The Social Responsibilities Council, led by Carol Loscalzo, provides leadership and support to all of the USR social action projects and events, insures continuity in and between current projects, encourages participation by the congregation in ongoing projects and keeps the congregation informed about relevant social issues not addressed by specific action committees. The Council manages a Yahoo group bulletin board that keeps all subscribers up to date on a wealth of issues. Lastly, it manages a USR monthly plate collection process whereby the proceeds of that designated Sunday collection(s) is donated to a voted upon social action cause. If you would like to submit a nomination for a cause you are affiliated with, please complete and submit the Plate Collection form at the bottom of this page.
If you would like to get involved or have questions about one of the committees, please submit them to Ann Pareti, Membership Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org and the respective committee chair will get back to you.
Social Responsibilities Committee
Chair: Carol Loscalzo
The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood (USR) has a long and vital history of social justice, advocacy and community service. Continuing that tradition the Social Responsibilities Committee (SRC) currently has 5 active subcommittees, several liaisons and independent groups connected to the SRC working on specific issues. The SRC helps coordinate the work of the subcommittees, prepares and administers budgets, ensures that information is available to the congregation. When action is pending, the SRC also staffs an Action Table, where the congregation can sign letters to their legislators or other decision-makers. The Committee has the responsibility for organizing and publicizing the plate collections (15 each congregational year) that are donated to an outside social justice cause. The Committee works with the Religious Education program to educate the youth in UU social justice, inform them of the subcommittee work and encourage involvement. Applications can be submitted at any time and are on the USR website. SRC also manages a yahoo group that keeps all subscribers up-to-date on pertinent social justice issues. To join the group, go to usr-src-bulletin-board-subscribe@yahoogroups or sign up at the SRC table. SRC members invite and welcome your participation in our work.
Education Justice Committee
Chair: Marilyn Maney
Education Justice subcommittee meets approximately eight times during the school year for 90-minute evening meetings. The Education Justice group follows issues of educational equity at the local, state and national level. Informative events are planned for the congregation and action plans are developed in order to support a high quality of education for all children. We encourage volunteer efforts at Paterson school #12 and C.A.M.P YDP in Paterson.
Environmental Justice Committee
Chair: Peter Orsini
The Environmental Justice Committee plans to re-organize during the 2017-18 year. It is clear that it is more urgent than ever to become involved in promoting environmental justice. The committee will begin meeting to develop plans to work both within the congregation and to support partner groups who are on the front lines of doing this work. It will inform the congregation about events and actions that people can participate in and offer educational events. The committee will also work closely with UULMNJ’s environmental action task force. All are welcome.
Hunger/Homeless Action Committee
Chair: Ira Mendelsberg
The subcommittee is dedicated to working toward providing the basic necessities of food and shelter to our local community. We conduct food and fund drives and recruit volunteers to help the Bergen County food pantry, Center For Food Action and the local shelter, Family Promise, which provides temporary housing for families in need. Additionally, the committee works with other organizations and provides the congregation with information on food and housing issues in the state, the country and around the globe.
Living the Welcoming Committee
Chair: Anita Young
This committee works to promote the UUA policies of gender acceptance in our congregation, and to bring gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues to the congregation in order to promote inclusiveness in our Society and the world at large. LGBTI overlap in many other areas such as economic justice, immigration, discrimination in hiring, etc. and we continue to work with other committees on these issues as related to the LGBTI community. The committee will be focusing this year on transgender and bisexual issues. We will be applying for renewal of our status as a Living the Welcoming congregation.
Peace and Justice Committee
Chair: Anita Young
The Peace & Justice Subcommittee plans programs that will educate the community to issues of social justice and effect change through advocacy and special projects. We work to achieve peaceful solutions to conflicts throughout the world, strengthen democracy, and promote social justice at home and abroad. We take positions against war and to protect human rights. The subcommittee supports First Friends, the Northern NJ Sanctuary Coalition (NNJSC) and works with Community of Friends in Action (CoFiA), an immigrant worker’s group in Bergen county. Our members are interested in many issues including income inequality, immigration reform, reducing gun violence and preventing human trafficking. Because of our efforts and those of others in our congregation, the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood was rededicated as a peace site on September 21, 2014 and commemorated the occasion with the planting of a peace pole on our grounds.
Racial Justice Committee
Co-Chairs: Carol Loscalzo & Carolyn Musser
The primary work of the Racial Justice Subcommittee is addressing white privilege. It also supports the Black Lives Matter. In 2015-16, it supported and presented programs to further the congregation’s focus: Black Lives Matter and Racial Justice in America, resulting in the hanging of the Black Lives Matter banner on the USR building. The group meets monthly to plan events. In addition to white privilege, the group also focuses on criminal justice reform and systemic racism. It continues support of the People’s Organization For Progress, a Newark-based action and advocacy group focused on issues of racism and other forms of discrimination, as well as economic and other systemic injustice. The group also works with the Martin Luther King Day Celebration Committee of Ridgewood/ Glen Rock. The committee looks at the work that the UUA and the UU Legislative Ministry of NJ (UULMNJ) have done on the Black Lives Matter movement. It partners with other groups including all USR committees, the Religious Education program and the two other UU congregations in Bergen County. The group welcomes new members.
