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General Session 2, General Assembly 2020

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Co-Moderators Elandria Williams and Mr. Barb Greve preside over the general sessions in which the business of the Association is conducted.​ See the Final Agenda (PDF, 12 pages) for more about the business process.

Agenda

  • Call to Order
  • Opening Words
  • GA Theme – Roots
  • Preliminary Credentials Report
  • President’s Report
  • Special Collection: UU the Vote
  • Music
  • Commission on Social Witness Report
  • Presentation of Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs)
    The Commission on Social Witness has identified two draft Actions of Immediate Witness that meet the criteria for significance, specificity, and timing as listed in the UUA bylaws and articulated in the criteria posted on the UUA website. These proposals are available online now for review and voting via the Participation Portal. Delegates may select one or both to be considered for admission to the General Session 5 agenda for a vote on Saturday. Let it be noted that minor revisions may be made to allow the proposers’ language to more fully represent both their intent and our values, and any such amendments will be summarized on Saturday prior to admitting proposals to the agenda for vote.
  • Framing for Breakout Groups
  • Closing Words
  • Announcements
  • Breakout Groups (not on video)

Rough Edited Captioning

​CART captioning provided by Alternative Communication Services, LLC.

This is being provided in a rough-draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.


>> Good afternoon, welcome to the third general session of this year's general assembly. We're grateful this afternoon to have the commission on institutional change share their report with us.

>> I now call to order the second general session of the 59th general assembly of the Unitarian Universalist association. Today's agenda includes in the following order, opening words, framing, preliminary credentials report, President's report, special collection for UU the vote, commission on social witness report and the introduction of the actions of immediate witness. Framing for breakout groups, closing words, breakout groups.

>> Each day by Chrys b hopper. Each day provides us with an opportunity to love again, to hurt again, to embrace joy, to discover. Each day provides us with opportunity to live.

Will this day no different, this hour no more unique than the last except maybe today, maybe now.

Maybe for the first time—(indiscernible) maybe for the first time, maybe sadly, we can share ourselves.

Ed

>> We're at a turning point for our faith and world, we have the opportunity to come together to work for more justice, more freedom, more safety, more access for us all. And our faith compels us to do so. Five years ago when this general assembly began to be planned, we could not have foretold much of what has unfolded. We could not have predicted the depth and resignation of some of our faith leaders, could not have predicted a world-wide pandemic, and didn't anticipate the need to move the entire general assembly on-line. With gratitude at the IT staff at the UUA headquarters and our on-line participants over the last ten years, we were well positioned to bring GA2020 virtual. Gratitude to the staff team, the UUA staff, and countless other volunteers that have been working diligently to help this week in engaging faith experience for us all.

Things won't be perfect. We'll have tech issues, timing challenges as we join across several time zones, confusion, and disappointment.

We'll also have amazing moments of beauty, fun, and connection with each other.

Some hard truths will be revealed to us on the institutional changes report, as well as many inspirational ways we can move forward as a faith community and institution.

In the faith formation 2020 report several years ago, Karen Grays offered a framework of experilearning meaning experiment with new ways of doing things and learn with the new experiences. We're experimenting and we'll learn. Perhaps we'll learn that GA doesn't need to be held in person every year, leaving us room to imagine how else we might gather together.

We will commission an article 2 and ask them to commission article 2 of the bylaws that includes our principles and our statements on purpose, inclusion, and freedom of belief.

It is time for us to do a review and make changes so that we're living in the Unitarian Universalism of the future, a Unitarian Universalism that holds us in times of great need and ethical, moral, spiritual braces. We are in one of those times now.

Let me end by reminding us that as our co-moderator, Elandrea Williams reminds us, we need to have care at the center of everything that we do, care for our own bodies, take breaks, stretch, hydrate, eat, and rest as you need to. Care for one another. Be gentle with one another as you would want someone to be gentle with you.

Challenge yourself to hold our collective community accountable and with love. Pay attention to the places where your heart rate increases, and perhaps, take a steady breath in before responding.

Show gratitude for the efforts of others and yourself. Most importantly, engage in the process and experience of GA as you are able.

To help us know how to engage in the process, I now turn things over to Larry and the tech team.

>> Karen McDonald: I'm UUA executive Vice President and thanks for being a part of the business sessions of virtual general assembly, 2020. Let's explain how the process of discussion and voting will work for our virtual business session. While similar in some ways to the big in person plenary sessions so many have come to know at GA, the virtual session will have a little different feel but will allow more people to participate directly with the business of the association.

