Commitment to Accessibility at General Assembly
General Assembly (GA) should be welcoming, accessible, and inclusive for people with disabilities. Our faith calls us to regard each human being with inherent worth and dignity. Our mutual goal is to find beauty in every face, the holy in every spirit, and to accept people as they are—in their infinite diversity—whether or not their inherent differences are stereotyped and discriminated against elsewhere. We look towards each person as having gifts to offer, inner strength, valued life experiences and the capacity to grow.
Unitarian Universalists have a history of fighting for justice. Ableism is yet another issue in which we are called by our faith to seek justice, to deepen relationships, to break the barriers that exist in society at large, in our congregations, and in ourselves.
The General Assembly Planning Committee is committed to addressing the inclusion of all people (whatever their abilities might be) in all GA activities. Beyond the physical accessibility of the facilities we use—ramps, captioning, seating cut-outs, etc.—we endeavor to take the next step: to truly welcome people with disabilities, integrating those with mobility, visual, hearing, mental health, chemical and sensory, developmental, addiction, and other disabilities into every facet of GA.
The GA Planning Committee evaluates all possible future sites for GA considering the ease of getting around and physical accessibility to the convention area, including local hotels. Each facility completes an initial screening for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and an onsite follow-up accessibilities survey is conducted.
The volunteer Accessibilities Services Committee coordinates the provision of assistive devices for GA attendees, including hearing enhancements, wheelchairs, electric scooters, captioning, and ASL interpretation.
Adopted by the Planning Committee, April 11, 1989:
WHEREAS annually the member congregations send delegates to the General Assembly to conduct the business of the Unitarian Universalist Association;
WHEREAS it is in the interest of the denomination as a whole to have the maximum number of congregations and individuals take part in the General Assembly;
WHEREAS the General Assembly Planning Committee is responsible for arranging these meetings, including site selection, housing arrangements, business agenda, programs, worship and other activities;
WHEREAS a multitude of factors must be weighed in making decisions about the location and content of General Assembly; and
WHEREAS we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every human personality;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly Planning Committee affirms its commitment to make the General Assembly as accessible as possible to all member congregations, their representatives, and individual members; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly Planning Committee will take the following actions:
- Recommend sites that are free of architectural barriers to the maximum extent.
- Give careful consideration to the needs of the elderly and the young in recommending sites.
- Seek to control costs of attending General Assembly so that personal economic situations are less of a factor in delegate selection by the congregations and in individual decision regarding attendance.
- Make available at cost such audio, visual, mobility, and other aids as are requested in advance by persons planning to attend General Assembly.
- Serve as a model for other planning groups in the denomination as to the care and concern for the issues related to accessibility.