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Lay Coordinator: Jeff Pekrul 


Phone: 415-690-7441

The forum brings together Unitarian Universalists of San Francisco and fellow citizens to gain a deeper understanding of the issues of our time and to hear powerful presentations that both inform and inspire.

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Civil Rights and Anti-Transgender Backlash in the United States

Sunday Forum with Ryan Thoreson

Sunday, June 2, 9:30 am, TSK Room/Zoom.

A light breakfast will be offered at 9:00 am.

In recent years, state legislatures have filed hundreds of bills targeting LGBT rights, particularly the rights of transgender children. Many of these have passed into law, barring transgender people from accessing gender-affirming care, participating on sports teams, using bathrooms and other facilities, and presenting themselves consistent with their gender identity. This presentation will reflect on recent legislation and litigation and the impact that they have had on individuals, families, and communities, as well as offer thoughts on what the struggle for trans rights will entail in the years ahead.

Ryan Thoreson is an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he teaches and writes on constitutional law, international human rights law, and law and sexuality. Previously, Thoreson was a researcher in the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, where he worked on reports on LGBT issues in schools, religious exemptions, healthcare access, and anti-transgender violence. He holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a doctorate in anthropology from Oxford University, and a bachelor's degree in government and studies of women, gender, and sexuality from Harvard University.

You can phone in at +1 669 444 9171. Meeting ID: 959 2846 5647, Passcode: 580275


Rent Plus: The Emergence of a New Landlord Tenant Relationship

Sunday Forum with Nathan Gandrud

Sunday, June 9, 9:30 am, TSK Room/Zoom.

A light breakfast will be offered at 9:00 am.

After the 2008 Financial Crisis, hundreds of thousands of single-family homes were foreclosed on and reverted to the federal government. The government transferred these homes to hedge funds and private equity firms, charging almost no interest or fees. This created the largest landlords in the country, each with tens of thousands of homes in their portfolios. To manage thousands of homes distributed across the country, these companies invested in property technologies and created residential rental platforms that have made it easier to extract higher rents and fees while exerting more control over the lives of tenants. This presentation explores how these companies came to exist and how they are changing the landlord-tenant relationship. 

Nathan Gandrud is a law student at the University of San Francisco (USF) focusing on public interest law and tenant’s rights. He is currently a law clerk on the impact litigation team at the National Housing Law Project. In 2022, he won the McFetridge Award for Creativity in Trial Advocacy and was invited to join USF’s mock trial team this fall as it competes in the annual San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association mock trial.

You can phone in at +1 669 444 9171. Meeting ID: 944 2993 6269
Passcode: 908583

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Project Survive

Sunday Forum with Leslie Simon

Sunday, May 12, 9:30 am, TSK Room/Zoom.

A light breakfast will be offered at 9:00 am.

Many people are familiar with the "Cycle of Violence" first outlined by Lenore Walker in her book The Battered Woman (1979), which describes intimate partner violence as moving through three phases: honeymoon, tension building, explosion, and back to honeymoon. In the scenarios Walker described, the victim does not fight back. But we now understand that some victims do fight back. Sometimes it's self-defense, but other times it's a phenomenon known as "violent resistance," which further complicates the escape from abusive relationships. By understanding all the reasons victims find it hard to leave, we can become more compassionate and supportive friends and family for them.

Leslie Simon founded “Poetry for the People” at City College of San Francisco in 1975 and taught for many years in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, which she chaired for a decade. In 1994, Leslie founded Project SURVIVE, City College’s nationally recognized, award-winning sexual violence prevention program, which she coordinated for nearly 25 years. Leslie has received awards for her teaching and program development, including the Stanback-Stroud Diversity Award from the California Community College State Academic Senate and the KQED Women’s History Month Local Hero Award. Leslie co-founded and co-coordinated (with Ann Wettrich) Groundswell, an architectural literacy program housed in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at City College. They taught “Introduction to Museum Studies for nearly a decade and are currently developing a Museum Studies and Social Justice certificate. 

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Sunday Forum with Tim Redmond

Sunday, May 12, 9:30 am, TSK Room/Zoom.

A light breakfast will be offered at 9:00 am.

Tim Redmond, a favorite UUSF Forum speaker, will provide his usual unique perspective on the latest local, national, and international news, with a particular focus on events this summer affecting the fall election.

Many San Franciscans want to support candidates who will improve their lives by putting forth policies that tackle the city’s poverty, drug addiction, and homelessness, which continue unabated. Which ones will bring new solutions to these problems? Which one has experience in urban management? Which have records of success? How can we determine which will best work with law enforcement agencies as they protect families and small businesses, but who will also help them foster free speech as they monitor our protests over national and international policies?. Tim has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years, most of that time as editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of, an online blog.

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Palestine, Israel, and The U.S. Empire 

Sunday Forum with Richard Becker


Sunday, May 5, 9:30 am, TSK Room/Zoom.

A light breakfast will be offered at 9:00 am.

The news from Palestine and now other countries in the Middle East has become worse each day since the outbreak of the crisis on October 7. The facts about this war’s origins and intelligence failures are still murky after 7 months. The known number of 30,000 Palestinian civilian deaths and 70,000 injured keeps climbing and appears to be unstoppable. Many of these known deaths are due to starvation. These catastrophic happenings between so-called “advanced” countries are the worst war statistics in history. This situation could lead to a broader international nuclear conflict. Protests in this country and around the world are demanding that the United States end its support for the Israeli government, so far to no avail. Here are some questions that might help us better deal with this crisis:

  • What can an American citizen do to understand and try to stop this immoral and horrendous conflict at this juncture in history?

  • What is needed when this conflict ends to have justice and equality for all the people directly involved in this situation?

Richard Becker is the Western regional coordinator of the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition and has researched and traveled to Palestine and the Middle East for the past 50 years. He is the author of Palestine, Israel, and the U.S. Empire, whose new edition is out now and available for purchase. Mr. Becker has been an anti-war activist since the late 1960s and is a frequent speaker at our UUSF Forum.

You can phone in at +1 669 444 9171. Meeting ID: 975 1881 0812, Passcode: 559224

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Animal Rights and The Law

Sunday Forum with Wayne Hsiung

Sunday, April 28, 9:30 am, TSK Room/Zoom.

A light breakfast will be offered at 9:00 am.

Wayne Hsiung is an attorney who is an internationally recognized animal rescuer and investigator. Wayne was recently jailed for 38 days for organizing a peaceful protest and the open rescue of chickens and ducks from factory farms in Sonoma County, California. He was facing a maximum 16-year prison sentence last month for rescuing beagles from the 2nd largest breeder of dogs for experimentation in the U.S., Ridglan Farms in Dane County, Wisconsin. Charges were abruptly dropped right before trial to keep hidden from the public various criminal abuses of the dogs. Wayne has since petitioned for a special prosecutor to charge Ridglan Farms. Wayne works for animals despite the efforts of powerful industries to stop him and the dangers of the factory farming system in this country. Join us for an engaging discussion and learn what you can do to help.

You can phone in at +1 669 444 9171. Meeting ID: 933 4616 4242, Passcode: 991929


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