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Social Action Heroes

Social Action Heroes

Unitarian Universalists Who Are Changing the World

Also available as an eBook on the Amazon Kindle Store.

Author: Michelle Bates Deakin

Price: $12.00

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Also available as an eBook on the Amazon Kindle Store.

Unitarian Universalists are committed to acting on important issues of social justice throughout the world. Award-winning journalist Michelle Bates Deakin explores the actions of eleven individuals and the impact their actions have had on their communities and their souls. Compelling and inspiring, Social Action Heroes illuminates the potential for deep change inherent in each of us, and in Unitarian Universalism as a whole.

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Introduction

Rebuilding New Orleans

Creating Community Farms in an African Village

Welcoming Children Lost in Foster Care

Ending Torture

Helping Homeless Boys in Guatemala

Revitalizing Struggling Cities

Fighting for People with HIV/AIDS

Creating a Greener, Cleaner Earth

Building Bridges Across Race

Rebuilding a War-Torn World

Resurrecting a Story of Holocaust Heroism

It's the first step that makes a difference.

For Paulie, it was renting a trailer. Janice quit her job. George booked a flight. Miranda didn't leave, even when she wanted to. Martha and Waitstill said yes. A group of children collected crayons.

Each were small steps. And all were righteous moments.

If you are trying to find a way to save the world-whether it's the whole world or a small corner of it-it's the first step that matters most. And then the step after that one.

This book profiles people who have made great strides in social justice work. It's easy to look at their accomplishments and imagine that they are extraordinary people whose efforts can't be matched. But each of these people is an ordinary person who started with a simple idea. "People think human rights work has to be about the extraordinary," says Karen Tse, who founded an international nonprofit to end torture and ensure due process rights for every citizen of the world. "But it's really the ordinary daily grunt work that ends up making a tremendous difference."

Few set out with a vision to found a nonprofit that will change the lives of thousands of people. But many have been inspired to take simple steps that lead toward great social justice work. Social change gains momentum with steady, consistent action.

Artemis Joukowsky's social justice work was inspired by his grandparents, Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp, who rescued hundreds of Jews, intellectuals, political leaders, artists, and children from the Nazis during World War II. As stunning as their heroism was, Joukowsky hopes their acts will inspire others, not overwhelm them or make them feel inferior and unable to match the Sharps' efforts. "Life is made of righteous moments, not grandiose moments," Joukowsky says. "The key part about my grandparents wasn't just one big moment. They made thousands of little choices that led up to the story that we now tell."

He tells his grandparents' story as an inspiration. And that is the intention of all the stories in this book. They showcase the worthwhile work of people committed to changing the world. And they invite readers to examine their own lives and ask what they can do. Once we understand the story of how one person creates change, we begin to see where there is room in our own lives to take righteous steps.

Each story is about a Unitarian Universalist individual, family, or group engaged in compelling social justice work. Some work within their own communities; others work across the world. Their stories, however, are not meant just for Unitarian Universalists. They can inspire anyone with a passion for justice, equity, and peace.

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