Friday, January 21, 2011

How we are with each other

Third in a series of posts on the January UUA board meeting

One by one they stood up, giving their names, congregations, and when they had been arrested. Several talked about their strong conviction that this was a justice issue, how they could not NOT do it. There was a realization that being white made it easier, but mostly what made it easier was that there were at least 7 or 8 others standing on the sidewalks for every person who was arrested.

They knew they were not alone.

These were, of course, the Unitarian Universalists who were arrested in connection with the July 29 demonstration against SB 1070 in Arizona. Coming from across the country, those arrested included Arizona UUs, several from our district (Pacific Central), as well as President Peter Morales. Most of their charges have been dismissed.

This was Day 5 of a very different UUA Board meeting. The morning included meeting with heads of various activist organizations, including Somos America and ministers from other denominations who said to us "you don't know how much it meant to have you here. We have been discouraged. We have felt alone. All those yellow shirts told us we were not. You have inspired us."

In the evening the Board, GA2012 Accountability Committee, and members of the GA Planning Committee were joined by the board of the Pacific Southwest District and members of local congregations. We broke into small groups and talked about what made the idea of GA2012 different: it was a real chance to make a difference, to work together, to do something different. Yes, some people who normally came would not, but there would be space for others who had not attended before, especially our youth and young adults. And one by one we stood up to say what we needed to make this work for us: media attention, money, accessibility concerns in 120 degree heat, interfaith coalitions, singing, impeccable logistics skills, support to bring in youth and young adults, support for an immigration ministry, and opening our capacity for love: "we need a little bit of knock down roll around love".

And my favorite was the person who stood to say "this has the potential to be transformational or a failure. The difference will be how we are with each other".


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