The Church Blogger: Who’s behind the weekly “Speak UUp” posts?
by Colleen Appel
Most every week you’ll find a piece in the What’s Up online newsletter that summarizes a recent legislative action along with instructions for how we might respond. First UU member Sherry Buchanan is responsible for those posts. I recently spoke to Sherry about her efforts.
If you call her in the morning, you will very likely find her engaged with several print and online news sources. She spends about two hours daily reading the Washington Post, New York Times, the Springfield News-Leader, the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the Joplin Globe, plus the online posts of Heather Cox Richardson. She avoids listening to any television commentary, but she does watch the NBC and PBS news broadcasts in the evening.
Sherry is reading with an eye for those local issues that coincide with the issues that the UUA asks us to pay attention to. Sherry says it’s surprising how often that happens. Once she selects an issue, she will gather background information, recommend a nonpartisan position to take, and tell us how to contact lawmakers, all of which she shares with the First UU audience.
She believes that there is no impact without legislative action so she is also involved with the League of Women Voters, serving as co-president through 2024 and advocating for public policy issues on all levels of government.
When asked what she hopes to achieve by her efforts, Sherry responded that she wants to demonstrate that even in just the few minutes it takes to write an email or make a phone call, people can have an impact. She hopes her summaries and action steps help the average citizen who doesn’t have the time to sort through all the news. She is adamant that every voice does count, and she hopes to make it easy to make your voice heard.
Sherry is hopeful that the idea of active participation in the legislative process, supported by efforts like hers, is spreading. She sees the League of Women Voters weekly bulletin, with voices from across the state, as evidence. (At First UU, we can see the efforts of Springfield Tenants Unite and Empower Missouri as additional evidence.)
I don’t always follow through on making the contacts with legislators that Sherry recommends, but when I do, I find it incredibly easy to make the phone call or write the message because she has provided such complete information on how to make the contacts. And when I don’t make the contacts, I still find her Speak UUp posts very helpful in the way they help me understand how current issues align with UU principles.
Sherry Buchanan lives out her faith by being politically active. Thank you, Sherry, for your work.
Colleen Appel is the Communications Director on the First UU Directors Circle.