Welcoming Week 2022 (September 9-18)
How are UU's welcoming refugees & new immigrants?


Immigration Justice Vigil at the Whipple Federal Building

Gather on Tuesday, September 13th, at 7:30-8:30 AM, at the Whipple Building, 1 Federal Dr. Fort Snelling, MN, with Rev. Arif Mamdani, UU’s from First Universalist’s (Minneapolis) Sanctuary and Resistance Team, and other area congregations, with ICOM (Interfaith Coalition on Migration) to hold vigil and share information and resources for immigration justice. The Whipple Building holds the courthouse where deportation hearings are held for our 5-state area.



Communities Combating Hate

MUUSJA is part of Communities Combating Hate, a coalition in the Twin Cities that addresses and responds to hate speech. We’ll be cohosting a watch party on September 15th for President Biden’s “United We Stand” conference.


Forced Displacement and Migration

The UUSC sponsored honored the strength, courage, and resilience of refugees during Refugee Awareness Month, hosting  a webinar: Broadening the Conversation about Forced Displacement and Migration. Original broadcast was Tuesday, June 21, 2022, from 11 – 12:30pm CT, now available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA5mYNe1s1Q


How are MN UU’s welcoming refugees and new immigrants? Some examples:

UU's across Minnesota teamed with the 3 federally funded resettlement agencies in our state (Alight, Lutheran Social Services, and Catholic Social Services) in a variety of ways and created congregational teams to fill ongoing needs.

First Unitarian Society (Minneapolis) committed to assist 10 families being resettled by Alight in Minneapolis. Several congregations, including the Saint Cloud and Minnesota Valley (Bloomington) fellowships, invited speakers from Alight to their Sunday services and contributed financial donations to Alight. Alight (wearealight.org), formerly known as the American Refugee Committee, has set up homes for 131 families (400 people) in the Twin Cities. They were originally founded to help Cambodians escaping from the Khmer Rouge, and for 40 years has worked with survivors of conflicts around the world, in refugee camps and in the United States.  Each year, their services reach an estimated 3.5 million people in 17 countries, including Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Uganda.  Alight has worked with Afghan refugees for nearly two decades and has educated a million Afghan children in Pakistan.  In the U.S., the organization is now working to resettle families who have escaped the Taliban takeover and are now housed on U.S. military bases. Alight also continues to operate in Southeast Asia, providing health care and education in an ambitious campaign to eradicate malaria.

Checks can be mailed to: Alight, 1325 Quincy St NE Suite A1, Minneapolis, MN 55413

To donate online: https://give.wearealight.org/campaign/welcoming-afghan-families-home/c381323

White Bear WBUUC Hazara Assistance Committee is assisting three Afghan refugee families in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul as they continue to settle into life in Minnesota since leaving their homeland suddenly last August. They’re inviting volunteers short term in one of several capacities -- giving a ride once a month for a family of four, take a 19 year-old to a community college to visit, or visit with three young women living together in St. Paul.

The UU Congregation of Duluth teamed with the Interfaith Committee for Migrant Justice of the Twin Ports for World Refugee Day on Monday, June 20, 2022 from 5 - 7 pm at 12 E. 4th St (One Roof Community Housing) to welcome asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants into the Duluth community which is situated on Anishinaabe Territory. The most recent asylum seekers come from Mexico, Russia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Venezuela. More information here.

Unity Unitarian (St. Paul) donated the plate on January 2, 2022 to the International Institute of Minnesota Afghan Refugee Program and hosted an exhibit by Emel Sherzad, successful artist, former Afghan refugee, and owner of the Khyber Pass Cafe in St. Paul. He has a compelling life story and shared about his powerful paintings on display in the Parish Hall.

First UU Church in Rochester formed a Refugee Services Team who've worked with folks in their community resettled by Catholic Social Services (which holds the contract for southern MN). 

Michael Servetus UU Fellowship (Fridley) and Minnetonka UU Church (Wayzata) teamed up to sponsor and support a Guatemalan refugee family. First Universalist (Minneapolis) has a new team considering how best to accompany an Afghan refugee family in addition to ongoing sanctuary and resistance work with ICOM and south Minneapolis sanctuary network. 

And, we've probably missed some other good work that's going on! Let us know, please!

Map of locations of Minnesota welcoming week events

Welcoming Week 2022 Events in MN


MUUSJA is teaming up with Welcoming America for Welcoming Week 2022

In addition to events listed above, here are others happening around Minnesota that UU's are connecting with:

September 12th, Fergus Falls: West Central Initiative & Greater Fergus Falls hosts the "salad bowl" picnic, 6 pm 

September 12th, Winona: Virtual Welcoming Table, 4:30PM at Central Lutheran Church 

September 16th, Winona: Around the World Potluck, 12 noon at Winona Family YMCA, and Citizenship Day at 5pm 

September 17th, Saint Cloud: St Cloud Pride in the Park, 11 Am - 4 PM

September 18th, Grand Forks: Global Friends Coalition hosts the 16th Annual Community Picnic, 5-7 pm 

September 19th, Baxter: "Cultivating Communities: a North Central MN Welcoming Summit" 


WATCH FOR AN UPCOMING UPDATE ON THE ABORTION ACCESS/REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE LEAGUE, AND ON UU THE VOTE! We are excited about some new partnerships with CAIR-Minnesota, League of Women Voters, and LEAP-MN. More to come in our next email. How's your SUMMER OF GOOD TROUBLE going? Is your congregation cranking or napping or some of both? Do you want to check in about how UU the Vote is progressing as we move into these last 100 pre-election days? Let us know! We are meeting with congregations across the region, mostly but not exclusively online right now, for postcarding, letters, phonebanks, and other opportunities to get out the vote in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and beyond. The primary results are in and now it's time to get serious about making some VERY good trouble in November 2022. 

Towards justice, with joy!! 

 Karen Wills, Executive Director, director@muusja.org


Contact Us

MUUSJA - Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance
900 Mount Curve Ave. c/o First Unitarian Society
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
(612) 927-2072

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