A few ideas that are in the mix for this Sunday’s service:

Stories of local cases of trafficking and slavery, such as the restaurant in Berkeley that inspired David Batstone’s involvement in the issue, the use of Thai slaves to repair the Bay Bridge, or even closer to home, forced prostitution in San Mateo and Sunnyvale.

Our heritage of Unitarian abolitionists like Theodore Parker and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Universalist abolitionists like Benjamin Rush–and those Unitarians and Universalists who opposed them. The former are important because we honor them and may be inspired to follow in their footsteps, creating the 21st century movement to equal their abolitionism of two centuries earlier. The latter are important because their hesitancy may illuminate what barriers stand between us and action.

Harriet Tubman’s repeated journeys back to slave states, the most dangerous places she could go, in order to free others. Clearly her answer to Kevin Bales’s question, “And if we can’t use our power to bring about the end of slavery, are we truly free?” would have been “No.” The same challenge faces us: we are ostensibly free. Are we willing to venture into troubling territory to bring people out of bondage? That territory, for us, does not carry the risks the South did for Tubman; the risk we run is the discomfort of learning of others’ suffering and having to change.

Videos about human trafficking playing on the patio before and after the services, my technological abilities permitting.

The longing to be a part of a UU abolitionist movement. We don’t have one. We need one. I’m starting it now. Join me to get in on the ground floor.

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