CSW Alert: Daily Guide to Social Witness Work at GA
CSW Alert: Daily Guide to Social Witness Work at GA
General Assembly, Past General Assemblies

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sunday CSW Alert (PDF) includes the text of the draft Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) (revised with the amendments proposed during Saturday’s mini-assemblies), with the unincorporated amendments listed and lettered in order of priority.

Actions of Immediate Witness

  • Debate and Vote on Four Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs)
    In the Sunday GA plenaries, you’ll have the opportunity to debate and vote on each of the four remaining proposed AIWs. All four can be adopted if each receives the required two-thirds vote. Our Rules of Procedure permit up to 20 minutes of debate for each proposed AIW.  No amendment may be offered until 12 minutes of debate have occurred if there are speakers at both pro and con microphones.  To move an amendment, come to the amendment table to the right of the stage as soon as the plenary session begins.  

    The text of the draft AIWs is attached to this CSW Alert (PDF), with the unincorporated amendments listed and lettered in order of priority.  You may also move to unincorporate an incorporated amendment. The four AIWs, revised with the amendments proposed during Saturday’s mini-assemblies, are:
     
    1. Protest Rep. Peter King’s Hearings on “Muslim Radicalization” (Passed)
    2. Support Southern California Supermarket Workers’ Struggle for Decent Wages and Benefits (Passed)
    3. Toward Ending the U.S. Military Engagement in Afghanistan (Failed)
    4. Oppose Citizens United—Support Free Speech for People (Passed)
       
    While Actions of Immediate Witness carry the authority only of the General Assembly at which they are adopted, AIWs reflect considerable thought, collaboration, and commitment. Use adopted AIWs to inform and organize others in your congregations and districts. 
     
    • Plenary VI
    • Hall C
    • Approximately 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The social witness process is our communal process.
Implementation of our adopted statements is everyone’s responsibility.

Plenary VII

  • Debate and Vote on proposed bylaw and rule changes to Article IV, Section 4.16.
    Matters regarding General Assembly Actions of Immediate Witness: either to eliminate Actions of Immediate Witness entirely, or to suspend AIWs in 2012, reconstitute them beginning with the 2013 General Assembly, and modify the process for submission.
    • 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Download the Saturday CSW Alert (PDF) with the text of the four proposed AIWs.

Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness

  • Vote to Admit Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW)
    We’ll vote whether to admit up to six proposed Actions of Immediate Witness to the Final Agenda.
    • Plenary IV
    • 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon
    • Hall C
       
  • Mini-Assemblies on proposed Actions of Immediate Witness
    These Mini-Assemblies are your ONLY opportunity to suggest amendments to the text of the proposed Actions of Immediate Witness admitted to the GA Agenda during the morning Plenary. Debate on each AIW as amended occurs during the Sunday Plenary VI. The proposed AIWS and the sites of their corresponding mini-assemblies are:
     
    1. Protest Rep. Peter King’s Hearings on Muslim “Radicalization”
      • Room 201 AB
      • 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
         
    2. Support Southern California Supermarket Workers’ Struggle for Decent Wages and Benefits
      • Room 202 AB
      • 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
         
    3. Toward Ending the U.S. Military Engagement in Afghanistan
      • Room 207 A
      • 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
         
    4. Oppose Citizens United—Support Free Speech for People
      • Room 207 BC
      • 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.

Following the mini-assemblies, the CSW will meet to consider all proposed amendments.

A revised draft text, with all unincorporated amendments listed and prioritized, will appear in Sunday morning’s CSW Alert.

Plan Ahead for Tomorrow!

Debate and voting on the amended AIWs are slated for Sunday’s Plenary VI, from approximately 11:00am – 1:00pm. 

Proposed AIW #1: Protest Representative Peter King’s Hearings on Muslim “Radicalization”

Because Unitarian Universalist principles affirm the goal of a just community, representing unity in our multi-racial world;

Whereas:  The hearings of Peter King, the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, which profess to present the ‘radicalization’ of the Muslim community, have begun as of March 10, 2011, and he intends on pursuing these hearings;

Whereas: on March 6, thousands of interfaith protestors demonstrated in Times Square against the Muslim radicalization hearings;

Whereas: such hearings lead to more hatred, racism and division along racial lines;

Whereas: such divisions foster the notion that the Middle East wars are against Muslim “terror”. However, Washington’s quest for oil and control of natural resources has become apparent in Iraq, and since the early 90’s, the US planned to build a lucrative gas pipeline through Afghanistan (TAPI), a plan finalized on May 28, 2011, in Ashkhabad.  This "New Great Game" (Journal of Energy security: 2010) and competition among world powers—a war over the control of energy resources—is being promoted as a war against Islamic terror by the US;

Whereas: the first amendment to the Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

And whereas: on May 21, a coalition of Unitarian Universalist congregations, 25 civil rights and interfaith groups, including chapters of the NY Civil Liberties Union, local mosques and peace activists demonstrated in front of Peter King’s office in Massapequa Park, Long Island, NY;

Therefore, be it resolved that the 2011 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association affirms to uphold multiracial unity and interfaith solidarity in the interest of world peace and calls upon member congregations to:

  • urge our local congressional representatives to halt Peter King’s hearings.
     
  • demonstrate as interfaith coalitions against the divisive promotion of Muslim “radicalization” and instead advocate multi-racial unity.

