United Action Connecticut

Our Mission

Strengthening communities by bringing people and congregations together to foster initiatives for improving lives through social justice work - this is the mission and purpose of United Action Connecticut. United Action is an interfaith, multi-racial, multi-lingual organization crossing political, economic and urban/suburban boundaries. We hope that you will join us in our pursuits to advance civil rights for immigrants, improve health care access, build awareness for mental illness, and to lobby for key legislation in these areas.

UACT's Issues Work for 2018

  • Civil Rights for Immigrants
  • Health Care Access
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Protections for Domestic Workers/Aging with Dignity Campaign

Undocumented 2018 – What are the Issues

On January 30, 2018, United Action CT partnered with ACLU Power People for a forum titled “Undocumented 2018 - What are the Issues?”  The event was held at the New Britain Public Library and attended by over 50 local residents.  Marianne Hebenstreit of the ACLU Power People and Mark Kosnoff of UACT moderated the event, which focused on who the undocumented population in Connecticut are, and the psychological and legal issues that undocumented immigrants face. 

Ann Speyer gave an in depth presentation of who the undocumented among us are, including the education, occupations, ethnicity as well as other details.  Karen Dworski, a licensed clinical social worker, spoke to how the constant fear of detention and possible deportation can psychologically impact immigrant youth.

Immigration attorney Dana Bucin gave a riveting legal presentation, explaining the difficulties of people in some countries, notably Mexico, China and India, from coming to this country legally.  She also urged those in attendance to get involved and press their Federal legislators to change the unfair and archaic immigration laws.

The most compelling part of the evening came next when four Dreamers told their stories of emigrating and growing up in the United States.  Jose Diaz, Mariano Cardoso, Sabrina Garcia and Sophie, all DACA recipients, recalled the difficulties and fears they have encountered over the years as well as the crushing disappointment of possibly losing their DACA protection. Also speaking was Jason Ramos, who is a U.S. citizen, but whose father is undocumented, and had to seek sanctuary in a New Haven church to avoid being deported.

Finally, Mary O’Brien, the Global Solidarity Coordinator with the Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry, called on all the attendees to put their supportive thoughts on paper. The OCSJM hopes to collect thousands of these “letters” to send to the current administration to demonstrate that local citizens support comprehensive immigration reform.

United Action and the ACLU Power People plan to stage more of these informative events in the future.

United Action is awarded Defense Mini-grant by CIRA

On January 24th, 2018, the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), through the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, awarded United Action CT (UACT) a Community Defense Mini-grant to be used to build a community defense network in Connecticut and provide information, outreach and services to Connecticut’s immigrant families and individuals.

UACT will be focusing on the New Britain/Plainville/Bristol, Meriden/Middletown and Hartford areas to provide Know Your Rights and Emergency Preparedness forums as well as legal clinics. In addition UACT will develop Rapid Response plans in its areas of focus and provide personalized assistance.  If you or your congregation or organization is interested in hosting a forum or clinic please contact UACT at 860-515-2284. 

United Action participates in Protect Our Care Connecticut Campaign

United action CT (UACT) has joined a coalition of health care and advocacy groups that have formed the Protect Our Care Connecticut (POCCT) campaign that supports comprehensive, high quality, affordable and accessible health care for all Connecticut residents. UACT healthcare task force chairperson Ocean Pellett has been leading UACT’s participation in the campaign.

Protect Our Care CT seeks to:

  • preserve and strengthen the gains made by the Affordable Care Act, and
  • defend Medicaid, Medicare and women’s health programs.

Protect Our Care CT campaign coordinates organizations and individuals committed to:

  • educate each other, the public and policy makers on health care issues
  • respond to threats to health care coverage and programs, and
  • advocate at the national and state level for policies that support health equity and health care for everyone.

If you would like to receive alerts and updates on the POCCT campaign sign up at www.protectourcarect.org/sign-up.

For more information, contact Jane McNichol at jmcnichol@universalhealthct.org or call 203-427-3909

Solidarity Gathering results in Middletown Resolution

On September 23, 2017, United Action CT (UACT) hosted a Solidarity Gathering at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Middletown in support of the statewide home health care worker campaign. The campaign, also known as “Aging with Dignity”, is a project designed to improve home care services, and thus allow our elderly to remain in their homes rather than sent to nursing homes, by improving home care jobs. Home care services are primarily performed by domestic workers, who have historically been excluded from the protection of federal and state labor laws and many of these exclusions persist today.  UACT is part of a coalition that includes the Brazilian Worker Center, the Naugatuck Valley Project, the Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry, the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, SEIU Local 1199 and others that are advocating for a domestic worker bill of rights.

