Our Texas UU voice has been missing on issues such as GLBT rights, the environment, immigration, education, voting rights, healthcare, and many other issues that are considered both locally, and in the Texas Legislature and its committees. It’s time for Unitarian Universalists to speak out based on our liberal religious viewpoints. TXUUJM will provide a vehicle for our congregations and the members of our association to make a difference in our state and to help those learning about Unitarian Universalism see the values for which we stand.
The purpose of TXUUJM is to educate the members of our Unitarian Universalist congregations on important public policy issues that may impact the values and lives of our members.
The TXUUJM Education Network will be a 501(c)(3) designated educational nonprofit organization working in tandem with a 501(c)(4) designated nonprofit. A Steering Committee will guide the activity of the TXUUJM and will solicit input from an Advisory Board made up of members and ministers across the state of Texas. An Executive Director will coordinate and implement the policies and plans of the Steering Committee.
The Advisory Board will allow for two members from each Texas Unitarian Universalist congregation. Members of the advisory board will work within their own churches, as well as with other churches in their clusters, through their social justice and other related committees, to conduct small group conversations and individual meetings. These meetings will be used to identify issues and to help educate congregational members on effective advocacy.
Advisory Board Members will be ambassadors of the TXUUJM and will work to ensure that church membership dues are paid and a high level of individual membership is encouraged.
The Steering Committee will be made up of seven volunteer members including roughly equal numbers of clergy and lay members. Terms of office are for three year terms renewable for a second term. The Steering Committee members will meet annually in the fall to assess progress from the previous year and to plan the succeeding year’s work. Between annual face-to-face meetings, the full Advisory Board will collaborate and conduct geographically dispersed meetings to conduct its business.
The Steering Committee shall:
- Elect the Steering Committee Chair.
- Develop the overall program of the Texas UU Justice Ministry, including the selection of target priorities and the identification of issues as well as strategies to address them.
- Write and adopt bylaws for the organization.
- Recruit and hire the Executive Director.
- Provide direction, advice, and assistance to the Executive Director.
- Promote organizational sustainability and approve relevant plans and budgets.
- Make regular reports to the Advisory Board.
- Coordinate efforts with sympathetic organizations.
To harness more power for policy change TXUUJM encourages Texas UU Congregations to also join their local Texas Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) organization and organizations such as Texas Impact.
The Texas IAF network is a statewide coalition of congregations, unions and schools from many faith traditions. Their mission is to work for the common good through progressive advocacy on issues that impact their members. Eight of our Texas UU churches are already part of this Statewide Network and working to represent the interests of all the families of Texas.
Texas Impact is a statewide religious grassroots network whose members include individuals, congregations, and governing bodies of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Texas Impact exists to advance state public policies that are consistent with universally held social principles of the Abrahamic traditions.
- Texas UU congregations will understand the importance of having a Texas UU Justice Ministry and are willing to actively participate.
- Texas UU congregations will be talking with each other and building relationships.
- We will build relationships with our representatives by securing meetings and having purposeful dialogues with them.
- Congregations will be informed about key issues, registered to vote, and coordinating with sympathetic organizations.
- We will hold actions on issues important to us as a statewide network.
- We will build stronger Unitarian Universalist social justice ministries at the congregational level.
- We will have a visible and a vocal presence in our cities and at the state legislature.
- We will transmit timely information to clergy and lay leaders on issues important to Unitarian Universalists.
- We will be making a difference on the specific issues we select.
- Unitarian Universalists will be valued among partner organizations for our contributions.