To participate, you must be registered and logged in to the portal. In the main hall section, participants will see a live feed of the meeting and chat rooms, and delegates will be able to review the polls and voting window and forms to submit statements. If you've been an offsite delegate before, you'll recognize the portal. It's been developed in house since the U, A started to make offsite delegate information available in 2011. The meeting feed in the main hall will be how the meeting is led. It's a live stream Zoom meeting with the moderation team and other multimedia content. Our moderation team includes the co-moderator, other members of the UUA board, our parliamentarian, and legal counsel. All participants can join one of the five chat rooms. They're birch, maple, oak, palm, and spruce. They operate co-equally at the same time.

Chat rooms have chat hosts to help everyone participate. In the meeting, delegates can comment on the business item under consideration by submitting written statements into the pro, con, or procedure amendment queues through the queue submissionle form. Pro and con statements are limited to 200 words. Tellers on the moderation team read your submission to the meeting. You can only have one submission to the queues live at a time and you can see what order you are in the queue. You might get a response from the teller, especially to questions submitted to the the the queue.

You can submit statements up to two minutes, up to two hours before the start of the general session which is being considered. Presubmitted content will be captioned and sequenced by the moderation team at the beginning of the business discussion. Votes will be announced and shared through the main hall video feed, but only delegates will have access to the voting menu and voting button. Be sure to review the GA procedure and the be procedure guide, great places to check if you have questions about the process. You can e-mail the GA tech team at gaonlinesupport@uua.org. Thanks for being a part of the first ever all virtual general assembly.

Is this is report from your secretary about our attendance at our general assembly. We have, I am told, over (two audio sources layered on top of each other) we have—(indiscernible)

(Various audio sources layered—indiscernible)

>> We have 4,800 plus people attending this general assembly.

We have 4,358 confirmed in attendance from Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Representing 614 congregations.

In 49 states, two Canadian provinces, the district of Columbia. We have 2,256 delegates present.

This is one of our largest general assemblies and we have quorums and are ready to do the assembly's business.

>> My fellow Unitarian Universalists, I hold each of you in my heart. This is the time of incalculable loss, over 120,000 of our loved ones have died from COVID-19, nearly half a million world-wide.

The horrific murders of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, of Breona Taylor by Louisville police, and of Tony McDade by Tallahassee police.

The subsequent spilling over of rage and pain and grief and the uprisings moving across our country, the violent militarized response of police against our people and communities. The broken ness and grief is overwhelming. There's also power in this moment born of the courage of black leaders and movements who have been building power to shift what is possible in this country.

The layers of trauma and grief, anger and hope, and power. They are all alive in our bodies. And in our spirits and in our communities.

And I want to begin with a prayer and a moment of silence in this time.

Brutality in our country. To hold all of what is present in this moment. I invite you in to a few moments of silence to just be present for all that we hold, for all that we grieve, for all that is before us.

(Silence) spirit of love and justice, give us courage and strength for the weeks and the months and the work ahead.

Hold us fast to that which we hold most dear, to the values of compassion and justice. Hold us in love and remind us of our fundamental inner connection and our responsibility to each other. Hold us in dignity and in courage and strength and in love. Spirit of life, remind us of our power and of our capacity to hold one another, we are with each other even though we are apart. Give us moments of joy, tenderness, to inspire us, and give us renewal and resilience.

May we move in ways that expand what is possible that expand liberation and imaginations for a future where all are free and all can thrive. Amen, blessed be. Anding Ashe.

Friends, my report will be short this year. I want to focus on one thing, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, two, how our institutional change work has been critical to the effectiveness of our response, and number three, to share a reflection on the challenges and the opportunities for our religious movement ahead. First, the impact of the UUA's response to the Coronavirus pandemic. So many UU leaders and religious profession al wrote to us about how helpful the UUA has been in this time. Thank you to everyone who was willing to share your stories with us. Our outreach and public witness team put together a video led by March and assisted by our videographer to capture some of the stories that were shared with us. I'm grateful to share this short video with you all now.

>> In those first weeks, seeing us all practice Unitarian Universalism as it could be gave me so much hope.

>> Right from the beginning, the UUA staff have been front and center and present on-line in e-mail providing resources to religious professionals to both pastorally, and technically.

>> We are extremely grateful for a wonderful grant that we received from UU, the vote, and the UUA organizing strategy team to help in our efforts this spring and summer and even in to fall to inform and register and support voting and elections here in Ohio.

