1500 Harvard St NW (@16th), Washington DC 20009 202.332.5266 allsouls@allsouls.ws

Social Justice

Join us as we counter white supremacy, fight climate change, protect voting rights, witness border injustices, and more.

All Souls is called to be a force for love and justice in our local community, our nation, and in our world. In all our social justice ministries, we strive to be effective, spiritually grounded, and accountable to the communities most impacted by oppression. We believe that social transformation and personal transformation are linked. If we want to change the world, we must be willing to change ourselves.

We welcome everyone to be part of the social justice ministry of All Souls. Below is a list of our groups and our guiding values. Contact Minister of Social Justice Rev. Rob Keithan (rkeithan@allsouls.ws; 202.517.1468) for more information and to get involved.

Our Ministries

The mission of our 8th Principle Task Force is to implement anti-racism tools and practices toward institutional cultural change that best supports “a journey toward spiritual wholeness by building a diverse, multicultural ‘Beloved Community’ that accountably dismantles racism and other oppressions” (as stated in the proposed 8th Principle for the Unitarian Universalist Association and adopted by All Souls).

The Transformation Team is an ad hoc committee of the Board of Trustees tasked with holding the church’s vision of multicultural ministry and shepherding a transformation process to achieve that in a way that is healthy, lasting, and ever-growing. The Team is a structure for accountability that links the Board of Trustees as policy makers with the congregation’s input on institutional changes. The transformation process is comprehensive, influencing all aspects of what it means to be a covenantal worshiping, justice-seeking community.

The Reeb Project for Voting Rights is dedicated to increasing voter participation. We work in solidarity with other UU congregations and progressive partner organizations that center the leadership of people of color, work in communities with historically low voter participation, and advocate for changes to oppressive voting laws. Since our launch in 2013 (at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington), we have called, met, registered, and mobilized thousands of voters in Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We also support full representation and voting rights for the District of Columbia. Read more.

The Migrant Solidarity Team is dedicated to making our community, city, and country a safe and welcoming place for all people, regardless of immigration status. We are dedicated to educating ourselves and the congregation, providing direct support for people in need, and connecting All Souls congregants with volunteer opportunities with local organizations serving migrants, and advocating for immigration and refugee policies that are consistent with our UU principles.

We express our commitment to building a Beloved Community by welcoming all immigrants and English-language learners in the DC area who wish to improve their speaking and listening skills. Our English as a Second Language program focuses on conversation and pronunciation, has a high teacher/student ratio, and holds classes on Sundays from 1 to 3 pm, outside of the work week. We hold teacher training/orientation before each semester starts. In addition to volunteer teachers, we also appreciate volunteers who can help promote the program and recruit new students.

The Green Souls educate, inspire, and create opportunities for All Souls to lead more environmentally sustainable, just and spirit-filled lives through Environmental and Climate justice. Activities and issues include marches/rallies, adult spiritual development classes that explore ways to protect our planet, supporting DC divestment from fossil fuels, greening our church, ethical eating, Earth Day events, and more. 

The Reproductive Justice Initiative’s mission is to love, empower, respect, and care for cis-women and girls, and trans*/non-binary people in our church and greater community as they make their own choices about their bodies, their sexuality and child-bearing, and as they strive to raise children in safe, healthy, supportive communities. Since reproductive justice focuses on movement building, and how the intersection of people’s identities and lived experiences are impacted by systems of oppression or power dynamics that lead to reproductive oppression, we work closely with community groups that center the needs and leadership of impacted people.

Working to create and protect affordable housing is one of the longest-standing priorities of All Souls Church. The Housing Ministry fights for affordable housing through established church groups, such as the All Souls Housing Corporation (a nonprofit that helped build Columbia Heights Village on 14th St) as well as by building partnerships with community groups like the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN). The ministry also works to educate itself, the congregation, and the larger community about the dynamics of affordability, development, gentrification, politics, and racism in Washington, DC.

Formed in 2015, the Haitian NGO Empowerment Committee is dedicated to working in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The work focuses on organizing partnerships with other Unitarian Universalist organizations in order to support local Haitian NGOs in the development of their own community. In particular, we seek to find and develop technical assistance in the areas of proposal writing, fundraising, creation of promotional materials, recruit members, and organize trips to Haiti to promote sustainable development.

The Heiwa Peace Project carries out a ministry of peace and reconciliation through a series of unique programs and relationships dating back to 1947, when the children of All Souls and the students of Honkawa Elementary School (in Hiroshima) responded to the inhumanity of the atomic bombs through artwork now known as the Hiroshima Children’s Drawings. We also maintain a unique interfaith, multicultural partnership with the Japanese Buddhist Rissho Kosei-kai Hiroshima Dharma Center in order to promote peaceful cooperation in our time. Read more here.

Established in 1973 through a generous donation from Earl and Meta Beckner, the Beckner Advancement Fund helps make the community around the church more cohesive, attractive, and forward-looking, while fostering human rights and dignity. The fund supports internal and external efforts to advance social justice, distributing over $100,000 in grants annually. Read more.

Washington Interfaith Network . . .

Our Values

We seek to build a congregation, community, and world that truly reflects the values of Beloved Community. For this to happen, we must embody these values in everything we do. Our means must reflect our ends.

Therefore, in the All Souls Social Justice Ministry, we strive to be:

Counter-Oppressive and Accountable. We will dismantle systemic racism and other forms of oppression in ways that are accountable to the communities and groups most impacted.

Authentically Multicultural. Recognizing that there is rarely
a single “right” way to be or to do things, we must know how
to welcome, affirm, and work with different cultures and cultural expressions both within and beyond the congregation.

Intersectional. We view different issues/movements as important and interrelated—not in competition with each other.

Relational. We will foster deeper connections among people
in the congregation—including across generations—as well as helping participants develop genuine connections across differences with the people in the community that we partner with and/or serve. We will work with UU congregations, interfaith partners, and secular organizations.

Spiritually-grounded. We will be rooted in our
Unitarian Universalist faith and our theology of love.

Inclusive and Accessible. We will have multiple entry points,
a broad range of activities, minimal bureaucracy, and clear communication so that families and individuals of all ages can find easy and meaningful ways to be involved.

Focused yet Flexible. Our work will be concentrated enough to be effective, yet adaptable enough to respond to crises, disasters, and other events that call for an immediate action.

Effective. The ministry and all social justice activities will have clear goals, strategies, and metrics for making an impact on the root causes of system injustice, coupled with regular communication to the congregation about our successes and challenges. Building relationships and capacity for future work are recognized as key components of effectiveness.

Nourishing. We will make the work fun, meaningful, and energizing. It should help people find and follow their passion(s) for justice, whether that gets lived out within or beyond the congregation.

Nurturing of Leaders and Skills. We will identify new participants and leaders, build expertise, and help people find ways to serve that are right for them.

Sustainable. We will have the planning, determination, and resilience for the work to continue over time. No one wins when people burn out.

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