General Session 4, 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.
See 2020 Business Mini-Assembly with Amendments for documents relevant to this agenda: a Proposed Business Resolution (Embodying Human Rights in Our Investment Decisions) and bylaw amendments to sections on Co-Moderator Vacancies and Timelines for Nominating Committee.
- Call to Order
- Opening Words
- GA Theme—Rooted Inspiration
- Chaplains, GA Planning Committee, Right Relationship Team Updates
- Voting Process Review
- Rules Review
- Bylaw Amendments
- Co-Moderator Vacancies—Adopted
- Timelines for Nominating Committee—Adopted
- Business Resolutions
- Closing Words
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.
>> BARB GREVE: I now call to order the 4th General Session of the 59th General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Today's business agenda includes, in the following order
Updates from the Chaplain Team, GA Planning Committee, and Right Relationship Team,
Review of the Rules,
And Closing Words.
>> MANISH MISHRA MARZETTI: Welcome back.
I'm the Reverend Manish Mishra Marzetti, a member of our UUA Board of Trustees.
As we regather this afternoon, I am mindful that we Unitarian Universalists are moving into a national election cycle, holding in our hearts that ambition to UU the vote, to make a difference in the course of our nation and the state of our national politics.
As we hold that shared goal in our hearts, I offer for this time of regathering the words of Sojourner Truth, as she reflected on obstacles to voting that she encountered in the State of New York.
"You know, children, I don't read such small stuff as letters.
I read men and I read nations.
I can see through a millstone, though I can't see my way through a spelling book.
What a narrow idea a reading qualification is for a voter.
I know and do what is right better than many big men who read.
And what's that property qualification that they're talking about?
Just as bad, as if men and women themselves who made up the concept of money were not of more value than the thing that they made.
If I were a delegate to the New York Constitutional Convention, I would make universal voting as clear as daylight."
May we hold in our hearts that call to always strive for greater justice.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Hi, my name's Elandria Williams and I'm here as part of the CoModerator Team, and I'm so excited to talk to you today around what it means for us to be inspired, right? So as you've noticed the theme for General Assembly this year is: Rooted, inspiring and ready so I'm going to give us the frame around inspiration and inspiring for what it means for us to be inspired in this world.
So we're the 50th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It's the anniversary of Stonewall this week. It's the 400 anniversary of the Mayflower landing and colonizing. It's also the 376th anniversary of slavery landing and happening in Rhode Island, and last week was Juneteenth, right?
So we've got 376 years of slavery still, right? And then the anniversary of Juneteenth which allowed all slaves to be, all enslaved people to be free except those incarcerated.
So since we are still having slavery, right, through incarceration, we still have slavery through the ways in which we move in this world, whether it's bound by our chains in our mind or actually bound by the State, we must be excited for what is happening right now in this political movement moment.
People are on the streets, right?
You might be one of those people on the street hopefully in your mask in this COVID pandemic time.
Statues all over this world are coming down, from Selma, Alabama, to New York City, to Belgium, they're taking down the King Leopold, right? Athletes and artists and cultural change makers are moving towards justice and helping us change the narrative and what is happening in this country.
UU congregations from Milwaukee who were sewing, y'all hear me, sewing masks for people that are incarcerated, they're starting bail funds for the first time, the community investment funds, from Minneapolis where we have some of the most amazing organizers from Paige Ingram to Lena Gardner to Meg Riley, right? To Ashley Horan, who are doing beautiful, beautiful work, both in terms of the UUA and in terms of blue and in terms of our larger world, right?
We've got people on the Gulf Coast and congregations on the Gulf Coast coming together to do.
And then we can't leave off my own Tennessee Valley UU Church, in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I live, where thousands have come together in the streets and hundreds have come together online yesterday with me and a friend Dell Taubert to host and hold our first online rally at the same time as they do an onsite in person rally.
Our church was named Church of the Year, and Chris Buice was named Minister of the Year for Knoxville. Go us!
We have incredible UU committees like the Ministry and Fellowship Committee holding it down and Investment Committees like shifting the game on what it means to invest in communities of color and Black peoples.
We have everybody from Joseph St. Charles Lions to Danielle Debana to Kim Harper to Soninseed and other ministers and UU peoples, and UU religious professionals doing incredible work in the streets.
You've got also like Reverend Barb Greve, who's doing work along with Danielle and others as hospice Chaplains. People doing work in the Philippines and all over the world in this fight for justice.
We have people transforming and using online UU technologies, and technologists that are really helping shape the game around how we do radical church online, people who ain't never done Zoom before in their life, or YouTube are taking it together and going how do we build community in whole new ways?
We've got youth and young adults on the move from when I was younger that are no longer youth that are doing incredible work in grounding, including Ali Tharp with UU ministry of the earth. Y'all make her your Executive Director. She deserves it.
We've got people doing disability justice work from Davore to equal access to Susan Fast, me with my pufferfish feet, and other people moving right now around how do we connect disability justice with where we've got to go.
Especially in these times when the number one groups of people that are being destroyed by our pandemics are people that are disabled and chronically ill.
That moves me into going, we must be inspired not just by what has come, but what is moving us forward, and what pushes us past where we think we should be in all of our hangups.
