UA President Peter Morales presented the President’s Award for Volunteer Service to Barbara and Charles Du Mond during Sunday morning’s general session, thanking the couple for their years of “unwavering commitment.”
The Du Monds have been members of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, California, for twenty-six years. During that time, the couple has been involved at all levels: serving on search committees, teaching OWL, leading pledge drives, and serving on the board. Barbara also serves on the board of the UU Justice Ministry of California, and Charles serves on the boards of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the Pacific Central District, and the advisory board of the UU United Nations Office.
The couple is also deeply involved in international and justice work. Morales recalled traveling with them on a UU United Nations Office trip to Ghana in support of a program that supports AIDS orphans. They also traveled to Arizona to march in protest of anti-immigrant legislation. The couple has also supported the Partner Church program, supporting their congregation’s partner in the Philippines.
“Besides this,” Morales said, “they are just delightful people.”
Accepting the award, Charles said: “Let’s be honest about our privilege in this society. A couple of white people with time and money have lots of opportunities to volunteer. Basically, when asked, all we have to do is say, ‘yes.’ So we would like to lift up awareness of those who don’t get asked and can’t respond.”
Specifically, Barbara mentioned the more than 700 members of the Church of the Larger Fellowship who are imprisoned, at least thirty of them in Angola prison in Louisiana. Charles described a plan that the Prison Ministry of the CLF and the Center for Ethical Living are developing for General Assembly 2017—which will be held in New Orleans—to create a greater connection between UUs and those who are in prison.
To that end, the Du Monds have asked that the $1,000 charity donation associated with their award be split between the Prison Ministry of CLF and the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal as seed money to facilitate the creation of this plan.
Barbara ended by reminding the audience that there is still much justice work to do, paraphrasing the hymn “Just as Long as I Have Breath”: “If they ask what I did well, tell them I said yes to life, yes to truth, yes to love.”