>> Being a UU young adult in these times is definitely difficult. Luckily there's been support from the UUA, from the regional staff, from the adults in my congregation, and the congregation that I visit when I'm in college.

>> Deciding to go virtual is liked how am I going to connect that way. And then we have virtual finding our way home. And the magic was still there. The connection really is more spiritual than it is physical.

>> We're working with all of our volunteers right now to learn how to coach people on registering to vote using phones—old-fashioned phone trees, and media, like Skype or Google Hangouts.

>> One thing that's been helpful to me has been the emerging adult check-in calls that UUA has been putting on the emerging adult associates at the UUA, and he has put together these spaces for emerging adults all over the country, all over the world, to just drop in and have a chance to check in. Doing the whole worship service on Zoom requires learning how to use more of the bells and whistles. It was really helpful to have these webinars available.

>> I think that these are very challenging times. And that is what Unitarian Universalism is here for to get us through the challenging times. Especially for the inability to be in person, the connections that we make one-on-one in our congregations and in the larger faith are so important.

>> This is Unitarian Universalism in its best form. This is what it's about. This idea that none of us have the answer or the right answer, but all of us have a piece of what it could be. It's held in love and care and it's respected and nourished. I can't wait to see how we can continue to live into that.

>> Thank you to all of you who are willing to share your stories with us. This pandemic has touched every department at the UUA, asking our staff to adapt, skill up, and respond in new and agile ways, and I'm so proud of the UUA staff, all who have gone above and beyond to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of congregations and leaders in this time.

And I know it is the same for our congregation and our UU community ministries. This pandemic touches every aspect of our lives. For religious professionals and leaders, it has been an untold amount of work, much that goes unseen. You all carry so much. Thank you for the sacrifices that you make to care and minister to your people and your communities. What is clear to me in this time is that the UUA's ability to respond to this crisis so effectively was a direct result of the years of work, including most importantly the efforts focused on institutional change and dismantling the culture of white supremacy in our organization. Let me be more specific, first, the UUA's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was deeply rooted in our mission to equip congregations for ministry to train and support leaders both way and professional and to advance UU values in the world. Articulating a clear mission for the UUA already helps us move past personality-driven practices, past individualism, and silos, to see all of the UUA's work, connected to a shared mission. Aswan at an explains in her book, Solstice, soul, and spirit, multicultural leadership is not about individual success or any one individual leader, it's about our responsibility to and investment in the well being and development of the whole community and in our case, that is the Unitarian Universalist community.

This pandemic created a context in which all of our congregations were experiencing urgent, parallel challenges. Our focus on mission allowed the whole UUA to work collaboratively to respond to the many congregational needs that arose nearly overnight with the transition to virtual operations. Looking back, this could not have happened without the incredibly important work of regionalization. There is no way UUA could carry out such an aligned system of messaging, recommendations, or resources, where we still operate as 19 separate districts. Budget challenges and apply for the payroll protection program didn't have to be done by 19 different boards and executives. This freed the regional staff to focus on direct support and ministry to congregations, and this is why we must not re-create silos of our region. Silos diminish capacity, collaboration unlocks it.

Second, in the midst of significant uncertainty and conflicting informing and misinformation, congregations ask the UUA for clarity on how to keep their community safe. I have no doubt that our early and strong is strong recommendation for congregations that stop gathering in person on March 12 saved lives. This guidance was absolutely a result of the work that we've been doing to dismantle a culture of white supremacy at the UUA. The desire to continue with business as usual is such a strong pull in our culture. It's also an aspect of white supremacy culture that puts the status quo above responding to the needs of people at the margins. Our institutional change work allowed us to make hard choices that prioritize the health and well being of the most vulnerable people within and beyond our congregation. And this is what it means to make justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion a core priority in our work.

We are discovering doors we didn't realize were closed. And reaching people we never reached before. I witnessed everywhere that congregations that are leaning deeply into mission and responding to the emergent needs of elders, families, children, youth, and young adults, and their wider community, these ministries are thriving. There are powerful lessons in this pandemic. The virus and science reminds us we're fundamentally interconnected and our actions impact the well being of others.