I want to say something I've wanted to say for three years. Some of this is out of my father's dementia, but I want to share what he taught me as a young person, and what my church taught me. This might be a little controversial, but it's going to be okay.
I was taught to appease in or believe in the prison military industrial complex. I was raised to not agree with military might and understand the military as a tool of oppression, domination, capitalism, Colonialization, and the arm of the evil of colonization, racism, patriarchy, cultural hegemony and the right to control and crush.
I was taught by my church to be someone that was a fighter and a transformer for justice, and that meant that I had to work to dismantle the military, and to be a peace guardian, transformer, and person that will be on the line against nuclear warfare, because nuclear warfare is in my back yard.
My theology calls me to craft solutions that completely divest from the military, and invest in libratory waves of reconciliation, restoration, justice, and freedom that root us in love, peace, and collaboration.
So all of this is leading me to say that we must, and I am inspired by our current movement, not just against the police state, but against the prison and military industrial complex as a whole, and what that means culturally and economically.
What that means theologically for me is getting the military out of my General Assembly. It means getting it out of the booths when I walk in the exhibit hall, or this year, Zoom into the exhibit hall.
As a country that spends so much on military that we cannot fund our futures, we can't fund infrastructure, and we don't have no money for medical research, food, health care and alternative energy, so it behooves us to stop spending money on prisons and military and instead to spend money on life giving enterprise.
That is what has inspired me right now. We must be passionate people. This moment is calling us to theologically root in, spiritually gather ourselves with nature and the earth as our guide, to hold in what is always constant and true.
To me what's always constant and true is love, the divine spark of beauty inside each one of us, and the beauty of connections to each other and to the world.
So here we go!
Be inspired by what is possible and what we create and what we can do. And what we are already doing to make ourselves, our families, our communities better than we arrived. Be inspired to learn, transform, be changed, and to be able to say, you know what? I messed up, but I'm still here.
Be inspired to disrupt. You hear me? Be inspired to disrupt! To play the inside game, to be the writer, the facilitator, and know that at all times, you can be all of the above, and that it is always necessary to play the inside and outside game, and at the same time, you can be the disrupter one place, and be the insider another place, and train yourselves to do both.
Be inspired to use technology in all forms, in all ways, to live into the realities that we never dreamed possible. Be inspired to change our faith for the better, to be active participants in the radical realignment necessary, and to stay faithful even when it feels like there's no way forward and no hope.
Be inspired to even more so be the inspiration, not just for the people in your immediate circle, but to be the embodiment of what it means to live true UU values out loud for all to see. That's what it means to be a true evangelist for our faith and to be an inspiration for what is possible and we need that more than ever.
We need to be the embodiment of what is possible, the embodiment of happiness, the embodiment of liberation, the embodiment of justice, the embodiment of radical wellness, the embodiment of cultural shifts, the embodiment of what it means to live a grounded, theological, rooted, happy, loving life!
What we need right now is people that are ready to embody what radical change looks like, not just say the words, but to literally live them out loud.
Not just for your friend, not just for your family, but for everybody.
Everybody you come in contact with, because what we got to do right now is have a massive cultural shift on a level that is unbelievable to see what is possible, because for true liberation and justice, it means everybody in their souls must be free. It means indigenous and Black peoples must be free, and not stepped on, sold, seen as money, seen as means of way forward.
So that means we got to root totally differently. We got to be inspired by something different than just what we like. We got to be inspired to move.
I am so excited to see all the ways that we are embodying radical love, transformation, imagination, and a way forward that is rooted in reparations, democratic justice, democratic governance, and wellness, so as we close out and get ready to talk about the UUs, we are going to ground in your feet, ground in your chair, ground in your heart, ground in your soul, and really envision what inspires me.
Is it my family? Is it my community? Is it statues coming down? Is it Black Lives Matter on the ground? Is it watching true change happen? Is it watching a baby rabbit? What inspires you?
Feel that in your soul and in your very being, as we get ready to do Bylaws and Responsive Resolutions and business agenda items, because governance is also how we live our values out loud.
>> A.J. VAN TINE: Hello. My name is A.J. van Tine. I'm one of the co chairs of your Right Relationship Team. This virtual General Assembly, as you've noticed, is very different from those you may have attended in the past. It presents its own unique challenges. And it is still GA, and some of those issues that we run into right relationship have been all too familiar. Aye in opening worship many of you raised concerns about captions.
Indigenous languages were described in captions as indiscernible or foreign languages and they're not foreign to this Continent. This will be reflected in the captions moving forward. Furthermore caption formatting has been improved for greater accessibility.
Also, we are working together on expanding our imagination around metaphorical language, and one version of this is that we should check ourselves when fatness is used to describe something that is bad, difficult, or burdensome. In the chat rooms in the chat roles we've seen folks who are genuinely trying to engage in conversation. They have sometimes said something that has an unintended impact of harm, and when called in by others in the chat or in conversation, they have apologized for that impact, committed to learning more, and moved on. Thank you to everyone for learning together.
