In your own words ~ by Dane Barrager

One of the goals of this blog is to include reflections from within the congregation on how your Unitarian Universalist faith and values inform your work for social justice.  If you are interested in contributing, please contact me at asstminister@uuasheville.org

In the following post, UUCA member Dane Barrager talks about his experience with taking action as a Unitarian Universalist:

My wife, Cyn, and I had a very meaningful exposure to the value of  working for social justice in January, 2009.  It taught us that a few dedicated people can make a difference, even on a national basis.

We had worked on the Obama campaign through the summer and fall in 2008, along with many other Unitarian Universalists, so we felt we had made a contribution to social justice by helping to elect the first black president in American history.   North Carolina was considered one of the battleground states where the election would be decided.  Obama made two trips to Asheville during the election, and Cyn and I were at the Grove Park Inn when he came to speak there impromptu.

In fact, Asheville was particularly important in that campaign.  North Carolina is not historically a very liberal state, but the night of the election we joined about a thousand supporters at the Renaissance hotel in West  Asheville.  It was getting late in the evening, and it appeared that Obama was going to lose North Carolina, but Buncombe County still had not reported in due to some problems at the polls.

It was neck and  neck, and as each county reported in, it still looked like we were going to lose.  Obama was down about 3,000 votes overall in the state.  When Buncombe county finally reported in, we voted for Obama by an excess of 17,000 votes, so Buncombe county actually swung the state of North Carolina in Obama’s favor!

This was an historic win for North Carolina, but it really hit home a couple of months later at the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, which is held every year at the Grove Park Inn in January.   It was in the same ballroom where we had seen Obama during the campaign, so were pretty fired up about our success.

Many UUers attend this breakfast to show solidarity with racial justice.  This particular breakfast was especially meaningful, however.  Obama had just been inaugurated a few days previously, and the Reverend Ward gave the benediction.  Terrie Bellamy, Asheville’s first female Black mayor presided.

There was a feeling of euphoria in the air at this breakfast  because we all felt we had made progress toward social justice:  we fought for what we believed in, and here was proof that we could succeed.

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