Delegates affirm importance of issues raised by three proposed Actions of Immediate Witness that did not make it onto the final agenda.
Delegates vote on Saturday, June 23, to place three proposed Actions of Immediate Witness on the final agenda. On Sunday, after adopting all three AIWs, delegates also affirmed the importance of issues raised in other proposed AIWs that were not admitted to the final agenda. (© Nancy Pierce)
Even as the 2018 General Assembly voted to simplify the process in future years for social witness petitions called Actions of Immediate Witness, some delegates expressed dismay that only three of the eight petitions circulated at GA could be placed on the final agenda. During the closing General Session on Sunday, June 24, Co-Moderator Elandria Williams offered a motion that allowed delegates to affirm their concern for the issues raised by petitions that did not qualify for the final agenda.
“This year I know there were a lot of serious issues going on that we really wanted to speak out on, and there were many worthy ones,” Susan Goekler, chair of the Commission on Social Witness, told delegates as she announced the three proposed AIWs that qualified for the final agenda during Saturday morning’s General Session. “The vote was very close. If your issue was not one of the three selected, it does not mean you cannot take the other issues home, it does not mean that you cannot work on them, it just means that there wouldn’t be a formal statement here.”
During Sunday afternoon’s General Session, the General Assembly adopted all three Actions of Immediate Witness placed on the agenda, denouncing ICE and calling for humane treatment of migrant families, expressing solidarity with indigenous water protectors, and calling attention to predatory medical care practices in prisons. A few minutes later, delegates also endorsed Williams’s proposal that the GA affirm “the relevance and immediacy” of the other three proposed Actions of Immediate Witness, encouraging congregations and individuals to consider taking action on any of them.
Those proposed AIWs call attention to the gun reform March for Our Lives movement, to Israel’s detention of Palestinian children, and to the Poor People’s Campaign. The UUA published the text of those proposed resolutions on its website on June 27.
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Christopher L. Walton was the editor of UU World and director of the UUA’s Periodicals staff group until June 2021. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah.
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