in ongoing local activities with the SC Aquarium on working against single use plastics, and with professors at USC Upstate on a project to help restaurants in Spartanburg become more environmentally friendly. Wider global action could include phone calls, petitions, letters, and demonstrations supporting/fighting legislation. This is another issue with lots of information for action from UUA, including at

Click here for Previous Social Justice News/Articles

« Back to Previous Page