Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why I am going to General Assembly

Well, if I am on the board, I have to, right?

Well, yes -- but there is a lot more.

The idea of a "Justice GA" was terrifying to a lot of people -- I count members of the UUA Board, UUA staff, and GA Planning Committee among them - because we had never done it before. What if no one came? Or what if they came and we couldn't deliver?

Any doubts I might have had were diminishing even before I had the brief conversation with the GA Planning Committee member at the last board meeting. Not known for his overt enthusiasm, he had just come from the GA Planning Committee meeting and was pumped. "This,", he said "is going to be great. I have never been this excited about a GA program before."

There will be over 100 workshops, lectures, panel presentations, film screenings, and worship services. As described on the UUA website "these programs will educate and prepare participants to build the capacity of Unitarian Universalists to stand in opposition to systemic racism and to witness on immigration, racial and economic justice." Public witness events will be in the relative cool of the late evening -- there will be no civil disobedience.

Fans of NPR will recognize Maria Hinojosa, who gives the Ware Lecture, with the Service of the Living Tradition sermon delivered by Rev. Karen Tse, an international human rights attorney and UU minister.

What makes this GA especially interesting to me is that we are doing it with partners, who have asked us to:
  • learn about the Doctrine of Discovery,
  • bear witness in the Phoenix community,
  • provide assistance through specific service opportunities,
  • worship, learn, and grow together,
  • pass a resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Christan Discovery and to pressure our government to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and
  • leave Arizona prepared to partner and work together for human rights in our own neighborhoods, when we return home

A recent conversation between President Peter Morales and United Church of Christ President Goeffrey Black (who will join us in Phoenix) suggests that red shirts, with UCC's "God is still speaking", may be joining our yellow shirts in public witness.

I wouldn't miss it. Registration is open.

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