Over the past year, thousands of Unitarian Universalists have been inspired, mobilized and activated through the work of UU the Vote.
While all of us can feel proud of what we have accomplished together, I want to pause and honor the absolutely critical, inspiring, galvanizing leadership of Nicole Pressley, who has served as UU the Vote’s National Organizer for the past year. Watching her shape and guide the UU the Vote campaign since she started in the role, I am profoundly grateful for her deep love of our UU community; her unwavering integrity and keen insight; and her fierce commitment to centering both joy and justice in everything we do.
Therefore, it is my deep pleasure to announce that Nicole will be joining the UUA’s Organizing Strategy Team (OST) in a permanent position as Field & Programs Director, effective immediately. The OST is the base for all of the UUA’s outward-facing justice ministries, including UU the Vote, Side With Love, Love Resists, Create Climate Justice, and more.
By joining the OST’s leadership team, Nicole will now be bringing her strategic thinking, her vision for skilled UU organizing, and her love of building justice-centered community beyond the confines of UU the Vote, in service of all our justice work at the UUA. In the coming months, you’ll see Nicole’s name associated with opportunities for engagement across many of our campaigns and programs!
I am so thrilled that Nicole has gone all in with us–our Organizing Strategy Team, and our UU faith. We are blessed by her leadership, and I can’t wait to see how she challenges, motivates, and pushes us all forward in the coming time.
A message from Nicole:
I am thrilled to join the Organizing Strategy Team as the Field and Programs Director. Working alongside Unitarian Universalists with UU the Vote has been a life-changing experience.
Zora Neale Hurston writes, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
I became a Unitarian Universalist in 2015, standing among people who were demanding justice and accountability in the police shooting of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis, MN. Gathered around a fire pit, ministers, spiritual leaders and cultural workers gathered, preaching sermons, singing songs, and performing rituals that created a transformative and restorative space to root our calls for justice.
Women, youth and elders, queer folx, Black, Indigenous and People of Color community members held space for our grief, our rage, and our sacred imagination of a world where all our communities are safe, where accountability can begin to heal the wounds of injustice, and our inherent dignity and worth was not up for debate. In this space, I found an entrypoint into the spiritual and political work of justice.
For me, 2015 and 2020 brought up the same question, “Where am I best suited to do the work of justice?”
In both cases the answers were the same: at home in Unitarian Universalism. The feeling of being at home is powerful. It is a place to rest, to be inspired, to learn and grow, and to be held accountable. Unitarian Universalism is my spiritual and political home. It is where I feel I can do the strongest and most transformative work.
This is why, in 2017, I accepted a job as the Communications Director at UU Congregation of Atlanta and became a memeber of Abundant LUUv. It is what led me to answer the call to UU the Vote as the National Organizer in 2020. Today, it is what roots me as I take on the role of Field and Programs Director at the UUA’s Organizing Strategy Team.
For many of us, 2020 was a massive year of questions: Who benefits when a nation ignores science to the detriment of global health? What does it mean when the police state devastates communities, resists accountability, and colludes in a deadly and destabilizing insurrection? How do we employ ethical strategies to resist capitalism and dismantle white supremacy? How do we engage our faith by building systems of care and joy that make the work of justice irresistible?
I believe our faith’s lineage and vision of collective liberation provides tools for us to answer those questions together. By rooting in our faith–embodying our values through care, political action, and deep learning–we can imagine a new world and call it into being.
As Field and Programs Director, I will help shape how we build power and harness our collective imagination towards our collective liberation. I am excited to build spaces of shared learning and action so that we may be ready to meet this critical moment and the challenges ahead.
We know that moving our work forward will take all of us. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about where we’re going next and what you can do to carry this work forward. Thank you for being a part of UU the Vote.
Much love and care,
Field and Programs Director
Organizing Strategy Team
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t invite you to take action. This economic and health crisis is a moral failure and a threat to building strong movements for justice. That’s why I am joining On the Frontline on Wednesday, February 4 at 8pm ET/5pm PT for “Meeting the Moment” Mass Call to discuss Biden’s Covid relief package – and the care and relief we actually need – and kick off Black History Month.