Q: Why did the name the change?
A: Since its inception, Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) received feedback from disability rights activists within Unitarian Universalism about the exclusionary and ableist language of “standing”. Some UUs have already adapted the phrase to remove standing. We have seen people adapt t-shirts, banners, and the song that inspired the campaign’s name. 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.
Additionally, we recognize that Side with Love has grown and changed in many ways in the eight years since it was started as a program of the UUA. In changing the name, we are taking the opportunity to refocus this effort on where SWL can be most effective in today's social justice climate: powerful spiritual framing for liberation and direct partnership and support of front-line community activists and organizers.
Q: Why side with love?
A: Our faith demands we affirm and articulate that we are indeed on a side—actively, proudly, consistently. As Rev. Suzanne Fast said, to Side With Love decisively shifts our side from a noun to a directive and verb.
Q: What does it mean spiritually to “side with love”?
A: Side with Love is an invitation and a challenge. It is an opportunity to firmly name what we are for and against. To recognize that as we seek to embody universalism we commit to resisting oppression. A recognition that in many moments there are two sides: one of love and one of oppression and violence. We are always bound up in messy webs alongside even those who perpetrate hate. And daily, we choose whether we are siding with love, freedom, liberation, reparations, and integrity or whether we are siding with the violence of white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, heterosexism.
Side with Love raises provocative spiritual questions including “When have I sided with love? When have I shirked siding with love? When have I chosen the side of comfort, apathy, despair, and acquiescence instead of the side of faith, risk, sacrifice, and resistance?”
Florence Reece, a white union organizer, wrote “Which Side Are You On?” in the 1930s amidst a violent struggle for the rights of miners in Harlan County, Kentucky. People have sung versions of it in the streets ever since, most recently renewed and updated by the Dream Defenders, BYP100 and other organizers in the Movement for Black Lives.
They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there
Which side are you on my people? Which side are you on?
We answer that question with our lives. May we Side with Love.
Q: What does this mean for our work around disability, ability and access?
We see this as an important opportunity to expand, and deepen our understanding of the ways ableism shows up within the justice and spiritual communities in which we participate, create and cultivate. The Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Program, EqUUal Access, and a Message on WorshipLab from Rev Suzanne Fast can help you as you unpack the ableism within your congregation.
Q: Who was part of this process?
Staff from the UUA worked on the name change proposal in collaboration with the authors of the Responsive Resolution as well as EqUUal Access. We also reached out to a number of folks previously involved with the campaign prior to the announcement.
Q: Where can I get new graphics?
Q: Where can I get my new t-shirts, bumper stickers, rally signs, etc.?
A: You will be able to purchase your new Side with Love merchandise from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop here. The initial roll out will include new versions of our most popular products, which should be available by the middle of February. If there is something specific you need or want, be sure to contact inSpirit directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Where can I get my new banner?
A: You can find the graphics for the banner in the Brand Standards Guide at Side with Love. Side with Love banners are available pre-formatted to 10’ x 4’ and available as PDF or EPS files.
We suggest that you order your banner locally to save money on shipping. However, the UUA has arranged with H&W Printing, a union print shop in Mt. Rainier, Maryland, to special order Side with Love Banners. Please go to inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop for ordering information or send us an email at email@example.com.
Q: What do I do with things that say Standing the Side of Love?
Folks who have offered leadership on this invited us to change what we can from where we are. Consider what changes you can make during a short timeframe. This might include references on your congregation’s website, in worship services or religious education programs, or in materials you purchase or create, like stickers, buttons, or t-shirts. Thinking about how you shift language might include engaging with your music ministry, religious education leaders and justice ministry leaders about how they can participate in this shift. Consider how you can begin making changes now that will continue over months and years. This may be an opportunity to create a new banner for your congregation to bring to protests with art that reflects the energy of this moment. Or it may be an invitation to explore anew what messages a congregation wants to share with its community through the signs and other visuals on display. When harm has happened, there is rarely one single change that will undo it. Instead, we work on many levels, identifying shifts and repairs that must happen institutionally, interpersonally, culturally, and within our own minds and hearts.
Q: I just paid for a logo package, can I get a refund?
A: If you recently purchased a logo package for your justice work, you can get a refund by emailing Nora Rasman, Campaign Manager of Side with Love at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I heard Rev. Jason Shelton changed the words of the hymn he wrote. Should we change our use of the song?
A: Check out more information from Jason Shelton about shifting Standing on the Side of Love to Answering the Call of Love here.
Q: Is the work of the campaign changing?
A: Yes and no. The work of supporting people of faith and moral courage to engage in movement work through spiritual, organizing and financial resourcing continues and is needed now more than ever. And we have experienced shifts in when it’s strategic for our organizing to be public and visible and when it’s strategic for our organizing to be behind the scenes, without our name on it. We invite you to join in exploring these questions about visibility and low-ego, high impact work with us.
At Side with Love we are focused on supporting and unleashing the power of people of faith and moral courage in motion by fortifying spiritually, and flanking grassroots organizing for the long haul. We’re particularly energized at offering support and building the power of folks under 40.
Our goals for 2018 include:
providing culturally relevant and spiritually nourishing resources
responding in high violence and high resistance moments
facilitating relationships between UU networks and local secular organizing
affirming and resourcing leading edges within and beyond Unitarian Universalism
embodying our own values
sustaining an infrastructure that serves us
We are excited about how this conversation has allowed and will create space for further assessment and planning about the demands and requests of faith communities in this political moment, both from within our congregations and from our larger communities. Please bear with the SWL staff in coming weeks during this change as we update our social media and website accordingly.
Still have questions? Feel free to email us at email@example.com.