To celebrate the accomplishments of those working for social justice, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ) invites nominations for our Social Justice Awards Program. The awards recognize those individuals and congregations who inspire, support and express effective social justice – those deeply committed volunteers, congregations, and ministers/senior leaders who are the heart the social justice movement in the National Capital Region.

UUSJ is grateful to each congregation for participating in the vital process of selecting the best social justice work in any chosen category. What follows are the: Eligibility Requirements for Nominees, Award Categories, and Award Criteria.

The deadline for nomination submissions has passed.

Eligibility Requirements and Instructions for
Submitting a Nomination for Award

Eligibility Requirements for Nominees

  1. Nomination(s) must be submitted in full and final form by the announced submission deadline (Wednesday, September 6, 2017).
  2. Nominator must obtain the acknowledgement of the congregation’s minister/senior leader of the nomination(s) being submitted, which includes review of the nomination text.
  3. Submissions must be completed online by completing the online form.
  4. Awardees may only receive one award each award cycle.
  5. Individuals or groups that have been recognized with a UUSJ award are not eligible to receive the same award in two sequential award cycles.
  6. UUSJ Executive Committee Officers are not eligible for awards.


2017 UUSJ Social Justice Award Categories

Award Categories

The nominator will select one of the categories listed below which best describes their nominee. UUSJ may elect not to award in every category based on the total submissions in a category.  The judges’ decisions are final.

Congregational Awards

1. Collaboration Award – effective congregational social action/justice program reflecting and elevating UU values and principles that has involved cooperation with another UU congregation(s), other faith based groups, and/or non-religious organizations.

2. Racial Justice and Beloved Community Award – work, witness and/or advocacy by congregations or program leaders who are transforming their ministry through racial justice and inclusion, carrying out one or more of these actions: confronting racism and oppression as barriers to social change and healthy human relations; building multicultural community and solidarity; achieving diversity in congregational membership, leadership, and staffing.

3. Innovative Social Justice Programming Award – creative, inventive congregational program or elements of a program that has made a significant contribution to social justice reflecting UU values and principles or was replicated as a model that changed in an innovative way.

4. Congregational Social Justice Program Award – transformative and comprehensive congregational program of social justice and/or advocacy that can serve as a model, and involve service, education, fitness, advocacy, and/or community organizing.

5. Multigenerational Programming Award– a social justice program that spans the entire congregation, from the youngest to the eldest in a way that encourages both learning and action.  This programming can encompass work with interfaith or community based groups, and direct action and advocacy.

UUSJ Priority Issue Awards*

6. Economic Justice Award – effective work, witness and/or advocacy for the systemic changes needed to promote a more just economy and compassionate society.

7. Environmental/Climate Justice Award – effective work, witness, and/or advocacy in response to environmental challenges and climate change.

8. Immigration Award – effective work, witness and/or advocacy that can serve as a model for the ways to transform concern into action for justice for immigrants.

Leadership Awards

9.  Minister/Senior Leader’s Award – leading, inspiring, supporting and/or expressing effective social action reflecting UU values and principles.

10.  Youth Activist Award – an individual 13-18 years of age who is inspiring, supporting and expressing effective social action reflecting UU values and principles.

11. Emerging Leader Award – an individual who is emerging as a lay leader inspiring, supporting and expressing effective social action reflecting UU values and principles.

12. Lifetime Achievement Award – an individual who has spent at least 20 years as a lay leader supporting and expressing effective social action reflecting UU values and principles.

*UUSJ currently has these three priorities; periodically UUSJ surveys members and congregations to determine if changes are needed.


Award Criteria:

  1. The extent to which the work description matches the description of the award.
  2. The quality of the project/work.
  3. The qualitative effects on whom project was directed.
  4. The length of time the effort has been underway.
  5. Whether the project described and methods used are replicable.
  6. Whether the project is sustainable if it is meant to be.
  7. What roadblocks/challenges were needed to be overcome, and what methods were used to do so.
  8. What motivations caused the congregation or leader to pursue this project or idea.
  9. How program got people excited about taking action.