We're also hearing of experiences in chats and workshops where White voices ended up centered and dominating and there isn't adequate space for Black, indigenous, people of color, and their questions. Most of this is the result of good faith mistakes, and so those of us who are White should consider slowing down, paying attention to what other voices are in the room and what is going on at the time, seeing what other voices may be trying to be heard.
An example of this, if you have a question about antiracist work, consider whether that is actually on topic for the workshop that you are in. In closing, it is never a bad idea to review the practices for fostering multicultural community and dialogue in your program book. And as always, remember to practice self care. Our team is here for you.
>> KATIE ROMANO GRIFFIN: I am the Reverend Katie Romano Griffin. My pronouns are she, her. I am this year's lead GA chaplain and I wonder if you would breathe with me. Breathing in, maybe even holding your breath for a moment and breathing out. And with each breath, maybe even allowing your heart to go to a deeper love that can flow when we turn our attention to our breath.
And maybe these shared breaths that we are taking in our separate locations can connect us across the internet, connect us across our screens, and maybe draw our awareness more keenly to our inner connectedness.
Thank you for breathing with me.
I want to thank the Moderators, the Board, the GA staff, and the many GA volunteers who are making General Assembly and all of its programming happening. Folks are working so hard, traversing incredible obstacles, and I ask all attendees to please be kind to them.
The GA Chaplain team is here to support all of the GA attendees throughout our time together, and we can be reached at GA Chaplains [at] UUA [dot] org or at 617 9484244. Please only call the Chaplain line for issues that require a Chaplain. We cannot help with technical access.
We will also have Chaplains floating in between the chats throughout General Assembly, and they'll be sharing updates on additional resources that we plan to offer, like Zoom support spaces for people who are Black, indigenous, and people of color.
Also if you are Black, and it would provide value to you, if you were to speak with one of the Black Lives of UU Chaplains please call or text 984 219 8711.
Drum Chaplains are on standby so please do keep your eyes out on the drum community, if you would require if it would be of value to you to speak with a drum Chaplain. Allies for racial equity is having a meeting at 7:30 p.m. tonight and there will be caucus space available tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. Please visit UUARE.org. You must register to get the Zoom link, and know that I'm also going to include this information in the main chat when I sign off from this piece. GA staff Chaplains are also available and supporting GA staff and the GA Board of Trustees Chaplains remain active, as well.
If you're hurting, there are resources for you. Please reach out. If you need immediate crisis support, please do connect with your local resources, and then if we can provide additional support, do check in with us.
Some basic wellness tips: Attend worship, take breaks, eat regularly, don't try to do all of the things the General Assembly, get some fresh air if you can, and try to keep your heart centered on our shared values.
Remember that there is another person or many people on the other side of your computer screen, and your words have impact. Thank you.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: So we have moved from inspiration to rules. Isn't that wonderful? So we're going to do a rules review. I'm inspired by the rules. I'm inspired by us knowing exactly what we're supposed to do. That to me is also inspirational as we lead into this process. There's no reason for us to be lost and confused, right? So we're going to do the rules review, including the voting process. So just to know before we do any vote, the rules and the procedures and the percentages and everything will be put on a slide for you to see so that there's not much confusion. If you're still confused you can always ask a question and we are happy to answer the question.
So a few quick reminders before we discuss and vote on Bylaw changes and Business Resolutions. The proposed rules of procedure can be found on page 66 of your program book. Again, the full rules of procedure can be found on page 66 of your program book. You must be a delegate to submit a statement at any of the pro, concern, or procedural queues. Again, the full Rules of Procedure can be found on Page 66, and you must be a delegate to submit a statement at any of the queues.
Statements submitted through either the pro or concern queues they're limited to 200 words. It's submitted as a text. Our two minutes is submitted as a recorded video or audio. Submitted statements will be read by our volunteer teller team which is the co mod squad and they do not necessarily reflect their own personal views. Again, members of the Board are the Tellers in the co mod squad and what they are saying does not necessarily reflect their own personal views. They're reading from delegates. You may only line up one queue at a time, which includes at the amendment and procedural mics. See? Mm hmm.
Queues, to include the amendment and procedural queues. Before discussion of a Bylaw amendment or a business resolution begins a few minutes will be provided for you to inform the agenda item in the participation portal chat room as well as those near you where you are. This informal time will not count toward the 15 minute limit. The 15 minutes of discussion time does include time to voting to any Amendments, to the proposed amendment. So let me say it again.
The 15 minutes of discussion time does include time devoted to discussing any Amendments to the proposed Amendment. On Amendments, Amendments must have been submitted for consideration at the meeting Assembly. There has to be 8 minutes of discussion on the main motion before Amendments can be considered. Now, for time limits. From are 15 minutes allowed total.
Here we go. There are 15 minutes total allowed for Bylaw or rule Amendments, Resolutions or actions. After 10 minutes of discussion, motions to table or refer are in order, review. After 10 minutes of discussion, motions to table or refer are in order.
Motions must come from the procedural mic.
Number 2, a motion to call the previous question is in order if there has been at least 5 minutes of pro and con discussion concerning the main motion, and no one is waiting in the pro and concern mics. Again, a motion to call the previous question is in order if there has been at least 5 minutes of pro and concern discussion concerning the main motion, and no one is waiting at either the pro and concern queues.
