UUANI (Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois) is organized to build power among UU congregations in Illinois, in order to put our UU values into meaningful, concrete far-reaching action toward social justice. We work collectively with each other and collaboratively with effective partner organizations to influence the creation of meaningful social change toward justice, beloved community, and a healthy planet.
to listen with respect, and to hold ourselves accountable, to each other, our deepest selves, our UU principles, the earth, and those on the margins of society;
to continually work to develop our skills and our effectiveness;
to focus our efforts where we can make a real difference, and to judge our efforts by our impact on people and the planet;
to work to build energy, capacity, and power in our congregations;
to work with other organizations who share our commitment to the common good.
Rev. Scott Aaseng is the new Director of UUANI.
2015-16 Board members include Dale Griffin (Evanston), Rich Pokorny (Oak Park), Kaiya Iverson (DuPage), Bob Grosse (Bloomington), Tracey Olson Potthoff (Hinsdale), Merritt Kanan (Chalice Connections), Rev. Bill Sasso (Carbondale).
An Action Council represents a wider gathering focused on selecting and implementing campaign issues. Representatives from congregations are part of the Action Council. A congregation becomes part of UUANI when they send a member to the Action Council. In January 2016, these congregations had representatives on the Action Council: Bloomington, Carbondale, Beverly (Chicago), First Chicago, Second Chicago, Third Chicago, Deerfield (North Shore), Evanston, Hinsdale, Naperville (DuPage), Oak Park (Unity Temple), Palatine, Park Forest, Peoria, Springfield, Chalice Connections.
The Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI) is a newly-formed (2013) organization of over twenty Unitarian Universalist congregations across the state of Illinois, created to be a platform for putting our UU values into action.
Our first effort was to add our voices to the campaign for marriage equality in Illinois, mobilizing over 300 UUs from 23 congregations for the March on Springfield for marriage Equality in October 2013. Our “Standing on the Side of Love” banners were visible throughout the crowd of thousands. Marriage Equality was won for Illinois on November 5, 2013.
Congregations were canvassed to help UUANI identify issues to focus on, and that of economic injustice was chosen for 2014. We joined forces with Raise Illinois and its affiliates to campaign to raise the minimum wage in Illinois. Talking to legislators through the winter and converging on Springfield in the spring, we won the campaign on May 27 to put a referendum to raise the minimum wage on the Illinois ballot November 4, 2014.
The minimum wage referendum passed! But the legislature failed to enact it — however, we worked with a more successful campaign in Chicago to raise the minimum wage to $15 and that passed and was implemented. We began work on the third arm of our congregational mandate, to advocate for a cleaner environment and a responsible stewardship of the earth. We joined with Clean Jobs Illinois to support a bill developing the clean energy resources of air, wind, and water, aligned with a mandate to create jobs in the clean power sector and provide training. That bill languishes as the Illinois legislature fought most of the year about how to fund an increasingly deficit budget without raising taxes. We continue supporting a Fair Tax bill, spearheaded by Sen Don Harmon. We have aligned with Community Renewal Society, a faith-based organization working effectively for racial and economic justice by direct legislative advocacy.
UUANI issues for 2016 are these:
The Environment: We will continue to work with Clean Jobs Illinois to support the crafting of responsible Clean Power legislation.
Economic justice/income inequality
We are supporting the Fair Tax, which will be a referendum on the fall ballot calling for an emendation to the state constitution to mandate a graduated income tax.
Race relations/prison ministry/Black Lives Matter movement
We will support clear legislation easing race relations involving people caught in the criminal justice system, including police profiling. Other issues may concern the abolition or transformation of the prison system.