Just Acts: A Season of Resistance and Creative Maladjustment—Starting Now

Dear , 
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” A month after the assassination of President John Kennedy and before his civil rights legislation had passed, King said:

There are certain things in our nation and in the world to which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all people of good‐will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self‐defeating effects of physical violence…there is need for men and women who will be as creatively maladjusted as the prophet Amos. Who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Today we are also in a time of great turmoil in our nation. We are being called to resist the installation of an administration that utilizes the rhetoric of hate and bigotry to build its base, calls for large-scale repression and wide-spread human rights abuses, and is putting together a cabinet whose policies will further establish structural racism and oppression in our national policies and culture. The strength of our resistance will be a measure of our faith.

This past Wednesday in Washington, DC, I had the honor of standing with Rev. William Barber, II, Khizr Khan, and clergy from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and our UU faith traditions at a press conference who together denounced President-Elect Trump’s ‘ Cabinet of Bigotry.’ Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block of Bend the Arc said, “We don’t get to choose the historical moment we live in but we do get to choose how we respond. We were made for this moment. We must resist.”

On the same day, UUA President Rev. Peter Morales put out a call to UU ministers to prepare for sanctuary and resistance and over fifty UU clergy and leaders joined a multi-faith, multiracial “We Say Enough” call.

Many UUs are reporting that they will be out at their State Capitols on this coming Monday morning, Dec. 19th, at defending democracy rallies as the Electoral College votes.

On December 20th (at Noon PT, 3 pm ET) there will be a PICO Network call on expanding sanctuary and organizing. Register here.

On Dec. 31st, Rev. William Barber’s coalition, Repairers of the Breach, will be holding a “Standing Down is Not an Option Moral Watch Night Service” on New Year’s Eve. The watch night service grows out of “The Revival: Time for A Moral Revolution of Values” national 22-state tour, and calls on the nation to resist extremism and join the movement to advance state-based moral public policy agendas. During the service, three moral declarations will be outlined including:

  1. A call for people of conscience to make a moral decision to enlist in the fight against systemic racism, poverty, child poverty, extremism, denial of healthcare, voter suppression, environmental injustice, xenophobia, unchecked militarism, homophobia, transphobia, and our current moment in history;
  2. A call for a race and poverty audit of America;
  3. A call for a national Moral Revival Poor People’s Campaign in 2017 and 2018 demanding that we address systemic policy-based racism, poverty, healthcare, and xenophobia.

The service, being held at the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC, will be broadcast nationally via livestream at 10 pm ET. It will include sermons and testimonies from leaders of various social justice struggles, and people who have been personally impacted by injustice. Religious leaders, including UUs, will commit not to retreat in this moment, and to stand up for state-based moral public policy agendas and our communities.

Plan a watch party at your congregation, community center or home. You’ll find more information, promotional video, flyer, and livestream link here.

This service will help us get ready for a season of resistance beginning in January and moving forward.

Broad intersectional movements are coming together to resist on these key dates:

  • January 10th -11th confirmation hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
  • A week of action from Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend January 14th-16th – January 20th.
  • Saturday, January 14th actions will focus on Sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and targeted activists—holding Sanctuary cities to their word and calling others to join them. 
  • MLK Sunday and Monday will focus on resistance, resilience and our vision for a world where all can thrive with sermons, events and actions. 
  • January 16th Launch of 30 Days of Love 2017—Fortifying the Movement.
  • Faith leaders are planning a Fast4Power that week with an emphasis on January 20th. 
  • January 21st Women’s March on Washington and Teach-Ins at All Souls Unitarian Church, Washington, DC. 

Many UU state action networks and other UU groups and congregations are organizing for the Women’s March on Washington. UUSJ (UUs for Social Justice in the National Capital Region) is working on a meet up point for UUs.

All Souls Unitarian Church will be holding teach-ins that afternoon and evening, “focused on the challenges facing our democracy and the basic rights of women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and the environment we need to survive. The teach-in will be grassroots organizing-focused, but open to people who are new to progressive movements, with space for training at different levels of engagement. January 21st is the anniversary of the disastrous 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United ruling. The threats to our democracy and our communities are far greater now.”

We will be sending out more information to you as we get more details but want to help you to plan and be ready for resistance now. This is a time when we need to recruit many people into resistance, expand sanctuary and defense networks, be nimble and agile, open to experimentation, and yes, spiritually and creatively maladjusted.

As part of building our community of resistance, please let us know what you are doing and post your actions on our new Show the Love map. We have resources for resistance there and will continue to update them. We welcome and need your suggestions, your stories, and your engagement. And we ask that you give generously to support the UUA to strengthen our movement now.

In solidarity,


Susan Leslie
UUA Congregational Advocacy and Witness Director
Multicultural Growth & Witness Staff Team

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Central East Region of the UUA
100 W 10th Street Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States