Radio — Activism grounded in faith: Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice


On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Rev. Frances Deverell — president of the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice — talks about the faith tradition from which she comes and the network of activists that she leads.

Most often, when people hear the phrase “religious activist” in 21st-century North America, what immediately comes to mind is things like people harassing women who are exercising autonomy over their bodies at abortion climics, or dedicated efforts to shore up the erasure and denigration of queer people in school curriculum. Yet there are also long histories, spanning many faiths and many denominations, of struggles for justice and liberaiton that are rooted in faith. The Unitarian Universalist church began as a Christian demonimation during the the period of the reformation in Europe, but in the centuries since has become a non-Christian, creedless faith with a decidedly progressive flavour. The Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, while not officially affiliated with the denomination, is an organization of activists who root their social change activities in that faith tradition. Founded in Toronto by Unitarians appalled by the actions of the right-wing provincial government of the late 1990s, it now spans the country and tackles multiple issues. Rev. Deverell is the elected president of the group, and she talks with me about the organization, some of the issues in which they are involved, and the connections she sees between faith and social justice.

To learn more about Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, you can visit their website here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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