Activism grounded in faith: Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, Rev. Frances Deverell -- president of the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice -- talks about the faith tradition from which she comes and the network of activists that she leads.

Most often, when people hear the phrase "religious activist" in 21st-century North America, what immediately comes to mind is things like people harassing women who are exercising autonomy over their bodies at abortion climics, or dedicated efforts to shore up the erasure and denigration of queer people in school curriculum. Yet there are also long histories, spanning many faiths and many denominations, of struggles for justice and liberaiton that are rooted in faith. The Unitarian Universalist church began as a Christian demonimation during the the period of the reformation in Europe, but in the centuries since has become a non-Christian, creedless faith with a decidedly progressive flavour. The Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, while not officially affiliated with the denomination, is an organization of activists who root their social change activities in that faith tradition. Founded in Toronto by Unitarians appalled by the actions of the right-wing provincial government of the late 1990s, it now spans the country and tackles multiple issues. Rev. Deverell is the elected president of the group, and she talks with me about the organization, some of the issues in which they are involved, and the connections she sees between faith and social justice.

To learn more about Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, you can visit their website here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show's page on rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show's theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.