U Mass Action is the original state-wide UU advocacy groups in the US. Our mission is to connect the 140 Unitarian Universalist congregations and 20,000 members, to “work smarter, not harder” for social justice by sharing ideas and joining forces to raise our compassionate voice in Massachusetts.
UU Mass Action was officially founded in September, 2005 with the hiring of our former Executive Director Nancy Banks. Nancy headed the organization until Jesse Jaeger was hired as Executive Director in August, 2011. The position has been and remains a half-time position, supported from an active volunteer Board.
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) provided start-up funding to Massachusetts and eleven other UU State Advocacy Networks in California, Minnesota, Washington, Michigan, New Jersey, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Maryland and Oregon. The original 12 State Advocacy Networks have grown to a total of 22, operating throughout the US. The State Advocacy Networks coordinate activities and share ideas through a monthly phone call, a website, and bi-annual national meetings. UU Mass Action also received start-up funding from the UU Funding Panel, (an arm of the Veatch Foundation), which continues to give grants for specific purposes, such as the launch of this new website.
UU Mass Action’s first major event was the first Advocacy Day in May, 2006, when 100 Unitarian Universalists descended on their State House in support of Marriage Equality. Legislators expressed surprise and, often, gratitude that a religious organization was advocating in support of gay marriage. Five weeks later, following many years of effective advocacy, the major challenge to Marriage Equality was defeated. This important action demonstrated that UU values and the values will have an impact if we are organized and mobilized to take action.
Since then, Unitarian Universalists at Advocacy Days have helped to pass important legislation, including:
Climate Change Control Action — 2008
Energy Efficiency Bill — 2008
Prevent Homelessness: $10 million in new funding, and the Eviction Prevention Act — 2010
Prevent Homelessness through Rental Vouchers– 2009, 2012, 2011
Transgender Rights Bill — 2011
The Three Strikes Bill – 2012
The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights – 2014
Raise the Minimum Wage, increased from $8 to $11, the highest in the country!- 2014
The Mass Trust Act, the first pro-immigrant bill to make it through the committee process since 2006!- 2013, 2014
Transgender Rights, ballot Initiative – 2016
RMV Collateral Sanctions Bill, removed punitive five year wait and $500 fine to reinstate a person’s driver’s license after a drug related conviction 2016
Comprehensive Energy Bill, created the highest level of commitment to wind power for any state in the country 2016
Stopped the pipeline tax, taxpayer money will not be used to fund pipeline projects 2016
Earned Sick time passes as a ballot initiative – 2016
Comprehensive Criminal Law Reform – After a decades of tireless organizing and advocacy, the historic Criminal Law Reform bill passes! 2018
Raise the Minimum Wage, Increased from $11 to $15 over 5 years 2018
Paid Family and Medical Leave – the strongest protection plan in the country! 2018
Compromise Clean Energy bill – Very weak bill, but tiny steps taken in increasing the RPS, energy storage, solar, offshore wind & gas leaks requirements – 2018