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How to Make "Good Trouble"
A Guide To UU Advocacy and Issue Leadership in Maryland

About The Guide Several years ago, we created this short guide to help Unitarian Universalists in Maryland influence statewide public policy, primarily through legislation. Then the pandemic seized us, and we had to adjust how we could advocate for laws that enhance our values – from immigrant justice and criminal justice reform that respects the inherent worth and dignity of every person to climate justice that promotes and affirms the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. While the pandemic made advocacy challenging, UU’s adapted and achieved legislative victories, To help this effort, I began to write an Advocacy Leadership Guide as a companion to this Advocacy Guide. It occurred to me, however, that much of the information in the leadership guide would be useful to all UU advocates. It seemed, consequently, that we could create a more effective and efficient documentary experience for all Maryland UU’s by incorporating all the advocacy and leadership elements into one guide. Hence, this guide offers tips and methods to advocate effectively, exposes you to various advocacy and advocacy leadership tools.

Advocate but Remain Non-Partisan: What We Can and Cannot Do

The UUA reminds us that we can:

  • Engage in issue advocacy and organizing for justice

  • Conduct voter education

  • Assist voter access through voter registration

  • Get Out the Vote drives

  • Combat voter suppression

  • Support or oppose ballot initiatives

  • Educate candidates on issues

  • Sponsor candidate forums

  • Prepare and distribute non-partisan voter guides

  • Lobby elected officials

  • Host a variety of activities at our congregations

And we cannot:

  • Have advocacy as our only activity

  • Endorse or oppose candidates running for elected office

  • Intervene in campaigns to influence the outcome of an election

If all we do is advocacy, we're not a church. I think we're safe. We pray. We meditate. We sing. We learn. We help each other and our neighbors in need. We laugh together. We comfort each other. And we occasionally ask our elected officials to act on our values.

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