Models of religious life, steeped in individualism, exceptionalism, scarcity, and competition will not meet this moment. As we contemplate a year of virtual gatherings, we have an opportunity to partner across congregations in ways that we've known we've needed and struggled to embrace. I'm excited about southern Arizona and Alabama doing joint service and able to share the ministry in ways that's creating more capacity for larger ministry. There are new opportunities for inclusion and accessibility like never before, new opportunities to minister to families, neighbors, and communities, new opportunities to organize for justice that were not possible before. And we don't know all of the answers or all of the ways that it will take us, but we are innovating and experimenting, and this is so important for the future of our faith. It's why it's so important on the report of commissions is out now and available to purchase here. Because these are the very ways that the commission is is calling Unitarian Universalists to embrace bold new ways of being, to widen the circle and live in the promise of our faith.

At the UUA, our vision to be the UUA where all identities can thrive can shape every aspect of our response to the pandemic. It shapes the distribution of our COVID-19 relief funds directing funds to congregational staff most impacted. And the congregations partnering in their communities for mutual aid. It shapes the recommendations for congregations to retain staff, to create flexible and humane expectations. And the importance of investing in your religious professional leaders that we are doing amazing essential life saving ministry at this time.

It also led to the recommendation that our congregations plan for gathering virtually through next year, through May of 2021. We all have a moral responsibility to do everything we can to reduce risk to those who are already at such high risk.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most significant and life-altering event of my lifetime, perhaps all of our lives. And there's a seductive urge to wish everything could just return to normal. But what has become abundantly clear in this crisis is that we cannot go back to normal. The impacts of COVID-19 have exposed the deep fissures long present in our country and in our world.

As you have heard me say many times, this is no time for a casual faith no time for your values and principles. It's no time to go it alone. The deadly impacts of what was considered normal, what was business as usual is undeniable. Even right now, the crisis is being used to further enrich the wealthy, to threaten and undermine basic services, to justify the brutality of police and silence protests. And to reinforce a narrative of scarcity that treats human beings as expendable.

We have to be honest how frail and corrupt our democracy already is. Our democracy is under attack. It has been for a long time. What this means is that all of us have to be all in for systemic change that puts people first. And sees the disease of poverty, sexism, home phobia, transphobia, voter suppression and climate destruction as one intertwined issue, a disease we must all organize against together. So much is on the line. Is right now many of us are finding ways to support the uprisings in the streets while also navigating the dangers of the pandemic. It's imperative we all find ways to support the movement, in ways that we can.

There's organizing and support and activism that we can offer from home. There are ways that our buildings can support movement leaders and offer community care. Now is the time to invest more of ourselves, our resources, our prophetic voices and our pastoral spirits where a future where all can thrive, where no one is expendable. This is, after all, the vision of the Unitarian Universalism, it's how our faith calls us forward in this time.

And there is hope in this moment, so many things that previously seemed radical, Universal healthcare, vote by mail for everyone, defunding police, deincarcerating people from jails and detention centers are gaining traction in main stream conversations, movement organizers, Black Lives Matter leaders, Unitarian Universalists in these movements have gotten us here. And we can't let up. We've got to be rooted, inspired, and ready, rooted in our core values. Inspired by movement of peoples across the world to push back against this deadly status quo. And ready to give all we have to the movement for democracy, dignity, liberation, and the need to put people and the planet finally and resolutely above profit. To imagine and breathe life into the communities and the world that we need to survive and thrive.

I'm committed to this life-saving moment. I am committed to the life-saving role Unitarian Universalism can play. I invite you to sign up and be a part of this work. UU the vote is our critical priority right now, to defend democracy, to combat voter suppression, to defeat hate, and vote love. Will you join me and sign up for UU the vote. This is no time to go it alone. Let us expand the power of our collective faithful voices, let us be all-in right now for justice, for liberation, for democracy, and for a future free and thriving. May it be so, my friends, may it be so. And now it's my pleasure to introduce my colleague, the reverend Ashley Horan, the UUA's organizing strategy director and Nicole Presley, the national UU the vote organizer to talk about how you can support and join UU the vote and work for the change we all need.

>> We knew that 2020 everything would be on the line. There are those who pass by unnoticed and there are those that define us.

>> This is a defining time.

>> UU the vote is about mobilizing our communities to vote love and defeat hate in the 2020 elections.

>> But it's also about building safety and freedom for all of our communities, even in the midst of crisis and change.

>> UU the vote is about fighting for the future of democracy, the future of our planet, and the future of our faith.

>> And because of Unitarian Universalists who have given to UU the vote, we've been able to direct grants to our state action networks. In Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona. We're working with front line communities and faith coalitions to talk about our values, fight voter suppression, and make sure voters turn out in November.

>> The Ohio went entirely to vote by mail, we knew it was pivotal to making sure the voters had the information they needed to access their ballots.

