May 2023 Member Spotlight – Sydney Alexander

Sydney Alexander grew up in UUCSS.  Or at least from age five on.  Her family started out in the Lutheran Church but her parents were seeking a more humanistic spiritual philosophy. Sydney noticed that at UUCSS children were welcome in the sanctuary and the overall tone was more open and welcoming. During middle school, she went through Lutheran confirmation. This was something her parents encouraged. They knew that she still had something to learn from her childhood church, with the tools that she had learned from the UU tradition. Here, she felt the power of faith in a way she hadn’t before. In fact, studying the Bible and examining her own beliefs led her to study theological anthropology. 

Learning about religion and religious beliefs is a major driver in Sydney’s life.  She left us for a while in 2016 during the beginning of the Trump years and our continued denominational struggle at grappling with understanding the 8th Principle.  Through a great deal of exploration, she came to the belief that most religions have compassion in their DNA but can be powerful tools of control and oppression. Her own spiritual practice is largely solitary, centered around creative forms of meditation, such as song, dance, poetry. These practices have been key in managing her mental and physical ailments, things that have plagued her for as long as she can remember. Coupled with the seemingly endless losses of loved ones throughout her childhood, Sydney found herself without faith; not in a God, not in a Spirit, not in people. High school was the first time that she wasn’t a part of a spiritual community. She had to find her way back. Social action work was that spark of divinity that led her to join UUCSS again. 

Sydney primarily works with two radical organizations: Harriet’s Wildest Dreams and the Black Workers Center Chorus.  Harriet’s Wildest Dreams is a Black Defense Hub dedicated to abolishing police and prisons for Black liberation with no conditions.  There is an emergency in the treatment of Black Americans by law enforcement and the prison system. She firmly believes it must be dismantled, not reformed. The organization provides legal defense, direct action, education and community organizing.  She also participates in Safety Squad.

The second source of her “heart work” is the Black Worker’s Center Chorus. As a sister group to the Black Worker’s Wellness Center, the chorus is for Black and Indigenous people who sing for justice and against the continued genocidal colonialism that occupied countries suffer.  The group is proud that there is no audition. Access to classical music training is not evenly distributed. If you want to sing, come in and join.

Currently, Sydney has just finished up an Associate of Arts degree and is looking for a college to finish a Bachelor’s degree. Her educational goals are to attend seminary school and join the Ministry. This vocation holds that difficult but beautiful intermingling of compassion, spirituality, and social action and seems to be a perfect fit.