Social Justice

Susanne Skubik Intriligator has studied, chronicled, and participated in movements for social justice for more than 40 years — from her 1980s student activism against apartheid to her 2023 arrest for blocking traffic in downtown Boston with Extinction Rebellion (shown above) . For her, the life of faith — and  basic human morality — call us all to work toward economic equality, full human liberation, and climate justice.

Feminism

It started with campus “Take Back the Night” marches and led to five years on staff at Ms. magazine in New York City. Back then (1990-95), Ms. was completely ad-free, 100 pages of news, essays, and art written and curated by a staff of just 12 people. Susanne covered international news, reporting on stories — women on strike in India or standing up against rape-as-a-weapon-of-war in Bosnia — that were ignored by mainstream media. She also edited the Religion section and served as associate copy editor at the magazine.

Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism

Susanne grew up in a working-class Catholic family in East Dearborn, Michigan, in a majority Lebanese Muslim neighborhood. Religious and cultural pluralism was a fact of everyday life from early childhood. (It proved to be good preparation for later life; today she is married to a Jewish man and their adult son is a practicing Buddhist.)

As an editor on the multicultural staff of Ms. magazine, Susanne worked with feminist organizers from around the world, across divisions of race, class, and faith, and she worked directly with writers like Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem.

Later Susanne lived abroad, in Wales, for 13 years. She earned her PhD in a Welsh-speaking culture and parented children who went to Welsh-language schools. She has first-hand experience as an immigrant and cultural outsider.

Today, Rev. Susanne prioritizes anti-racism work within her ministry. Working closely with lay leaders, she helped the Follen congregation to pass a resolution both to become intentionally anti-racist in all its endeavors and to hang a Black Lives Matter banner prominently.

For 3 years, Rev. Susanne led communications and social media for Moral Movement Mass, a statewide interfaith coalition standing against policies and practices that marginalize poor people, communities of color, and LGBTQ people, based on the work of Rev. Dr. William Barber and his Moral Mondays coalition in North Carolina. In 2023, Rev. Susanne joined Dr. Barber’s Prophetic Council, and in April 2024, she took part in his inaugural conference at Yale Divinity School, titled “What Are the Moral and Spiritual Issues in the 2024 Presidential Campaign?”

Climate Justice

In September 2023, Rev. Susanne connected with Extinction Rebellion Boston, the local affiliate of a global movement to raise awareness and force political leaders to take meaningful action on the climate crisis. The group was preparing an action meant to draw public attention to Gov. Healey’s broken promises, including a plan to block traffic temporarily in downtown Boston. As a UU minister and as someone with race, class, and health privilege, Rev. Susanne decided it was her turn to volunteer for an arrestable role in the protest.

On Thursday September 21, 2023, as part of climate protests happening around the globe, three groups of XR protesters marched around a block near South Station (see photo above). By walking slowly, they disrupted traffic, while handing out flyers to explain their purpose. Police arrived within 10 minutes and they sat down. About 20 were then arrested; Rev. Susanne spent 8 hours that day in a solitary cell in the Southie precinct. Thankfully, the protest earned media coverage locally and even internationally. Check out this story from the Associated Press.

After three court appearances, the protesters were each sentenced to 28 hours of community service, separate from their work or previous activism. Rev. Susanne served her time teaching English to Haitian refugees.

On Saturday April 20, 2024, Rev. Susanne once again stood with XR protesters, this time to disrupt passengers at Hanscom private jet hangars (see photo above). She was once again arrested for trespassing, and she spent 6 hours behind bars, held by MA State Police. News coverage was expansive once again, and the story led Boston TV news that day. Reporters reached out to Gov. Healey for comment, and she was forced to declare her non-position.