>> The next few months are a time to come together and build a world that is more free and more just. And UU the vote is offering concrete and meaningful ways to engage from now to election day. In partnership with reclaim our vote in this general assembly alone, we're challenging you to make at least 100,000 phone calls to connect voters to the information they need to overcome the barriers the state of Texas is placing in their way. We urge you to take your shift making calls and help you to reach that call for showing up for racial justice for search, white Unitarian Universalists will persuade other white voters to prioritize decriminalization and support the movement for black lives. In July, we'll be rolling out a new organizing program to equip you with the skills to build a team to connect with voters and to vote love and defeat hate in November.

Our phone banking software costs 4 cents a call. It doesn't sound like much, but with $120,000, Unitarian Universalists could make 3 million calls to voters before election day. And, you can go lasting organizing infrastructure in our congregation, in our state, and in our association.

>> UU the vote is putting schools and communities first.

>> UU the vote means investing in our people and our communities.

>> UU the vote means working with our partners.

>> UU the vote means fighting white supremacy.

>> It is a way that we can start to dismantle and reshape those systems and structures built to oppress.

>> Electing a new county attorney can mean ending cash bail, deincarcerating up to 50%, and cancelling contracts with private prisons.

>> UU the vote is amazing organizing.

>> It's sending over 10,000 post cards.

>> UU the vote means taking action together to bring UU values to life—UU values to life.

>> UU the vote means a call to prayer.

>> It's doing the work each and every time.

>> I believe—(indiscernible).

>> Here's what I know, in this moment of such brokenness, there's also so much possibility.

>> In this defining time, the world needs our faith to be bold and visible and clear.

>> Help us live into that by donating to UU the vote today. Thank you for your love, your words, and thank you for your generosity. Let's UU the vote.

>> Let's UU the vote.

>> Hello, everyone. I'm Benjie Messer, music coordinator for this general assembly. How are you doing?

I can't hear you. I said, how are y'all doing?

No, I'm just kidding. I still can't hear you. But I am here with you, live, and we can still sing together. I would like to sing what I think of as the theme song of UU the vote, every since all sold DC and jenn hay Monday, their wonderful music director put out a great virtual choral arrangement a song called "we shall be known." By Coretia Longmaker of Longview. Can you put the slides up so you can see the words?

We'll sing it a few times so you can catch on.

(Text on screen)

Back to the top. Here we go.

(Text on screen) thanks, everyone.

>> The commission's charge is to oversee the UUA process of collected social witness. We bare witness to injustice and our hearts today are broken open with the pain and the possibility of this moment. We witnessed the legacy of our nation founded in genocide of indigenous people. We witnessed slavery, violence, lynching, and other oppression of black and brown people. There is much to bear witness too. With this history and with this moment, how do we draw on deeper, truer roots to find new hope to inspire us?

And to become ready is for a transformation leading to love. We on the assembly witness this at GA. We begin by honoring place, present, and time. Place—is we gather virtually across a land with a dense ancestry. I join you for northern Virginia. But for 10,000s of years, this held other names, this is a land now merged with other tribes and nations including the Monocan Indian nation. We witnessed the vast pain of the land we rest upon, we honor the ancestors who passed eons here. We join and promoting a bountiful future for the people who call this land ancestral. You may visit www.native/land.ua to learn about the people whose land you now rest upon. As a commission, we witness the call for justice and right relationship emanating from our leaders and elders of first nation. We invite your attention, your collective witness is needed here. Witness it, presence. The commission acknowledges each of us connects from different experiences within the organization. Some have smooth internet access and others do not. Some have work and care obligations at home, some do not. Some are struggling with injustice, and others are struggling to live their values in this privilege. We invite the association to bear witness to inequality within our communities, even as we seek to resolve inequality and promote our principles out to the wider world. Witness this. Time.

The uprising emerging after the death of George Floyd and others have carried our nation to a powerful moment in history. We witnessed a call to defend black lives and journey the wholeness by dismantling systems of white supremacy and oppression in the organizations and we witness this, this commission is committed to growing and transforming, to become what is needed for a beloved community. Though we named many injustices, we have diverse and unique histories, capabilities, and context of our congregations and communities, we affirm that there are many pressing priorities for social witness, witness this too. The commission envisions faith engaging in multi-generational, multicultural, accessible social witness in relationship with what is emerging in social justice movements within and beyond our faith traditions. Enabling us to live into discomfort and to adapt in to a healing, transformative reality.

