A Statement of Conscience and three Actions of Immediate Witness, passed by the 2015 General Assembly, focus on reproductive justice, Black Lives Matter, climate justice, and immigration.
General Assembly delegates approved three Actions of Immediate Witness and a Statement of Conscience at the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The gathering approved a Statement of Conscience affirming reproductive justice, which concludes, “we work toward reproductive justice, and commit to replacing insecurity with safety, fear with acceptance, judgment with love, and shame with compassion.” Statements of Conscience are developed as part of a three-year study/action process by congregations and the Commission on Social Witness.
Largely aspirational but not without influence, Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) are resolutions introduced by petition at GA, where delegates discuss and amend up to three in GA mini-assemblies before the larger gathering of delegates debates them.
Though it eventually passed with overwhelming support, the most contentious debate of the General Assembly involved the AIW “Support the Black Lives Matter Movement.” Discussion lasted well over an hour, much of it centering on the appropriateness of including the phrase “prison abolition” in the text. The words were left in, but an explanation of the term—“which seeks to replace the current prison system with a system that is more just and equitable”—was included.
Climate justice, at the fore of General Assembly 2015, was the topic of the AIW “Support a Strong, Compassionate Global Climate Agreement in 2015: Act for a Livable Climate.” The resolution says, in part, “Unitarian Universalists have made a commitment to climate justice and stand in solidarity with first nation peoples, who are disproportionally affected by climate disruption.”
Calling “the recently enacted practice of family detention” to be “inconsistent with our Unitarian Universalist values,” the Assembly passed an AIW entitled “End Immigrant Child and Family Detention Now.”
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Kenny Wiley is a Denver-based UU World senior editor and program director for congregational engagement at the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. His writing has also appeared in the Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle, and Skyd Magazine.
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