First Parish has a long history of dedication to peace, equality, and fairness. Members of the congregation continue this tradition of promoting positive social change.  We give blood and donate food. and work toward racial equity.  We educate ourselves about climate change, issues of diversity, and economic justice. First Parish’s Social Justice Committee is the central resource and conduit for social justice work that expresses the values, concerns, and interests of the congregation. The Social Justice Committee helps to support our congregation’s belief in living our faith in a variety of ways including:

  • Administers Giving First program
  • Coordinates Living Our Faith and Shinn (special speakers) Programs
  • Holds annual Social Justice Dinner
  • Logistically and financially supports action groups and individual Social Justice projects
  • Promotes opportunities for social justice/social action work in the community
  • Raises operating funds annually through Pie Palace
  • Hosts special social justice related events such as Windborne Concert, Haitian Art Sale, educational events
  • Administers a grant program to support a variety of social justice actions.

Committee Members: Mary Cummings and Maureen Dolan (Co-Chairs), Linda Brown, Shevawn Hardesty, Alan Linov, Allan Schramm, Mary Lou Solliday and Anne Wright For further information please email or visit our table in the Vestry after services.

Responses from the Congregation at Living Our Faith Service on Jan. 26, 2020

We had three outstanding speakers who spoke about how they live their faith through social justice action:  Heidi Swarts spoke about her activism on women’s issues, including violence against women; Gabriella Hakim spoke about her work as an abortion counselor; and David Desjardins spoke about his volunteer work helping immigrants learn English.   We wanted to give all of you an opportunity to say how you have participated in social justice actions. We are hoping that by publishing your activity here, connections can be made.  If you see someone involved in an activity that you might like to try, speak with them during coffee hour and maybe you will be inspired to get involved in a new social justice action.  If anyone didn’t get included and would like their activity listed, let us know and we will add you.

  • Foodlink, Mothers Out Front, training midwives – Ann Abbott
  • At First Parish – Racial Justice Coordinating Committee, Second Minister Search, Usher
  • Board Member Ellmore Bolling Foundation, Cambridge Indivisible, Participating Budgeting – Lois Fine
  • I am learning Spanish in order to be more welcoming and understanding – Dorothy Maybout
  • Blood Drive Publicity and Recruitment, Arlington Land Steward (conservation), Pie Palace and other events at church – Cybille MacDonald
  • Calling legislators about passing various bills related to peace, disarmament, environmentalism, incarceration and more; teaching OWL, tutoring high school students in college essay writing with 826 Boston; playing music at rallies/protests with BABAM – Lynn Rosenbaum
  • MLK Day of Service, church activities – Walter Hopwood
  • Black Lives Matter, climate justice, immigration justice, trans rights, pro-choice rights – Peggy Dougherty
  • Black Lives Matter, First Parish Cultural Appropriation Committee – Ricky Carter
  • Mothers Out Front, Arlington Gas Leaks Task Force, Regional Gas Leaks Initiative, ARCs – Anne Wright
  • ARCs, hosted panel for nonbinary nursing health care – Alice Austin
  • Mothers Out Front, Climate Action – Andrea Winslow
  • Teacher’s Union contract work, anti-racist and restorative justice work in my classroom – Alison Conner
  • Climate Protection and Climate Justice – John Anderson
  • Arlington Eats and various Social Justice work at First Parish – Maureen Dolan
  • Climate Action – Conor Anderson
  • My class made bread and sandwiches and sorted clothes for the homeless – Katie Limb
  • Ending mass incarceration, racial justice, climate change and ecological sustainability, gay/lesbian equality starting in 1984, antiwar and nuclear weapons proliferation, feminism as a way of life – Lori Kenschaft
  • Work at a nonprofit that develops and implements education services for underserved communities – Lynn Baldridge
  • Civil Rights Committee and MLK event helping with music, tutor English language learners – Cheri Minton
  • Volunteer at the Thompson School (Title One) 3 times per week – Cathy Desjardins
  • Safe Communities Act, Arlington’s Sanctuary Trust Act, Racial Justice Coordinating Committee, Arlington Fights Racism, ARCs, Superintendant Diversity Advisory Group – Lynette Martyn
  • Stratton Diversity Equity and Inclusion Group, bringing awareness to weight bias/weight discrimination, helping children with sensory needs – Nicole Patience
  • Bread for the World, Homelessness and domestic violence, environmental groups, health care policy (universal health care), mass incarceration – Joanne Pohl.
  • Immigrants, women’s reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood, Women’s Refuge Commission, 1000 Friends of Oregon, environmental protection, Audubon Society – Julia Matthews
  • Board Member at Waltham Family School, an intergenerational literacy program for English learning pre-schoolers and their families, Arlington Fights Racism – Kate Tranquada
  • Court-watcher in Boston Municipal Court for the ACLU – Barbara McCauley
  • UU The Vote, Social Justice Committee, Volunteer tutor, Education Advocate, Citizens for Public Schools – Mary Cummings
  • Led interactive workshops on diversity and inclusion, titled “The Making of an Outsider” – Esther Kingston-Mann
  • Walking in Arlington – land use justice and walking justice group, walkability and walking safety, transiit and land use  – Rachael Stark
  • Jobs Not Jails rally, Gun Buyback program, Action Sunday, Black lives Matter, Eco-walk art Reuse Event organizer, Ending Mass Incarceration, Women and Human Trafficking, Unpacking Whiteness, Racial Justice Coordinating Committee – Clarissa Rodriguez
  • Anti-War during Vietnam, women’s movement, food co-op movement, climate justice – Joyce Thompson
  • Immigrants’ rights, ARCs, human rights through Amnesty International’s letter writing campaigns, visited State House and spoke to Sean Garbally about adult educaiton and criminal justice – Joanna Pushee
  • Sing with Bang on a Can Allstars and Chorus pro Musical

Social Justice Working Groups

  • Action Weekend Coordinating Committee:,  Chair, Melissa Berczuk
  • Blood Drive:, Chair, John Hodges
  • Climate Action Working Group:,            Co-chairs, John Anderson and Alan Linov
  • Cluster of Refugee Immigration Ministry (ArCS):,   Chair Eric Segal
  • Emergent Issues Working Group:,  Chair, Alan Linov
  • Education Justice Working Group,   Chair, Mary Cummings
  • Racial Justice Coordinating Committee: Chair,, Chair, Lois Fine
  • UU Urban Ministry:, Co-chairs Maryglenn Vincens and Edward Loveall
  • UU The Vote, Chair, Mary Cummings

  If you would like to participate in or just learn more about First Parish Social Justice Actions, contact the Social Justice Committee at or see us at our table during coffee hours.