As we work towards this vision, we do so in accountable relationships, that stake equitable empowerment with people and groups most impacted by oppression, hate, and violence. Towards our vision, and seeking healing transformation, the commission has been in the process of discernment since 2016. We invite you in to this process with us during this GA. In 2018, our discernment included revisions in a UUA bylaws. In 2019, the commission consulted with the UUA administration, legal counsel, Board of Trustees, and the GA planning committee, and determined not to introduce a new congregational study action issue for the 2020, 2024 period in order to support the current statement of conscience on our democracy uncorrupted and the congregational study action issue on undoing intersectional white supremacy. This decision proved fresh YENT. Rooted—prescient. Rooted in love and seeking to adapt to the congregational needs to the changing world, this commission invites the entire assembly to engage at GA. We have a webinar June 5 to help you prepare. You can e-mail social witness at UUA.org to request a recording. We recently administered a survey on congregation engagement in the UUA process to a small congregation and to many webinar participants. This week, we'll offer a session to share the results and to explore the future work of this commission. At GA, we are also supporting the action of immediate witness process. We invite you to our session tonight to share ideas on actions of immediate witness proposed at this GA.

We invite you to participate in the on-line poll that closes Friday at noon eastern time for the witness for the general session No. 5. We would also love for you to join us in our sessions discussing the intersection of the congregational study action issue and the pandemic. We invite you to join our life session, listed in your GA program book, or e-mail us at social witness at UUA.org for questions on collective social witness. On Sunday afternoon, before GA ends, we invite you to join us in our last session is which will envision the future of the commission on social witness. Let us witness this at GA as we become more rooted, more inspired, and more ready for love. Have a blessed GA.

>> Can you hear me now?

>> I can hear you. All righty. Here we go. Let's—huh?

Let's start again. Hello. My name is—Williams. I am half of the co-moderator team. Sorry for the confusion in not being able to hear me earlier. In accordance with section 4.16B of the UA bylaws, the commission on social witness, the proposed draft actions of immediate witness that meet the public criteria to the agenda of the general assembly for possible admission to general assembly's agenda. The commission on social witness has the ultimate authority around this decisions, it's not debatable, amendable, or changeable. If you have issues, you can connect to the commission on social witness or the members of the UA Board. As the chair permits the draft statements, they'll be published in an on-line poll that will be shared with the delegates via the on-line participation portal and the GA app. The poll is directly available. There's a link that's in the portal, and there's a link that we can put up later to help.

Once the poll goes live, the delegates will have Friday until 1:00 p.m. eastern time to review the full draft of it and vote up to three on the final agenda for consideration during this Saturday's general session. Again, as soon as we place the proposals on the agenda, we'll go right to a vote. Reverend Walker, does the commission have proposals?

>> Yes, co-moderator, the commission on social witness has submitted two drafts of immediate witness that meet the criteria for significance, specificity, and timing as listed in our UUA bylaw s and articulated on the UUA website. The two proposals meeting this criteria are already available now on-line for review and voting by the participation portal and the GA app. Delegates may select one or both to be considered for admission to the general session 5 agenda. The proposals are no in competition and both can be supported. Also, the poll will stay open as you said until 1:00 p.m. Friday because we learned it may not be available until 1:00 p.m. today and we wanted to make sure everyone had 24 hours to review and respond. Let it be noted that minor revisions may be made to allow the proposers language to fully represent their intent and values and such amendments will be summarized on Saturday prior to admitting proposals to the agenda for votes. I will read the two titles now.

The first one is ed address 400 years of white supremacist colonialism. The second, amen to uprising, amendment and call to action. Thank you.

>> Thank you, I apologize, it's Dr. Reverend, Dr. Whitaker. I'm so sorry. I apologize in getting your name wrong. Thank you.

>> Thanks.

>> As we have heard, our theme from today is—(indiscernible) we as a state have been rooted in our values, purposes, and sources. We're excited to continue our work as a general assembly around article II. We had—in the last couple of years that have helped us build the charge to the article II commission and we are going to go to breakout groups later to discuss what we would love to see come out the of the article—process.

I'm going to share some of the charge, introduce the already-appointed article II commissioners, and share the questions we want you all to discuss in the breakout groups.