Time taken at the procedural mic will not count against discussion time, and we all like to eat. We all like to go to the bathroom. We all want to go to our workshops. We all want to hear the featured speakers. We all want to see the wear, the living tradition and all the other things that are on the agenda, so although time taken at the procedural mic will not count against discussion time, it is all on each of us to ensure that we're able to enjoy the other programming of General Assembly.
Now let's take a moment to watch a video on how the voting process will work.
>> CAREY McDONALD: Hi, I'm Carey McDonald, UU Executive Vice President, and thanks for being part of the business sessions of Virtual Assembly 2020. Let's explain how the process of discussion and voting will work for our virtual business sessions. While it's 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 that will hopefully allow more people to participate directly with the business of the Association.
To participate in GA business sessions, you must be registered and logged into the GA participant portal.
In the main hall section, participants will be able to see a live feed of the meeting and chat rooms, and delegates will also be able to view the polls and voting window and the queue submission form to submit statements on business items. If you've ever been an offsite delegate before you'll recognize this portal. It's been developed in house over the last 9 years since the UUA started making offsite delegate participation 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 CoModerators, other members of the UUA Board, our parliamentarian and our legal counsel.
All participants can join one of the five chat rooms displayed beneath the main hall feed. The chat rooms are Birch, Maple, Oak, Palm, and Spruce, and they operate co equally at the same time. Participants can join any chat room they want, or switch to another one, but can only be in a single chat room at a time.
Chat rooms all have chat hosts to help everyone participate.
During 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 submission form. Pro and con statements are limited to 200 words. Tellers on the moderation team read your submission into the meeting. You can only have one submission to the queues live at a time and you'll be able to see what order you are in the queue. You might also get a response from the teller especially to questions submitted through the procedure amendment queue.
You can also submit advance audio or video statements up to 2 minutes about any item on the business agenda, up to two hours before the start of the general session, in which it's being considered.
Pre submitted 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 vote window and the voting button.
Be sure to review the rules of procedure and the GA participation guide, great places to check if you have questions about the process.
You can also always email the GA tech team at GA online support [at] UUA [dot] org. Thanks for being a part of the first ever all virtual General Assembly.
>> BARB GREVE: It's good to be together again. Before we go into the business of the Association, I want us to take a moment to introduce the fantastic team we affectionately call them the mod squad or moderation squad who are helping to run the business. All of the members of the team are members of your UUA Board of Trustees, I'm CoModerator Barb Greve and I'll be serving as the discussion facilitator for this piece of our business.
>> GREG BOYD: Hi. I'm Greg Boyd. I'll be serving as the pro Amendment Teller 1.
[ No audio ]
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Would you like to introduce yourself?
>> I'm Suzanne Fast. I'm pro Teller 2.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: My name is Elandria Williams, I'm pro Teller 1.
>> BARB GREVE: Thank you, mod squad for introducing yourselves. I want to take a moment before we still take another moment before we get into the business and just frame for all of us the Teller the queues. Where many of us are used to microphones, I'm getting used to the language of queue but I want to frame that the con queue really is designed for you to raise concerns that you have that are substantial enough that you are not ready to support a motion on the table.
The pro queue is to advocate in favor of the motion on the table. Procedural queue is for making a motion, or asking questions or clarifications about the process of the debate, and that those questions may be answered directly by the Teller.
And the Amendment queue is where only Amendments made in the mini Assembly are in order for the business Resolution and Bylaw Amendments.
In is a new frame for us doing work, to move from the combative methodology of debate and into a methodology of discussion with the hopes towards all of us feeling good about the decisions we make. We can do this.
And with that, I call on our secretary, Patrick McLaughlin. While we're waiting for Patrick, I invite you to just take a moment and consider how this shift in the way we do our discussion and decision making feels. What are the privileges that you're willing to give up for this to work? And in what new ways might you engage in the work of our business?
>> That the proposed Bylaw Amendment to article 8, sections 8.8 and article 8, section 8.7 to address CoModerator vacancies as detailed on pages 72 of the final agenda be adopted.
>> BARB GREVE: Is there a second? This has been seconded. The motion to adopt the proposed Bylaw Amendment to Article 8, section 8.8, and Article 8, section 8.7, to address co mod vacancies has been made and seconded. I call on trustee Leslie MacFadyen to make a Board statement of support for the Bylaw Amendment.
>> LESLIE MacFADYEN: Hello, 2020 UUA General Assembly attendees. My name is Leslie MacFadyen. I'm the Vice Moderator of the UUA Board of Trustees. I wanted to share the proposed thoughts around the proposed Bylaw changes with regard to CoModerator vacancies. Over the last few years, the UUA Board has experienced unexpected vacancies in the Moderator position and knows too well the extra strain of scrambling to fill the position, as well as the joy of creativity such moments can provide. Borrowing from good practices in co ministry, this change provides the Board with an opportunity to appoint any remaining members of a CoModerator team, but does not require nor expect that to be the case. Thus leaving both clear direction and flexibility in the event that a CoModerator position is vacated.
