Planning for Actions of Immediate Witness at General Assembly

To assist Unitarian Universalists in organizing Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) at General Assembly (GA), the Commission on Social Witness (Commission) encourages early connection and collaboration in advance of GA to build shared wisdom and empower contributions among local partners. Follow this link for guidance on identifying an AIW focus.

If you are interested in proposing an AIW or planning together, email socialwitness@uua.org with:

  • Potential AIW title or witness/action topic
  • Two-sentence description, and
  • Contact information for primary organizer(s).

The information will be posted here (scroll down for list). People interested in collaborating on a witness draft, action, or learning more can communicate with the organizer listed.

Please note: This list of AIWs is for planning and organizing purposes only! To be formally considered, proposed AIWs must be submitted at General Assembly as described in Part 2 of the Proposer's Guide.

Proposed AIWs

Title/Topic: [Awaiting your group’s witness/action here!]

Description:

Primary Contact(s):


Title/Topic: Stop Voter Suppression and Partner for Voting Rights and a Multiracial Democracy

Description: Unitarian Universalists Social Justice's (UUSJ) Democracy Action Team (DAT) joins other UU advocates and actors as well as non-UU partners to acknowledge longstanding and ongoing challenges to the realization of healthy, multiracial, inclusive democracy in the United States. This action calls on the UUA and its congregations to work in partnership toward theologically grounded understanding and meaningful action on democracy matters -- eliminating voter suppression, restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated returning citizens, ensuring fair districts, protecting the right of protest, demanding transparency with respect to money in politics, supporting D.C. statehood, and more.

Primary Contact:  Julia Sayles; Email: jlsayles@gmail.com; Donna Scheidt; email: donnascheidt@yahoo.com; Pablo DeJesus, Executive Director, UUSJ, pdejesus@uusj.org; (c) 202-417-6428; (o) 202-600-9132


Title/Topic: Protection of Freedom to Vote

Description: This past year we have seen the introduction and passage of some of the most anti-democratic voter suppression bills across the country. Many states have already enacted laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote and to have their votes matter. Laws include restrictions on mail-in voting, hours of voting and impose strict voter ID laws. At least 8 states have enacted laws that make in-person voting more difficult, restrict assistance to voters in returning their mail ballots, and limit the availability of mail ballot drop boxes. Some laws even allow partisan changes of election results. At the same time, other bills with expansive provisions have been introduced in 49 states. We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association support expanding, not restricting, the freedom to vote. We encourage our congregants to advocate for protections of mail-in voting, early voting and other means to expand, not restrict, voting. We support federal legislation such as the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (currently being voted on in the House and the Senate). We encourage members to support efforts in their states to protect our democracy and the freedom to vote.

Primary Contact: Name: Christine Hager, River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation (econchris@earthlink.net)


Title/Topic: Make TSA screening procedures gender-neutral

Description: Transgender citizens are subjected to embarrassment and harassment at U.S. airports every day by TSA agents, because of the requirement that agents must determine whether they believe a passenger is male or female and press a button on the scanning equipment indicating their decision. The determination is subject an individual agent’s personal prejudices and faulty assessments. Besides causing discriminatory, often cruel, treatment of passengers, the procedures are a waste of time and resources. The work of TSA agents is to look for weapons and other dangerous items, not breasts and testicles. Passengers rely on agents to make air travel safe. Agents should not be required to take time away from performing that one crucial goal. UUs must reach out and contact administrators at the Department of Homeland Security (the Secretary of the DHS and the TSA Administrator), in addition to contacting their elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate, urging them to do what they can to have TSA change their protocols and remove gender-related considerations from their screening procedures.

Primary Contact: Name: Lorraine Franz; Email: lhfranz@lhfranz.com


Title/Topic: COVID-19 Pandemic: Justice. Healing, Courage.

Description: Religious reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recovery; support for immediate public health work at the local, national, and international levels; request for a CSAI about the American health care system. This AIW will address the problems of economic injustice, systemic racism, and ageism and ableism in health care. The Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community (UUJEC) will coordinate this proposal with other groups.

Primary Contact(s): Rev. Robert Murphy. murphydalzell@aol.com


Title/Topic: Withhold US Military Aid to Israel Until It Complies with International Law and Stops Violating Palestinian Rights.

Description: Global engagement is required to end the systematic and decades-long violation of Palestinian human rights by the state of Israel, and the United States should not be enabling such violation. This AIW will address actions that Unitarian Universalists can take to support Palestinian rights.

Primary Contact(s): Curtis Bell, curt.c.bell@gmail.com or Dana Ashrawi, danaashrawi@gmail.com


Title/Topic: Thanksgiving Day for All People

Description: As we celebrate the new Juneteenth Holiday and push for Indigenous Peoples Day to replace the Columbus Day holiday, this proposed AIW calls for a new understanding of Thanksgiving Day, which is particularly appropriate this year, the 400th anniversary of the event in Plymouth Colony that is often called “the first American Thanksgiving”. We ask Congress and the President of the United States to designate the fourth Thursday in every November as a multiracial and multicultural holiday with an emphasis on healing and community service. We also ask Unitarian Universalist congregations, theological schools, and other institutions to honor November as Unitarian Universalist History Month every year.

Primary Contact: Name: Allan Lindrup; Email: uusj@sbcglobal.net


Title/Topic: Empower Transgender, Nonbinary, and Intersex People

Description: More than 100 anti-transgender state bills have been proposed in 2021, and at least 17 of them have been passed into law in 8 states, making this a record-breaking year in state legislation aimed to restrict trans rights. This proposed AIW calls on UUs to work to repeal these laws and block the passage of additional anti-trans bills, advocate for the passage of the Equality Act, work toward inclusive ID practices, and support laws that prohibit unnecessary surgeries on intersex children, as well as taking concrete actions to support, welcome, and include trans, nonbinary, and intersex people in our congregations and wider communities.

Primary Contact(s): Shige Sakurai, ministry@sakurai.org and Alex Kapitan, alex@transformingheartscollective.org