So, here's the word directly from the charge. Article II of the UUA bylaws, principles and purposes is a foundation for all of the work of our UUA and—(indiscernible) it is the covenant to which all of our the congress relegations and the community themselves and may some members—(indiscernible) our current principles and—last done in 1987. There have been many resolutions and other strategies that have come from the Board, submission on appraisal, and—(indiscernible) which encourages us to take a look at our principles, purposes, bylaws, and rules. It's time for us to do a review and make changes so we're living in the Unitarian Universalism of the future, a Unitarian Universalism that holds up in times of great need of ethical, spiritual, and moral crisis. We're in one of those times now. The charge to the commission. The article II study commission is hereby charged to review article 2 of the UUA bylaw and propose any revisions that will enable the UUA, our congregation, to be a relevant and powerful choice for spiritual and moral growth, healing, and just. The proposed changes that articulate core UUA values. The board released core values shared widely among Unitarian Universalist s is love. The appraisal on this report engaging our theological diversity such as the Robert miller study stating UU ranked loving as an instrumental value and the love as the terminal value more highly than other respondents from other groups religious and nonreligious alike. Dr. West said is justice is what love looks like in public. Our commitment to personal and institutional and cultural changes rooted in anti-racism, multiculturalism, VALS and practices, it's love in action and should be centered in any revision of article II. The new principles and purposes should guide us in the transformation of ourselves, our communities, and our faith. And to—(indiscernible) the terror, and justice. It will be a living document that challenges Unitarian Universalists to place liberation in all of the—(indiscernible) in the center of our lives. It should be honest about our past, name what we are facing, and our aspirations, and where we hope to be, not just for today, but looking out to the horizon. It should ask us to a see love and action as a path forward. Our commitment to anti-racism, anti-fascism, the white supremacy and multiculturalism is love in action and should be the center of any revision of article II. Finally the principles and purposes should lead us to the second quarter of the 21st century while honoring the historic roots of our liberal progressive faith. We therefore charge this commission to root its work in love as a principle guiding its work, attending particularly to the ways that we and our root traditions have understood and articulated love and how we have acted out of love.

The work, the commission should engage in active participation of UU's across all demographics, identities and theological and philosophical beliefs. The commission shall be open and transparent in its work, communicating projects frequently with UUs through as many channels and communication media as possible. Further, the commission shall be center individual practices that reinforce white supremacy culture. The commission is instructed to include all deliberations and—(indiscernible) in 2017 for the inclusion of another principle explicitly calling us to be committed to active anti-racism. We also note that there's a growing urging, even before the—(indiscernible) in Minneapolis in 2010 for us the better our articulation the recognition of rights of being for all—(indiscernible) all living beings. The the commission should consider how—(indiscernible) would specifically direct their attention to the 2010 proposal recognizing how those changes happen, there's good work there that should be salvaged for our time. The commission is charged with reviewing all sections of article II and is free to revise (indiscernible) stated above. There is nothing sacred about the number of principles or sources, nor their specific wording, nor in the way that article II was laid out. We encourage creativity. The Board would like to see article II that's inspirational, memorable, and poetic. The language should be inclusive and welcoming, and explicitly anti-racist. Article II must be remembered are broad visions of principle and purpose, not program attic or implementation plans. We urge the commission to review the sources, revised listing from the 2010 proposal, and the explicit inclusion of Unitarian Universalism and our sources are timely to us. There are other recommended sources in our proposal. In addition, there's a discussion about how other traditions—(indiscernible) in Islam among others might be included are put on footings more equal to those of Christianity and Judaism. Proposed changes must be submitted to the UA Board of Trustees in January of 2022 and they can be considered by the Board and based on the 2022 general assembly agenda for the first vote.

So, next we want to welcome and—article II commissioners, so there's four already appointed article II commissioners and two to three younger commissioners that will be appointed at the general assembly. These four are—and we're so excited, are Betsy Brooks, Paula Cole Jones, Rob—and reverend Sheryl M. Walker. So get ready to be bothered by them, proxied by them, and help guide us in this process. Now, we want to hear from you. Because the concern is really essential in figuring out what's the best process, right?

What are the four things to have?

?

So we're going to treat it like a giant—(indiscernible) so, we're going to finish this session, we're going to gavel close can. And we're going to break in to breakout groups so we can have good conversation. So, we're going to share the instructions on the team around the breakout groups. You go in the breakout rooms, go in, going to show it on the slide. Each of the groups have a note taker and please send your notes to the e-mail addresses on the slide. So that we can actually get to know some article II and really take your notes into account and your ideas into account. So here are the four questions we'd like for you to reflect on. And, of course, they're going to be shown again many different times so you can see them. And we're going to—before we break out, there will be instructions around on what the breakouts will be like.

The first question is what—the first question is what do you think are the most important values and principles for us as a faith?