Attending the gathering on September 23rd was Middletown Deputy Mayor Robert Santangelo, who indicated that he strongly supported the campaign.  Over the ensuing weeks UACT pursued an effort to get the Middletown Common Council to pass a city resolution supporting domestic workers, the findings of the Domestic Worker’s Task Force, and the proposed development of a bill to protect domestic workers.

With the help of Deputy Mayor Santangelo, UACT managed to get the resolution on the agenda of the December 4th Middletown Common Council meeting. During public comment, UACT executive Director Mark Kosnoff spoke in support of the resolution. Also in attendance, and in support of the measure, was Pastor Cathy Rohrs of the Middletown Faith Lutheran Church. After some discussion the Common Council passed the resolution by an 8-2 vote, and directed the City Clerk to forward copies of the resolution to the Connecticut General Assembly Task Force on Domestic Workers, the Middletown State delegation, the Mayor of Middletown and the Governor. The statewide coalition feels that city resolutions can be a useful tool in promoting increased rights and benefits for domestic workers by bringing attention to their plight. 

 DACA Statement from United Action CT

On Tuesday, September 5, Attorney Jeff Sessions announced the administration’s decision to end the DACA program. DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has allowed nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth who were brought to the United States as children to obtain work permits, attend school, and contribute openly to our economy without fear of deportation.  This program has been very important to the immigrants that have come into this country as they now experience the values of freedom and choice, enjoy a better life than they had in their home coutries which can be unsafe for them and their children, and hope for a path to U.S. citizenship. By ending the program, the administration will again make these young people, known as DREAMER’S , vulnerable to deportation or detention. Participants in and applicants to DACA trusted the federal government with their names and contact information when applying to the program – information that makes them especially vulnerable to deportation now.

United Action CT has been a strong proponent of comprehensive immigration reform for several years and our organization applauded the DACA program when it was instituted in 2012.  In fact, UACT has conducted several DACA clinics to help undocumented youth obtain the protections and benefits the program offered.  We find the decision to end the DACA program appalling and condemn the decision in the strongest terms. This reversal will create new problems that will impact our community on multiple levels in a very negative way and the very structure of our economy. These DREAMERS are a vital part of this community and their contributions are enormous.

UACT intends to support the DREAMER’s in whatever way we can and we also urge Congress to take immediate action to protect DACA recipients from deportation and detention as well as taking legislative action to pass a DREAM ACT that would grant DACA recipients permanent residence status and provide a pathway to citizenship.

Join UACT today in contacting your Senators and Congressmen and urging them to support the DREAMER’s and fight for a just immigration system.

United Action needs your Health Care Stories

  • United Action Connecticut is partnering with 10 other organizations through the Universal Health Care Foundation (UHCF) to build support for state and federal health care policy advocacy work in 2017.  We are interested in building a bank of health care stories to bolster our collective advocacy efforts.

As you are probably aware, the gains made by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the Medicaid and Medicare programs are under attack by Congress and the Trump administration. At the state level, the UHCF plans to put forward several new proposals to help individuals and families who are struggling with the high out-of-pocket costs of health care - in addition to protecting crucial programs, such as Medicaid, from the budget chopping block.

A lot is at stake and we need the stories of everyday people to help put a face on this issue.

Personal health care stories will fall into two major categories:

  • People who have benefitted from coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid or Medicare (including the value of having care and/or the challenge of losing care
  • People for whom out-of-pocket health care costs have created a barrier to care or a household hardship.

If you have a story or know someone who may have a health care story that fits into one of the above categories please contact United Action at 860-595-2284 or e-mail us at uact4change@gmail.com.  Don't wait to make your voice heard, we need these stories now so we can advocate on your behalf before health care costs become unaffordable.

UACT partners with others on Home Care Worker/Aging with Dignity campaign

United Action CT has joined with several other organizations in an Aging with Dignity Campaign to improve homecare services to the elderly in Connecticut by improving homecare jobs. The Naugatuck Valley Project, the Brazilian Worker's Center, the Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry, SEIU Local 1199 and the Unitarian-Universalist Society:East have all joined forces to advocate and advance legislation on this very important issue.

UACT has become involved with this project because of the needs at both ends of the homecare spectrum.  Connecticut's population is aging at an increasingly rapid rate. But the supply of homecare workers remains well below what is needed to enable this growing population to age with dignity, largely because of poor pay, difficult working conditions, and lack of benefits and training. There is a 50% to 60% annual turnover within this sector in Connecticut. As we age, we look for quality care that will uphold our dignity. As people of social justice, we also have a special concern for the dignity of work and the rights of workers.

Currently the coalition is submitting a bill to the state legislature, The Quality Jobs for Quality Care Act, that is designed to improve the benefits and working conditions for home care workers and thus improve the care of the elderly in their homes.