The UUA Board wholeheartedly supports this proposed Bylaw Amendment.
>> BARB GREVE: As we had described in the rules, we want to take a moment before we dive into discussion and voting to just pause and reflect. So I invite you to take this minute to reflect on where you appreciate this change, and to name for yourself any concerns you might have. As you feel moved, you can share it in your GA chat room, though we ask that you stay in one chat room for the duration so that we can build community, and not overload our servers.
All right, I hope you had delightful and meaningful conversations and thinking. And we're now going to move into our discussion. I first recognize the delegate at the procedural mic.
>> Thank you, co mod Barb. There's a question from Mikayla Wormley in Norman, Oklahoma, who asks shouldn't we discuss and incorporate the unincorporated Amendments before discussion? There are no unincorporated Amendments on this Bylaw proposed Amendment.
>> BARB GREVE: Thank you for that clarification, Greg, and what a wonderful question. I'm going to take a moment to remind us of all the rules we've decided upon. Before any Amendments can be introduced incorporated or unincorporated we have to be 8 minutes into the discussion of any given business item on the agenda or a delegate needs to suspend the rules to change that time line. I'm going to check in with my Tellers, do we have anybody at any of our queues? And tech team, could we get the clock running, please?
Aren't the tech guys great? I recognize the delegate at the procedural queue.
Could we get Greg at the procedural queue? Please.
>> GREG BOYD: Again co mod Barb, there was someone in the procedural queue. I think that you offered clarification of the rules, and that has now been removed. We do have pro and con statements.
>> BARB GREVE: Thank you, Greg.
Do we have anybody else at any of our queues?
Okay, we have nobody at any of the queues at this time. It would be in order if a delegate went to the procedural queue to suspend the rules in order to take this vote.
Or we can enjoy one another's company for 13 minus 15 minutes 8 minutes.
I recognize our Teller at the procedural queue.
>> GREG BOYD: There are many people moving to suspend the rules. This is in order at this time.
>> BARB GREVE: So we will take an immediate vote on suspending the rules to take the vote. So you are voting to be able to vote immediately on this Amendment change. Tech team, could we get that poll up and running, please?
While they're getting that up and running, I'm just going to take this moment to share with you a little bit of what it's like to be in this place. In one of my ears I have the feed to you and the Tellers and all of that good stuff. In my other ear, I have a phone call to one of our wonderful Board members, Kathy, who's my team coordinator feeding me who's at which telling spot, in terms of procedural queue, con, or pro queue. And I'm just going to give you a moment more to take your votes.
We're just waiting for the results.
All right, folks, so this passed 97% in favor, 1% opposed.
And 2% abstained.
So this means, folks, that we are going to go directly to voting on the Amendment to Section Article 8, Sections 8.8, and Article 8, Section 8.7 that addresses the CoModerator vacancies as detailed on page 72 of your final agenda.
To vote in favor or to oppose or to abstain, we'll get a new poll going in just one moment.
I've just been informed by my tech team that for some of you who are running multiple devices in the same home, there is a time delay between those devices, and so I'm going to slow myself down a little bit so that we can make sure you can both participate in the queues if you'd like to, and also to participate in the poll.
So the poll is up. Please take a moment to put your vote in, delegates. And we will give it a full 2 minutes to make sure you've got your vote in.
[ No audio ]
Okay, sorry about that. I had a slight technological issue on my own, I closed all the windows, but we're now back and I'm going to ask our tech team to close the polls.
And we're experiencing the challenge of not being able to post the polls up for you, the results of the polls up for you, on the screen. So I will read them off to you once I've been given them.
This Bylaw Amendment has passed with a 98% in favor rate. 0 opposed. And 2% abstained.
Well done, my friends. We have made a change to the UUA Bylaws in under the time we anticipated it taking. And with only a few glitches. Proud of you, proud of our team. We are now going to have a short technological break. I believe you'll get some music while we shift up our Moderator Team.
>> BARB GREVE: And we're back. I really appreciate your grace and support to myself and our whole team as we all move into this new way of doing things. We're going to move to our next item of business which addresses the time lines around the Nominating Committee. I'm going to call on UUA Board of Trustees Secretary Patrick McLaughlin.
>> Bylaw Amendment Article 9, Section 9.4, and Article 9, Section 9.6, to extend the deadline by which nominations must be made by the Nominating Committee, as detailed on Page 73 of the Final Agenda be adopted.
>> BARB GREVE: Is there a second? I've been told that there is a second. So the motion to adopt the proposed Bylaw Amendment to Article 9, Section 9.4, and Article 9, Section 9.6, to extend the deadline by which nominations must be made by the Nominating Committee, has been made and seconded.
I call on trustee Leslie MacFadyen to make the UUA Board statement of support for the Bylaw Amendment.
>> LESLIE MacFADYEN: Hello, General Assembly 2020 attendees. This is Leslie MacFadyen, Vice Moderator of the UUA Board of Trustees. I'm here to share thoughts from the Board around the proposed Bylaw changes for time lines around the Nominating Committee.