What is our theological grounding?

The first question is what do you think of the most important values and principles for us as a faith or are our theological groundings. The second question is what principle sources or language most reflect are living our principles out loud are embodying justice. What sources or language most reflect our living out loud or embodying justice. The third question is what should be included in the process for the commission to give the most insight. Again, what should be included in the process for the commission to get the most insight. And then the last question is what are some ways that the article II process and living into the recommendations from the commission on institutional change, or, if you have not—what are some ways that the article II process and fulfilling our commitment means—what does it mean to living to be anti-racist, multicultural, and liberating faith. Again, this is the juggernaut. What are some of the ways that the article II process in our fulfilling our commitment and to living into being an anti-prescient, anti-racism, multicultural, and liberating faith. How does our process help us get there. Thank you so much. We're super excited to have the article II commission process begin in earnest. We look forward to reading and hearing what comes out the of your breakout rooms.

>> Hi, everyone. I'm one of the youth trustees on this year's Board of Trustees. I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite poems called "the thing is" and by Ellen—to love life, even when you had no stomach for it and everything you held dear crumbled like burnt paper in your hands, the throat filled with the silk of it. When grief sits with you, its prop call heat thickening the air, heavy as water, more fit for gills than lungs. Like grief weigh you down with flesh and more of it. An obesity of the grief. You think, how can a body withstand this. A plain face, no charming smile, no violent eyes. And you say, yes, I will take you, I will love you again.

>> So, I'm going to close this out with some announcements. So, before we do that, I ask everybody to please breathe in, and breathe out. Keep your eyes open, ground in your feet, ground in your body. Sort of have a moment of silence and a prayer moment for reverend Susan Smith and her mother, Betty fortier. They were in a really bad car accident a couple days ago. And we are sending a prayer and wishes and all of the good vibes and all of the hope for reverend Susan Smith may they be better, may they be well, may they make it through. May we hold them in love and all things. As they are both trying to get better in mourning the loss of their mother. So, let's please take a moment just in awe, thoughts, prayers, love, hope, their way. So we're now going. Here are some announcements that we have. Both around young adults and the associate of—(indiscernible) the association of Unitarian Universalists music ministry. And this is also in your program book. So, our young adult programming is looking different this year and each part of that is that the youth general assembly and young adult general assembly staff both made a decision to withdraw their participation as a body from general assembly. There were questions raised regarding national and regional programming, governance, and connection places. As so many volunteer commissions with our faith, there was conversation that was unable to be totally provided. There's some youth and young adult programming and you can find out that information on the app and in the program book. The Board and administration will be working with the youth and young adult communities to ensure that people receive what I did when I was a youth and young adult which is really powerful based in really strong leadership opportunities.

Also the association of Unitarian Universalism multicultural ministries have often decided to pull out due to the agreement not being made around how musicians have been respected, compensated, supported, represented, and so much more. And this is not this year, this is a culminate thing. This is going on for a long time. And right now we're at a head, both in the political moment in the world around how we really honor, respect, and care for people. And their labor, their time, their energy, and their talent.

And so, the Board, the administration, the general assembly planning committee are committed to working on the issues and the context of reassessing what we have volunteers and staff working on GA to do and what we ask our volunteers in general. The UA board has invited our own into the project of developing a memorandum of understand uhhing that provides more equitable and inclusive response for the work of music leaders at general assembly. Our own leadership has affirmed their willingness to be in conversation and we're committed to ensuring that the GA planning process is inclusive and equitable and is—as needed and going to address all of these concerns.

The last thing I want to say is some amazing news. So, this morning, 75—made 29,000 calls, y'all. 29,000 calls to Collin County, Texas north of Dallas as part of the UU vote campaign, so we encourage all participants here to sign up for a phone—so we can get to 100,000 calls made by the end of general assembly. So, you can click on the link at the bottom of your portal screen and for some reason, if you can't getting to it, it will be fixed and ready to go. And just to say that—that—so—(indiscernible) grief has been challenging to some, so we'll say one of the things in this lead up to virtual general assembly is there have been a lot of scripts and a lot of things that people have submitted and so we apologize for things that are being said that are hurtful and we will work with people to really shift that. And from years from now and years to come. So, really very sorry. And a bright relationship team will be addressing some of this later. So there being no further business to come before us and in accordance with the schedule set forth in your program book, I declare this general session of the general assembly to stand in recess until 4:00 p.m. eastern, 1:00 p.m. Pacific today. Thank you. Have a good day.