Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

Rev. Marti Keller

Covering a Movement

Near the top of my list of must do errands this past weekend was a stop at the national chain bookstore where I was reasonably certain I could pick up a copy of Time magazine. I was looking forward to owning the issue with a single pink pussy hat on the front cover, and the headline: “The Resistance Rises: How a March Become a Movement.” A movement is what I hoped would happen as a result of both the conscientious organization and overflowing spontaneity that went into the DC gathering (not really a march, it turned out, due to the massive crowd) and the other marches – big and small – all over the country and the world. My perhaps overly optimistic expectation was that we would not just march for a few hours but mobilize for as long as it is going to take to overcome: the 60,000 people, including my husband, who turned out for the one in Atlanta which started at the entrance of the Civil and Human Rights Center; the 150,000 people, including my daughter-in-law and three year old granddaughter, in Boston; the 25,000 people, including my daughter, in San Jose, one of three in the San Francisco Bay area.  The small but courageous coterie of ex pats in Singapore, including my oldest son. The several million who showed up. Continue reading

All Set?

UUWF members march on Washington in 1963

In April 1989, my then-14-year-old daughter, 65-year-old mother, and I flew from California to Washington, DC for the National Organization for Women’s March for Women’s Lives. I remember camping out with my sister-in-law and elderly aunt in my youngest brother’s finished basement in Takoma Park, MD. Only a couple of us had beds. The rest slept in borrowed sleeping bags on the carpeted floor.

I remember it was colder that April than I had expected. It always seemed colder in our nation’s capital than back home. I remember marching in slow motion, looking for restrooms, looking for pay phone booths. It was not, however, my first such large-scale march, coming from a liberal, religious Unitarian, and political family where going on a march (civil rights, anti-nuclear weapons, anti-Vietnam War) was nearly as common an activity as miniature golf or San Francisco Giants games. So I had been on quite a few justice and peace demonstrations before – though none as large, some half a million people – and there would be quite a few after: marches opposing other wars, annual Pride marches and parades.

But I have not chosen to go on other DC women’s pro-choice or other rights marches. Not until this coming Saturday, January 21, 2017. It was only a few days after the presidential election when I decided to attend what is simply called the Women’s March. I could not miss a chance to be in solidarity with – and feel the strength of – other women and their allies who were stunned as I was by the election outcome and scared for the future of reproductive justice and other human rights of women. Continue reading

Abnormal as Normal

Julie Taylor, president of the UU Trauma Response Ministry

Julie Taylor, president of the UU Trauma Response Ministry

The night of the 2016 presidential election the results came in slowly, and for so many of us, shockingly. I excused myself from a small gathering and went home to bed, leaving it to my husband to keep watching—letting me know when the results were horribly clear. After that, and for days after, I slept very little; some nights not much at all.

The next morning I drove 50 miles to the monthly meeting of UU religious professionals, where I had been previously scheduled to lead a conversation of our post-election opportunities to bring our purposes and principles, our faith values, into intersectional public witness work. Values like inherent worth and dignity, justice and compassion, the right of conscience, the democratic process. Not unexpectedly, it was a somber gathering with more than a few tears and flashes of righteous anger. Continue reading

What’s Your Plan?

vote-countsI live in a county in a state where early voting opened October 17th in one location, and in multiple locations after Halloween. So I took advantage of casting my ballot the first day. I stood in a longish line with a diverse group of eligible adults, reflecting the changing racial and age demographics of my Southern metro area.

As soon as I finished voting, got my “I Voted” sticker, turned out of the parking lot of the building where we usually come to register cars in person, pay fines, or dispute water bills — I felt relieved. I had followed this presidential election nonstop for over a year, riveted to cable news political shows every evening and many Sunday mornings when I wasn’t preaching. I was experiencing much the same responses as when I watch hurricane and other natural disaster coverage nonstop over a period of days. I was overwrought, exhausted. Continue reading

What’s At Stake for Women (Part 2)

A recent self-care Monday, during which I had all my moles and skin tags and dark spots checked out and this year’s flu shot injected, led to another preventive discovery. In the clinic waiting room, I came across the September 26, 2016 issue of Women’s Health magazine, chock full of the usual advice on how to deal with foot pain, master the podium for public speaking, and choose the latest shades of make-up (as well as an intro to eating paleo). Plus a well-timed article, put together by journalists and policy experts in the arena of women’s health and wellness, exploring “what if” the most dramatic gender-related proposals that have been put forth by candidates this election cycle actually came to pass. How might this figure in the choices women voters will make on women-immigrationor before Nov. 8th?

Last week’s blog laid out the consequences of completely repealing the Affordable Care Act or of declaring abortion to be illegal. There would be huge costs in terms of sicker women and dangerously unregulated medical procedures. This week let’s take a look, based on the opinions of dozens of experts who were interviewed, at what is at stake for women around immigration. Again, if the most extreme proposed measures were adopted, the financial and human costs would be high and the damages great. Continue reading

Leaping From Our Spheres

Rev. Marti KellerDon’t miss the “little gems full of both passion and facts” in the Blog of UUWF’s Affiliated Minister, Rev. Marti Keller.

UUWF’s Affiliated Ministry