Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario

Vice President for Recruitment and Outreach as of June 2017

Marissa says:

I have been involved in the UU community since I was around 15 years old; I first became involved through social justice youth organizing in Pacific SW District. Following that, in 2005, I served as a Youth Ministry Associate for the Youth Office and in 2012, I served as the Welcome / Outreach Coordinator for the UU Congregation in Brookline, MA. For years, I was actively involved with DRUUMM, served as the Youth Observer with the UUSC, and currently serve as a trainer with the UU College of Social Justice.

I recently co-led a trip to Nicaragua, focusing on Fair Trade within the coffee industry. One of the organizations we visited was with FEM (or the Foundation of Women) a feminist collective that directly organizes peasant farmers and promotes the “ideological, economic, and political empowerment” of women in the country. In all of my work with the CSJ, I have actively curated spaces for participants, particularly women, to explore their spiritual needs, as it relates to social justice, human rights, and dismantling patriarchy and white supremacy.

In my work as the founding Executive Director of Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE), we consider ourselves a feminist organization that works to educate young people around their human rights, particularly focusing on women’s rights. Specifically, we use the arts to provide youth with a space to express their experiences around human rights and what it means when those rights are violated in their own lives and in the lives of their communities. In this work, our organization has supported young women in amplifying their voices around sexism, discrimination, and street harassment. We are also committed to supporting incarcerated young women. While the January 2017 Women’s March was historic, ARTE realized that not all women, specifically those incarcerated were able to participate and lost their right to civically engage. Therefore, I made a personal commitment to not attend the march and instead with my team, went to Rikers jail and led a women’s rights workshop. By June 2017, we organized a mural designed by this group of incarcerated women focusing on five global women’s rights leaders.

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