The Board recognizes that the speed of communication and life has increased. One benefit to this change is that our modes of communication are no longer solely dependent on paper traveling across land to get to you. By moving the deadlines further into the church year, we believe that our outreach and deliberation can happen, with the hopes that more UUs volunteering at the Association level are possible. The Board fully supports this proposed Bylaw change.
>> BARB GREVE: I want you to take a moment, I invite you to take a moment to reflect on where you appreciate this change, and to name for yourself any concerns you might have, and as you feel moved, share in your GA chat room, and we'll take one minute to just pause and reflect.
Anything Leslie MacFadyen and anything else.
[ No audio ]
All right, welcome back.
For those of you who were at the mini Assembly and may remember that an Amendment had been brought forward, Cynthia Landrum who brought the Amendment forward in the mini Assembly has withdrawn that, so just wanted to name that in case you were thinking that there should have been incorporated or brought up an Amendment. Also while we're just getting a little on the back end organized want to name that some of you may have seen in the queue that there has been a user, if you will, that has a test in their name, and that is on our tech side, to just make sure that the queue is up and active each time, so that we don't miss any of the submissions that you bring forward.
And with that, I recognize the Teller at the procedural queue.
>> GREG BOYD: Thank you, co mod Barb. Rodney Lowe of First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington Vermont incorporated, ask can our room be set aside for youth and young adults? If all the adults leave maple as requested won't that cause problems with the numbers in the other rooms?
>> BARB GREVE: I'm not sure that I have an answer for you, Rodney. I do know that there are Slack channels happening for both youth and young adults so conversations can happen similarly to the way they're happening in the rooms. I'm happy to discuss this on the back end with our tech team and we'll get back to you when we have an answer. Thank you for lifting this up.
I recognize the delegate at the procedural queue.
>> GREG BOYD: CoMod Barb, Michelle Wilson First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, Ohio, requests to suspend the rules.
>> BARB GREVE: Noted, thank you. Tech team, can we get a poll up and a reminder to the delegates that you are voting to suspend the rules so that we can then vote on this Bylaw Amendment. So if you vote in favor, you are voting to vote again immediately. If you vote opposed, you are indicating that you want further discussion on this Amendment, and to abstain is to not take either of those positions. So we get the poll going live, please?
[ No audio ]
Okay, I've just received the results from the poll. 91% in favor, 5% opposed, and 4 abstained.
This means that we are going directly to a vote of this Bylaw change.
So we'll get that poll up and running again.
And help frame it, to vote in favor, you are voting in favor of the Bylaw Amendment as proposed on Page 73 of the Final Agenda, or you're voting to oppose that change, or you're abstaining and not taking a position. And I've just been corrected by something that I said earlier. I'd just note that adults have not been asked to leave the Maple Room. My apologies for any misconception that I led you to.
So I want to just educate all of us on how the business is working. As a reminder that when somebody calls the question or moves the vote, that immediately triggers a couple of things.
One, we must immediately decide yes or no on taking the vote, and if that is affirm I've, we then must take a vote on the main motion on the floor. So once we are addressing and voting to take whether or not to take the vote, we no longer can address the questions or comments in the pro and con queues.
I want to let you know that the results of this queue is 98% in favor, 0 opposed, and 2% abstained.
With that, my friends, this Bylaw change also passes, which may be even speedier than our last one.
We're going to pause to do another tech switch around, and our fantastic, or my fantastic partner in crime, Elandria, is going to be our CoModerator and discussion facilitator for our next business Resolution.
>> BENJIE MESSER: Hello, to make decisions together in this big a group we need procedure but we all have feelings about rules, about following them, about making them, so making rules about rules, well, I thought it might bring up some worry so here's a song that reminds us we don't need to worry. We can do anything with our attention. It's an anonymous song called: Why, why worry. It refers to those who watch over us. It refers to them as the mothers and the fathers which are gender binary terms, but also as the most high which is a gender neutral term so I hope it provides a God or God substitute for everyone here, and it goes like this
¶ Why, why worry when you can pray ¶
¶ Why, why worry when you can pray ¶
Oh, do we have slides of the lyrics? I just realized we normally have slides of the lyrics on these. There we go, sweet. Let's do this verse from the top.
>> BENJIE MESSER: Thanks, all, for singing with me. Let's see if our Moderators are ready to come back.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Hello, everybody, so excited. We are now about to vote we're about to discuss Business Resolution, the proposed Business Resolution embodying Human Rights in our investment decisions. So this Resolution was submitted by petition, signed by not fewer than 250 members of UUA certified congregations, with no more than 10 members from one congregation, so this Business Resolution is in your program books from pages 67 to 69. Again it's in your program books from pages 67 to 69.
So we are going to take so first, please read, we're going to take a second to read the proposed Business Resolution.
Okay. So as we are reading, we are first going to hear from Kathy Mulvey who is the proposer for this Resolution.
>> Good afternoon. I'm Kathy Mulvey from all souls Unitarian in Washington D.C. I'm also the chair of the UUA's socially responsible investing Committee. Our Committee together with the UUA Investment Committee collaborated closely with the sponsors in developing this Resolution, and we fully support its adoption. Adoption of this Resolution would help us to fill any gaps in our screening criteria in order to avoid direct investment in corporations that are consistently, knowingly and directly complicit in egregious Human Rights violations and violations of international law. It would also bolster our work on Human Rights due diligence with our investment managers and companies across our portfolio. Our denomination has a 50 year history of using our investments to advance UU values in the areas of Human Rights, worker rights, and the rights of indigenous people.
