Side with Love is an interfaith public advocacy campaign promoting respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Side with Love confronts issues of exclusion, oppression, and violence based on identity. With the goal of creating beloved community, the campaign pursues social change through advocacy, public witness, and speaking out in solidarity with those whose lives are publicly demeaned.
Our core issues of focus include, but are not limited to: LGBTQ equity, immigrant justice, racial justice and intersectional movement building.
The broad message, “standing on the side of love,” emerged as a rallying point for people of faith in 2004 in Massachusetts during their early efforts for fully inclusive marriage, and later during the effort to keep the marriage equality law and block Proposition 8, in California in 2008. Originally entitled Standing on the Side of Love, born out of that slogan and song by Rev. Jason Shelton of the same name, was launched after the 2008 shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, which was targeted because they are welcoming to LGBTQ people and have a liberal stance on many issues. The Knoxville community responded with an outpouring of love that inspired the leadership at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to launch our campaign in 2009, with the goal of harnessing love’s power to challenge exclusion, oppression, and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, race, religion, or any other identity. Since its inception, Standing on the Side of Love received feedback from disability rights activists within Unitarian Universalism about the exclusionary and ableist language of “standing”. Pushed forward by a Responsive Resolution at GA 2017, we committed to changing the name because of its history of injury and exclusion and to honor and respond to feedback by making the shift. We are excited to now be called Side with Love.
WHO IS the SIDE WITH LOVE (SWL) love team?
YOU! Side with Love began as an open-source campaign, and has spread throughout the Unitarian Universalist world as an important way that we show up in the world. Originally imagined as an interfaith campaign, we are most closely associated with Unitarian Universalism, but remain steadfastly open to people of all faiths, and people whose only faith is LOVE!
For many of us, this campaign is so much more than a slogan or logo; it is a values statement we take to heart and live by. Every time you wear your shirt, or a pin, or talk to someone about the values of the campaign, you are an important ambassador.
Additionally, the SWL Team has some dedicated staff members and advisors.
Everette Thompson, campaign MANAGER
Everette brings over 15 years of experience in community organizing, organizational development and movement building. He is a Southerner by birth and choice and has dedicated his career to strengthening organizational infrastructure in the South. He currently serves as a consultant specializing in intersectional movement strategy, faith organizing and grassroots leadership development. Everette has a wide array of experiences serving different types and forms of organizations. Most notably, Everette was the National Justice and Equity Coordinator for 350.org, an international climate change
organization, where he was charged with supporting the staff to integrate intentional justice and equity frameworks within the fabric of all operations and National Field Director for the Rights Working Group a national coalition of over 300 community-based groups and policy organizations dedicated to ending racial and bias profiling across the country.
His life’s work started during his time abolishing the death penalty in the South as the Regional Director of Amnesty International USA’s Southern Regional Office, based in Atlanta, GA and covered a region comprised of eleven states in the Southeastern U.S also known as the “death belt.” As Regional Director, Everette provided the overall strategic vision to meet AIUSA’s campaign goals in the South, traveled extensively throughout the South building strategic partnerships and coalitions and served as the lead spokesperson for AIUSA South. He is a Co-Trainer with Black Organizers for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD) and lead organizer with the Interfaith Organizing Initiative a project of Center for Race, Religion and Economic Democracy His greatest joy is his sun/son Elijah whom he is most pleased!
We also work very closely with other staff teams of the UUA. UUA colleagues including Michael Crumpler, Audra Friend, Janice Marie Johnson, Susan Leslie and Carey McDonald all contribute to our work of supporting UUs and partners to build a more just, creative, justice-centered multicultural world. In addition to working with the UUA, we also partner with the UU State Advocacy Networks, Interfaith Coalitions, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and many more.
Finally, SWL consults often with a number of advisors and supporters. Are you interested in becoming more involved with SWL? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! We also are able to host interns and fellows through SWL on a case-by-case basis. Please email email@example.com to learn more.