The UUCWI Justice Awareness and Advocacy group (JAA) has evolved from various group activities focused on racism, white privilege and the unfair practices in the criminal justice system. We began as a book study group in 2013, but within a few years also found ourselves engaging in conversations with legislators, criminal justice reform advocates and individuals who held responsible positions in our criminal justice system. We also explored racism and white privilege on a deeper level. In September 2017, we formally acknowledged we had moved beyond just reading and listening, and became the Justice Awareness and Advocacy group, guided by the following mission statement:

ScalesRecognizing that it is our ’silence and neutrality’ that allows the status quo of injustices to continue, the Justice Awareness & Advocacy (JAA) group focuses on issues of racism, white privilege and the unfair practices in our criminal justice system. Through education, advocacy and action we are committed to supporting redress of these injustices.

JAA meets at 7pm on the 1st Thursday of each month at UUCWI. These meetings are devoted to: (1) planning activities & educational programs that raise awareness of the role racism & white privilege play in creating & sustaining unfair practices in the criminal justice system and elsewhere in our society and which offer us opportunities to advocate for changes that support redress of these injustices, and (2) updating ourselves on the legislative and local government issues relating to criminal justice reform.

Additionally, we have a working group on Restorative Justice, which meets separately and which includes individuals from other groups on Whidbey Island who are specifically interested in our efforts to bring restorative justice practices to Whidbey Island.

Finally, we participate quarterly in Social Environmental Justice Council meetings, and assist in carrying out ‘umbrella’ level responsibilities of the Council such as identifying recipients of Dedicated Offerings and submitting relevant justice news items to UUCWI’s weekly eNews.

Educational programs planned are open to all who are interested, including those who are not members of UUCWI. If registration is required for a program, and the number of participants needs to be capped, Congregation members and Friends are offered the first opportunity to register before registration is opened up to others in our Whidbey community.

Advocacy activities grow out of our ongoing monthly group discussions.

For information about other social/ environmental justice activities ongoing at UUCWI, please visit the Social Environmental Justice Council website page.

For information about the specific books and other resources that provide the foundation for JAA’s work, click here.

If you are interested in the issues our group addresses and want to consider getting involved in our efforts, email us at admin@uucwi.org.    We would love to hear from you!