Decisions of the General Assembly and the UUA Board of Trustees such as the 2014 Business Resolution on fossil fuel divestment and the 2017 Statement of Conscience provide the basis for integrating UU values into our investment policies and actions.
Our recently updated socially responsible investing guidelines make explicit the role of the UU common endowment fund in our denominational commitment to advancing racial justice, supporting multiculturalism, and dismantling White supremacy culture. We are grateful for the collaborative constructive commitment that resulted in this Resolution, and we look forward to broadening our work with UU social justice groups, congregations, individual UUs, and other faith and values based investors at the forefront of Human Rights advocacy. Thank you.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Thank you. Is there anybody at the procedural mic?
>> GREG BOYD: Hi CoMod Elandria. I believe we need Secretary of the Association Pat McLaughlin to make the appropriate motion.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: I apologize, everybody. Patrick, can you please vote? Patrick, can you please make the motion?
>> GREG BOYD: I think we should address the first question around clarifying the pro and con statements that they see in the queue.
>> PATRICK McLAUGHLIN: Moved that the proposed Business Resolution embodying Human Rights in our investment decisions on Page 67 of the final agenda be adopted.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Thank you, Patrick. And we have a second so now we're going to go backwards so, Greg, can you please address the questions in the procedural queue?
>> GREG BOYD: Absolutely, CoMod Elandria. We have several statements about the pro and con queues and several times we have been told that there were not people in the pro and con queue when folks can already see that there are, in fact, and that is a factor of the motion that is brought before us. When there is a motion to suspend the rules, it is not debatable, and moves to an immediate vote. When moving to an immediate move to suspend the rules in details means we're not longer following the rules. When we're no longer following the rules, we don't need to follow the rules and that's why we've moved on to an immediate vote several times.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: So, Greg, are there other things that are in the procedural queue?
>> GREG BOYD: The procedural queue, there is a concern about Amendments to Lines 12 through 14, the Amendments that were proposed for Lines 12 through 14 have already been incorporated.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Thank you. Is there anything else in the procedural queue before we go to any concerns or pros? Okay, if not, we will take our first delegate from the procedural queue, from the pro queue, which is Rob Spirko, and Rob says can the pro Teller please read? From Rob Spirko?
>> TOM SCHADE: Rob Spirko from Foothills UU Fellowship in Maryville Tennessee. I'm speaking from the newly founded disability caucus. In the mini Assembly we offered an Amendment to include disability in this proposal. The quote disability community close quote is really many communities. We are fine with the compromise language of people with disabilities/disabled people, because many terms are used in our communities, and the perfect agreement is not our aim. Our aim is being recognized. We want to note that in the context of Human Rights, it is important to name people with disabilities, while some might argue for a more general understanding of, quote, human, close quote, the benefit of listening groups is that it reminds the readers of the document to look for those groups in their decision making. If someone has been left out, it can lead us to ask why.
As we ask about the original version of the proposal, in a time when disabled people have been told we're expendable in this pandemic, when COVID infection rates in nursing homes and congregate care settings are unconscionably high and when a third to a half of those killed by the police are disabled, so think of the risk to a Black disabled person. We feel that naming us is important. We support this Resolution. Rob Spirko for Foothills Fellowship, Maryville, Tennessee.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: I recognize the person at the procedural mic.
>> GREG BOYD: CoMod Elandria, I'm sorry I'm looking at Barb in my own room. So love you both, love you both. There are some questions about where to find the information for the Business Resolution as amended.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Would you like to answer?
>> GREG BOYD: I believe we are looking for that. I do not know myself, so if we can hold on that, we definitely don't want you to vote on something that you have not been able to read in its final form.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: So I will just also read out loud to you the change.
So the changes in lines 12 through 14 is [ Inaudible ] change text on the screen so people can see it?
[ Unstable audio ]
So the change text, so we changed some of the order, and maybe in the people in order more clear, and so what it says originally is, whereas the Human Rights of immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ people, workers, religious minorities, homeless youth, mass incarceration and indigenous people living in the United States continuing to be violated and so we're getting this on the side. So now it says, whereas, the Human Rights of Black stop, stop, go down. Stop.
Okay, whereas the Human Rights of Black, indigenous and other people of color, there we go, women, LGBTQI I can't read that 2 S, lesbian gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersection, two spirit people, immigrants, workers, religious minorities, youth and other individuals experiencing homelessness, disabled people/people with disabilities and people affected by mass incarceration and living in the United States continue to be egregiously violated. So the order got changed and we made sure to add in disabled people and people with disabilities and other folks, and we added to make sure that we involved and put in language for all the ways that many of the ways that queer folks identify and not just some or the other. Did that answer I hope that answered your question. Is there anybody else at the procedural or Amendment, anybody else at the procedural mic? Not the Amendment yet, the procedural.
