Summer 2023 Action Council Update

The mission of the UUCPA Action Council is to empower the congregation to take action for social and environmental justice in the larger community, in accordance with our Unitarian Universalist principles and our congregational commitment to transforming ourselves, each other, and the world.  We want to be sure you know what we have been up to, so here is the second edition of our new periodic newsletter.  We hope you find it useful.

What has the Action Council been doing since January?

Assistance for Unhoused Community Members

Safe Parking

The Safe Parking team has been working with our partner Move Mountain View to increase our community impact. We’ve increased our average lot usage by 50% since last year – currently three of our four slots are occupied. We’re preparing to provide the support our clients need as the weather gets colder later this fall.  There have been no reports of issues or complaints.

Heart & Home Women’s Homeless Shelter

UUCPA again hosted the Heart & Home women’s shelter for six weeks, in spite of some disruptions due to our sewer problems, which necessitated assistance from other congregations in the area.

Palo Alto Homeless Resource Fair

The Action Council publicized the annual Palo Alto Homeless Resource Fair, which took place in May, and donated $150 in Safeway and Target gift cards for prizes for attendees. Thanks to Chris Cassell for purchasing and delivering the gift cards.

LifeMoves Ride to End Homelessness

The Action Council has been publicizing the LifeMoves Ride to End Homelessness which will take place on Saturday, August 26.  There are opportunities to bike, to volunteer, and to donate in support of this event.  See the website or visit the Action Council Table during August for more information.

Supporting Our Larger Community

Local Indigenous Peoples

At the request of our Justice Partner, SURJ** Sacred Heart, the Action Council donated $100 to help seed a Land Acquisition Fund for the local Amah Mutsun tribe, helping to prepare them for eventual acquisition of former indigenous lands that may become available for sale. 

**SURJ:  Showing Up for Racial Justice

LGBTQIA+ Community

UUCPA is participating in the planning for an interfaith booth at the August 26-27 Silicon Valley Pride Festival and Parade.  If you are interested in helping staff, set up, or take down the booth, or in participating in the festival and/or parade, please visit the Action Council Table on the patio on one of the following Sundays:  August 6, 13, 20 or sign up directly here.

Local Environment

The Action Council is investigating opportunities to volunteer with Grassroots Ecology on Saturday, September 23 as a part of the annual Coastal Clean-Up Day.  Opportunities to volunteer on this day will be available in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City.  More details will be announced in September.


So far in 2023, the Action Council has endorsed four actions, as follows:

  1. February:  The Action Council voted to be a co-sponsor for a Teach-In on racial justice hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice (MVPJ).
  2. March:  The Action Council signed a letter to Senator Alex Padilla requesting the release of Ligaya Jensen and Jacqueline Vanboozyen, the last two women in ICE custody at Adelanto Detention Facility (“Adelanto”) in Adelanto, California.
  3. May:  Endorsement of California Senate Bill 4: Affordable Housing on Faith Lands Act.  Following Action Council approval, this endorsement request was submitted to the UUCPA Board of Trustees, which endorsed the bill on behalf of the congregation.  A formal letter of support from UUCPA was submitted to the California Senate Committee considering it at that time.  The bill has since been approved by the full Senate and is currently under consideration in the Assembly.  For more information on this bill, including its current status, go to Bill Search California and enter “SB4”.
  4. August:  The Action Council voted to co-sponsor an author discussion, entitled Just Action – How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under The Color of Law. This event will take place at 7:00 p.m. on October 26 at the Congregational Church of San Mateo.  After the authors’ discussion, there will be a meet-and-greet event.  We are expecting there will be a similar event in Palo Alto in November.  Details will be published in the coming weeks.

FY23-24 Justice Partners

The Action Council proposed a slate of Justice Partners for the FY23_24 fiscal year which was approved by the congregation at the April Annual Meeting.  One partner, Ability Path, was rotated out.  One new partner, Onyxx Village Connection, was added.  We are pleased to add this new partner, which is led by local people of color and supports the homeless in our community by bringing food to them where they live.  Look for them when they come to speak at a service in January!

Action Council Membership

The Action Council charter allows for five to nine members on the Council.  Over the past year and a half our membership has dropped from nine members to six.  All three resignations were due to people moving out of the local area.  If you are interested in helping to engage the congregation in justice work, or know someone who might be interested, please contact Kristi Iverson at   Current members of the Action Council are Kristi Iverson (Chair), Sally Ahnger, Chris Cassell, Sean Hansen, Edie Keating, and Karen Skold.