Unitarian Universalists Support Immigration Justice, Reproductive Justice; Repudiate Doctrine of Discovery at Annual Meeting
PHOENIX – The 2012 Justice General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) closed Sunday night, June 24, in Phoenix, AZ. Nearly 4,000 people attended the annual meeting to gather in worship, attend social justice workshops, bear public witness for immigration justice, and tend to UUA business.
Highlights of the meeting include:
• The adoption of a faith-based institutional commitment to reproductive justice.
• The repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.
• An interfaith candlelight vigil at the Tent City jail, attended by thousands of Unitarian Universalists (UUs) and other social justice supporters, covered extensively by the media.
• Workshops and other educational opportunities centered around immigration justice.
• The strengthening of social justice alliances by welcoming speakers and guests including Ware Lecturer, broadcast journalist Maria Hinojosa; Fahs Lecturer, anti-bias educator Louise Derman-Sparks; and the Rev. Karen Tse, an international human rights attorney and Unitarian Universalist minister.
Delegates at GA 2012 approved a Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) titled “Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling.” The CSAI encourages Unitarian Universalists (UUs) to reenergize their long-standing commitment to women's reproductive rights, and to pay attention to the important intersections of race, class and gender.
The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery – the premise that European Christian explorers who “discovered” other lands had the authority to claim those lands and subdue or enslave the residents. The resolution calls on the UUA and its congregations to review "contemporary policies, programs, theologies, and structures" for evidence of the doctrine, and requires the UUA to demand that the U.S. government fully implement the standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
On Saturday, June 23, thousands of Unitarian Universalists joined other people of faith and community partners at the infamous Tent City jail for a powerful candlelight vigil, speaking out against inhumane conditions and human rights violations. Attendees joined with representatives from the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, NDLON and Puente Arizona, and were featured in hundreds of media outlets.
During the GA Sunday morning worship, an offering was collected on behalf of Puente Arizona and Comités de Defensa de Barrios. Puente Arizona is part of the global movement for migrant justice and human rights, promoting justice, non-violence, interdependence, and human dignity.
In keeping with the focus on immigration justice, speakers during the week included 2012 Ware Lecturer Maria Hinojosa, award-winning National Public Radio broadcast journalist. In her Saturday night address, titled "Stories from the Frontlines of the New America: Detention, Deportation and the Power of Democratic Resistance," Hinojosa discussed the concept of "two Americas."
Detailed coverage of the agenda, justice work, and worship at GA can be found on UU World’s General Assembly Blog.
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