>> GREG BOYD: CoMod Elandria, yes there are congregation of the Quad Cities in Davenport Iowa asks, what is the purpose of this Resolution? Doesn't the UU common endowment fund also use a socially responsible investing filter?
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: So can we please oh goodness gracious, so here's what Kathy said yesterday. What Kathy said yesterday is that we do have a filter. However, what is needed is, there's been a request around a Human Rights filter that institutionalizes it, so there's one thing around our practices. It's another thing for our General Assembly to say this is actually what we want to do so it institutionalizes it in a different way than just us doing it because just us doing it people could change based on their practices and this would be one of the ways to really also lift up what people that are working on Human Rights have want from us, right? So we've got quite a few about climate change, we have quite a few about other things but this would be one that really epitomized what it means for us to be Human Rights defenders and how that ties to our investments. I think we also have some other statements that might answer other people's questions that can be read, that can be shared. Are there any other procedural questions before we get into the other statements?
There's a motion to suspend the rules.
All right, so there's a motion on the floor to suspend the rules. Is there a second? There is a second, all righty. So we are going to take a vote on the motion to suspend the rules.
Thank you, everybody.
So we're doing great work today. This is really beautiful. There's a lot going on in the world, and it's a blessing to be here with all of you. Y'all, do you know we're almost 5,000 strong? We may be 5,000 strong. We were 4900 yesterday. It's kind of amazing. I think this is the second most attended General Assembly of all time. It's kind of cool. So, Benjie, you have a really short song for us? Like, one minute?
If not, we'll do Sarah Dan's. We'll do one wave of it.
>> BENJIE MESSER:
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: All right, Benjie, whenever you slow down, we're ready to share.
>> BENJIE MESSER: All right.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: All righty, everybody. So in favor, 74%. Opposed, 21%. Abstained okay, can I go now?
All right. So here we go.
In favor, 74%. Opposed, 21%. Abstained...
All right. So we have in favor, 74%. Opposed, 21%. And abstained, 5%.
Now it is 75%, 21% opposed, 4%.
Give me one second.
So we're closing the poll.
Okay, so I've heard from the parliamentarian and our legal counsel, so this has been this passes. We have the correct number for it to pass.
So now we are going to now we've got a motion to suspend the rules to vote on the proposed Business Resolution. Again, you're voting on proposed Business Resolution embody Human Rights in our investment decisions so please, we're going to vote yes or no, or abstain.
So we're going to do the vote again, we're going to vote again. And this time you're voting on the entire Resolution. So Benjie, while we're voting, can we have a little bit of a longer song? Thank you. So we hear people are having trouble getting into the voting tool so we're going to put a little bit more can we restart the clock? I'm sorry. People are having a hard time getting into the voting queue. So people are having a hard time getting into the voting queue, so can we just have a little bit more time on the clock, please?
And so we're going to be looking to pay attention to make sure people can vote.
So go ahead and start voting, please.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Benjie, can we have.
>> BENJIE MESSER: Do y'all want to sing? Or shall I just play some background music?
Oh, I see some folks in my chat saying sing. Okay.
So this tune is People Get Ready, by Curtis Mayfield. Some of you may know it. It was by request for this Assembly.
It's a little you know, we don't always go quite this it's got a line about sin that may freak you out, but it's a beautiful song. Here we go. And there are slides, so, Gina, if you want to pull up people get ready. If not, no worries, just follow along. No slides, okay, that's fine. Here we go.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: Benjie?
>> BENJIE MESSER: Say again? Yeah? I hear a voice in my ear.
What can I do for you?
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: So, Benjie, I need to address everyone for one second.
>> BENJIE MESSER: You got it.
>> ELANDRIA WILLIAMS: All right, so here we go. There's a lot of people in the procedural. Thank you, Benjie. So we're in the procedural, and so here's what happens. So someone asked to call the question, someone asked to suspend the rules so that we could vote, right? So that's what happened.
Yes, you're correct, it does stop the conversation, that is true. We cannot go back, right? So we voted already. So suspension of the rules takes precedence over the pro and con, and requires a 2/3 vote, which we had, so here's what I will say: So the last stage of democracy is voting so let's have a governance moment. Having more time to talk about a thing, if you actually agree with the thing, does not actually change anything.
It means you have more time to take action on the thing you passed on the piece of paper so I just want to state that we're in a moment, right? We're trying to act out the things on the papers. And so just want to make sure we don't believe that the only way to have conversation is in debate hall.
Most ways we have conversation is in the world, right? And so I just want to say that out loud, so there was a vote. It passed. That's why we moved on. You have ample place to put in the chat rooms, in discussion, talking to the people around you, around what you agree with and don't agree with, and you can always share, right?
And so we'll say that for next year, if you want it differently, but just to say, like, the vote to do the thing will always take precedence over the pro and con mics, right? As you've noticed procedures always takes precedence. That's just the way it works by the rules that we have agreed to, so here we go.
In terms of the vote, in favor is 95%. Opposed is 3%. Abstained is 2%. So this passes. We now have a Human Rights in our investment decisions Resolution that will strengthen our work around our investments. Thank you all so much. And now we're going to take a short break to redo. Thank you. It's been a blessing doing this with you today.