Tuesday, June 28, 2011


First in a series of posts about General Assembly 2011

In providing the position of the UUA Board on its own reduction in size from 23 trustees elected mostly from districts to 11 elected at large, trustee Susan Ritchie said "you can do better than us". I concur. That does not mean I think we have been a bad board, or that we are not qualified to sit at the 25 Beacon table.

The greatest impact of this General Assembly on me personally is the passing of the resolution to downsize the UUA Board. Just re-elected at the June Pacific Central District Assembly, this means I serve a second term of two years, rather than four.

Standing in line at Starbucks in the convention center, a woman about my age asked how the board members felt about the change: “how did it feel to be identified as “less than”, that those of us of a certain age and color were somehow not good enough to serve on the board?”

I ached for her. She had just been passed over in her job for someone younger. This is not what happened in the position taken by the UUA Board.

I am proud of the contributions I have made to the UUA through my board service, and just as determined to have the next two years be even more meaningful. And I am also aware of the privilege that allows me, a 61 year old white woman who is financially independent, to serve this Association. “Be the change you want to see”: I want to willingly step aside to allow other voices as the table. Will they have the life experience, or the knowledge of institutionalism, or the skills I have assembled from leadership positions in corporate power structures? Some will, some won't, but I don’t think that is what matters most. What they will have is a different life experience, and will bring that to bear in all its richness in how we shape our future.

As I walked through the hall after the affirmative vote on downsizing the Board, I ran into several delegates from the district that elected me—each said to me “this is about trust” – trust in the board to follow through on commitments made.

This board does not take that trust lightly. I would like to know what that looks like to you -- a year (or two) from now, what will this board have done that makes you feel really good about the delegates' decision?


Anonymous said...

HI Linda
After listening to Ginny's comments in her Moderator's Report about the need to do things differently, I was kind of let down by the closing ceremonies. It seemed way too "old style", especially after the uplifting, energizing morning service.

I have trusted Ginny to walk her talk, but those closing ceremonies felt very old school, self serving and way too long. Not much energy in the hall, which then didn't help me find the belief or trust that we CAN do things differently moving forward.

There are still too many of us middle aged affluent white folks in control. Good luck in your drive to help us all shift to a new model for the Phoenix Justice Assembly as well as in all the work we do together.


Kia Hatch
UUCM, Grass Valley CA

Linda Laskowski said...

I am not sure if you are attributing the closing ceremonies to Gini. The responsibility for General Assembly is split between Board and GA Planning Committee (elected by the delegates). The Board is responsible for plenaries and mini-assemblies, the GA Planning Committee for most of everything else, including the superb worship services this year.

Bill Kennedy said...

A year from now we have held a justice GA in Phoenix. We arrived on buses with big yellow banners and learned from our brothers and sisters on the border. Our input had an effect on the federal laws aimed at immigration reform. Two years from now we have decided that, having had such a profound experience, we are hungry for more of the same. We are active in the world, and making a difference in our home towns.

Bill Kennedy

JamieMc said...

My thought is that one or two years is too short a time frame for evaluating the impact of this change. Having been a member of several of not-for-profit boards, I'm confident that this downsizing will create a board of trustees that is more efficient and more representative of who we want to be, rather than who we are being or have been. I'm hearing strains of "Keep on moving forward" as we continue to evolve. And my hope is that you will continue to serve on the UUA BOT.