Reproductive Justice Committee
Co-Chairs: Carol Loscalzo & Susanne Fuhrman
Reproductive Justice (RJ) takes a holistic, human rights and social justice approach dealing with issues that affect all women’s reproductive health and lives. Following the framework of the reproductive justice movement, the Committee keeps in mind the ways that the systems of race, class and gender affect a person’s reproductive rights and health. Activities include film showings, study sessions, information sharing, federal and state legislation advocacy, support for abortion clinics, support for NJ Abortion Access Fund, involvement and support of local clinic escort programs, working with the RJ task force of UU Legislative Ministry of NJ (UULMNJ) and partnering with other groups within and outside the congregation. The 2015 Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly approved the Reproductive Justice Statement of Conscience (SOC). Please join us in our work!
Liaisons – Affiliated Denominational Groups
UULMNJ (Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey)
Facilitators: Ira Mendelsberg & Anita Young
Provides a comprehensive structure, network and resources to empower the moral voice and actions of our Unitarian Universalist principles and values in the public arena. UULMNJ engages in impacting social justice and public policy issues important to our state through Education, Research, Advocacy, Witness, and Service.
UUSC (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee)
Facilitator: Ira Mendelsberg
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. We envision a world free from oppression and injustice, where all can realize their full human rights.
UU-UNO Envoy: Anita Young
Bruce Knotts, is the executive director of UU-UNO. This is our voice at the U.N. Every year there is an intergenerational Spring Seminar. Arm in Arm: Interfaith Action to Disarm Our Planet, will be held April 6-8, 2017 in New York City. Anyone interested can attend. Go online for further information. UUA.org
Liaisons to USR Groups
Liaison to CYRE (Children and Youth Religious Education Committee) for Social Action
The liaison promotes social action experiences for USR children and youth by working with the CYRE. The RE children and youth participated in the Peace Site Rededication and planting of the peace pole 2014 events. The CYRE Committee plans several social justice events for Sundays throughout the year.
Affiliated Independent Groups
(Opportunities for community service)
Citizens for Swimming (C4S)
Chair: Dawn Walter
Since 1968 the non-profit organization Citizens for Swimming has been hosting children from Paterson at Ridgewood’s Graydon Pool. C4S endeavors to give inner-city kids the simple joy of summer fun in the pool -something they do not have access to in Paterson. We also arrange for daily swimming instruction so they can be safe around water for the rest of their lives. Typically, 50 to 100 children in preschool through 8th grade visit Graydon Pool for 3 weeks in August. C4S volunteers are involved in fundraising, acquiring donations of swimsuits, beach towels, and toys, organizing the celebration picnic, teaching water safety orientation to the children before they come to the pool, and, most importantly, hosting the children at Graydon Pool. Volunteers of all ages, including youth, are welcome.
NJAAF (New Jersey Abortion Access Fund)
Chair: Carol Loscalzo
NJAAF is a volunteer run fund whose primary mission is to provide financial assistance to those seeking safe, legal abortions. NJAAF partners with providers and social service agencies in New Jersey to help women access the care they need. NJAAF provides grants to help cover the cost of an abortion or related services.
Northern New Jersey Sanctuary Coalition
Chair: Elizabeth D. Ames, MD
The Northern New Jersey Sanctuary Coalition is a coalition of northern New Jersey religious congregations, human rights organizations, and affiliated groups and individuals who have joined to provide humanitarian support and advocacy for political asylum seekers and asylees. Among the services the Coalition provides are housing, access to medical care, financial support, education/job training opportunities, language instruction, transportation, socialization, and liaison with attorneys. The goal is to help the asylees establish themselves and achieve durable self-sufficiency.
SHARE (Shared Housing Association for Ridgewood and Environs)
Chair: Georgetta Walsh
Two residential homes in Ridgewood for 28 senior citizens operated by S.H.A.R.E., Inc., whose board includes members and friends of our Society and other religious organizations in our community. Volunteers are needed to prepare Saturday and Sunday dinners. The website is www.shareridgewood.org.
CoFiA (Community of Friends in Action, Inc.)
Chair: Margaret White
CoFiA (www.communityoffriendsinaction.org), 201-598-2253. P.O. Box 448, 181 Fort Lee Road, Leonia, NJ 07605. The Community of Friends in Action, Inc., is a community organization that assists workers in Eastern Bergen County, and also educates the community around immigration issues.
Other Community Service Opportunities
C.A.M.P Youth Development Program
Chair: Sally Lewis
C.A.M.P. YDP is a non-profit preschool, after school and summer program in Paterson serving approximately 60 children ages 3 to 14. During the school year, our volunteers assist students in the preschool and after-school program with school work as well as provide enrichment activities. In the summer, volunteers chaperone Citizens for Swimming, a summer swim program at Graydon Pool in Ridgewood. USR volunteers also host children from the C.A.M.P program on Martin Luther King Day, a special event that is also attended by USR children and youth.
Fall Crafts Fair for CAMP
Chair: Marcy Cagan
The annual Crafts in Ridgewood Fair has been a fundraiser with free admission for the youth development program C.A.M.P. in Paterson, NJ for the last 24 years. This year will be the 25th anniversary. Local artists sell items that include jewelry, pottery, photography, functional woodenware, etc. and 25% of the profits are given to C.A.M.P. It is a two-day event held in Anderson and the Fellowship Room with baked goods sold by various youth groups from our Religious Education program. There are many short-term volunteer opportunities from marketing to setting up that help with this creative and exciting event.
Social Justice Podcast March 28(1) MP3
Click link below to volunteer at Paterson School 12.