2001 Action of Immediate Witness

Whereas our Unitarian Universalist Principles call us to affirm and promote “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations” and “the goal of world community”;

Whereas a 1997 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly resolution stated that, “because of the impact of racism on all people, and the interconnection among oppressions, we realize we need to make both institutional and individual commitments to end racism”;

Whereas the United Nations has called for the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances (“WCAR”), which will be held in September 2001:

  • In order “to review the political, historical, economic, social, cultural, and other factors leading to racism and racial discrimination,”
  • Indicating that it “will be a unique and important opportunity to create a new world vision for the fight against racism and racial discrimination in the new millennium,” and that
  • “It is now necessary to look at the roots of racism and make institutional changes in order to prevent its eruption”;
Whereas denominational and interfaith delegates, including the Unitarian Universalist Association, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and UUSC’s partner organizations, will attend the WCAR; Whereas the WCAR is supported by the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office;

Whereas the government of the United States has threatened to withdraw from the WCAR if specific forms of racial or ethnic prejudice are included on the agenda of the WCAR; and

Whereas world leaders are expected to participate in the creation of a new world vision for the fight against racism and racial discrimination;

Therefore Be It Resolved that the 2001 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association calls on its leadership worldwide to:

  1. Urge President George W. Bush of the United States and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada to send delegations to the WCAR; and
  2. Urge them to affirm and support the fundamental need of all peoples to be respected as members of one human race with equality in worth and dignity
  3. Urge the UUA delegation and all other Unitarian Universalist delegations to carry to the WCAR and the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) community gathered in simultaneous meetings at Durban, South Africa, in September 2001, the working definition of racism: “racial or ethnic prejudice plus the systemic misuse of power to derive benefits and privileges for a dominant group,” and devote their best efforts to gaining acceptance of this broad definition of the term;
  4. With the goal of transforming all institutionalized racism throughout the world, urge the Unitarian Universalist and NGO delegations to the WCAR to actively encourage all participating governments to establish relationships with international and interfaith organizations that are working for racial and ethnic justice and for the dismantling of racism; and

Urge the official representative of the Unitarian Universalist Association to the United Nations to deliver this Action of Immediate Witness to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan as a statement of our intent to stand with the United Nations in its resolve to ensure that the twenty-first century bends toward peace and justice for all peoples of the world.

For more information contact socialjustice@uua.org.

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