Proposed AIW #2: Support Southern California Supermarket Workers’ Struggle for Decent Wages and Benefits

BECAUSE our Unitarian Universalist Principles affirm “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and call for “justice, equity and compassion in human relations”;

BECAUSE our denomination has a long history of opposing racism and sexism;

WHEREAS, fulltime supermarket workers in Southern California (SoCal) earn an average of less than $30,000 per year, despite the high cost of living in the area;

WHEREAS, many workers get only 24 hours of work per week and therefore earn far less;

WHEREAS, SoCal supermarket workers are disproportionately African-American and Latino;

WHEREAS, SoCal supermarket workers are disproportionately female;

WHEREAS, the 5-month strike/lockout of these workers in 2003 resulted in reductions in health insurance and pensions;

WHEREAS, despite that, the 62,000 members of United Food and Commercial Workers voted overwhelmingly April 21, 2011 to authorize a strike against the three major SoCal supermarket chains—Ralphs, Albertsons and Von’s;

WHEREAS, the supermarket chains are demanding further increases in workers’ payments for health insurance;

WHEREAS, by authorizing a strike the supermarket workers acted on behalf of all workers, courageously rejecting the Great Recession rhetoric of  “shared sacrifice,” which has so far meant primarily that only workers (employed and unemployed) and their families sacrifice;

WHEREAS, in 2003 the supermarket chains adopted a “national strategy,” relying on profits from operations throughout the US to offset losses in Southern California;

WHEREAS it appears likely that the workers will strike within a few weeks of this General Assembly;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 2011 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association:

  • Calls upon UU congregations in Southern California to support the supermarket workers, including but not limited to educating our members, organizing petition campaigns and pledges not to shop at supermarkets on strike, holding demonstrations, walking picket lines, serving meals to the workers if they strike, and organizing congregations of other denominations and the community in general to do the same;
     
  • Calls upon congregations outside Southern California to hold demonstrations and picket lines at stores owned by the parent companies of the three supermarket chains: Safeway (Von’s), Kroger (Ralphs), and Supervalu, Inc. (Albertsons), and to collect pledges not to shop at stores owned by the chains if the workers strike, and to urge members of the community not to shop at those stores until the strike is settled, and to support the workers in other ways.

Proposed AIW #3: Toward Ending the U.S. Military Engagement in Afghanistan

Because we covenant in our Principles and Purposes to promote “Justice, equity and compassion in human relations,” and to seek “. . . world community with peace, liberty and justice for all”;

Because the 2010 Statement of Conscience, Creating Peace calls upon our Unitarian Universalist Association, congregations and individuals  “to speak truth to power” and “to engage with more depth, persistence, and creativity in the complex task of creating peace”;

Because we honor the valiant efforts of the men and women in the armed services in Afghanistan, and mourn the losses of lives and disabling injuries of all involved- military and civilian; and

Whereas the United States continues to pursue a military solution to the political conflicts in Afghanistan and in the region in spite of an announced timetable for military withdrawal starting this summer;

Whereas, after almost 10 years of U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan, and in spite of defeating al Qaeda there and eliminating Osama bin Laden, the current goal of building a central government with democratic institutions continues to be elusive and likely unattainable;

Whereas the intensive presence of U.S. troops required by counter-insurgency strategy is resented by the majority of Afghans, and contributes to the recruitment of armed resistance fighters and to terrorists around the world;

Whereas the economic costs to our nation, as well as to Afghanistan, are tremendous at a time of recession and unemployment when our resources could be effectively used to strengthen our domestic economy; and

Whereas American popular support continues to decrease, thus encouraging continued fighting among warring Afghan groups;

Therefore, be it resolved that the 2011 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association calls upon the United States government to change its course in Afghanistan from a policy of combating insurgents to a policy of supporting international assistance to the Afghan people in their developing and maintaining their own security and governance;

Furthermore, we call upon the government and peoples of Afghanistan to resolve conflicts through democratic processes and to support human rights, especially the rights of women and religious freedom; and

Be it further resolved that we urge the United Nations to help mediation among the hostile parties and facilitate rebuilding and reconciliation;

And finally, we urge the Unitarian Universalist Association, our congregations and their members to participate fully in local, national, and interfaith efforts to bring an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan.

Proposed AIW #4: Oppose Citizens United – Support Free Speech for People

BECAUSE Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and in the use of the democratic process in society at large,

WHEREAS the U.S. Supreme Court decision of January 21, 2010 in Citizens United v. FEC enshrined corporations as persons, and equated money with speech, and

WHEREAS this unprecedented ruling has already resulted in unlimited spending by corporations in state and federal elections in 2010, flooding the political marketplace with corporate money, drowning out the voices of individuals, and jeopardizing the very democracy that we hold dear, and

WHEREAS Congress cannot pass a law to overturn the Supreme Court decision, once the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution to say that corporations have the First Amendment rights of people, and

WHEREAS continuing this precedent may result in ever increasing gaps between rich and poor, concentrated efforts by the wealthy to control elections by vast infusions of money into campaign front groups, and increasing corruption of the democratic process, and

WHEREAS we are entering the first Presidential election cycle where this ruling takes effect, so the urgency is for people to speak up NOW in opposition to this ruling and in support of a Constitutional amendment to overturn it,  so that this is part of the Presidential debates in 2012,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the 2011 General Assembly urges member congregations to sign the resolution for The People’s Rights Amendment proposed at www.freespeechforpeople.org and encourage their Congressional representatives to sponsor such a resolution in opposition to the SCOTUS decision in Citizens United.  Find your U.S. Representatives at www.house.gov,

AND BE IT RESOLVED that the 2011 General Assembly encourages member congregations to support similar motions of other organizations such as MovetoAmend, People for the American Way, and Public Citizen. (See www.movetoamend.org, www.pfaw.org, www.citizen.org),

AND BE IT RESOLVED that the 2011 General Assembly encourages member congregations to press their state Senators and Representatives to file similar state and local resolutions opposing the equation of corporate political speech with the free speech of individual persons, and use as models the 2011 state resolutions of the states of Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington State, and the local resolutions of the towns of Brewster,  Chatham, Dennis, Great Barrington, Orleans, Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, and Williamstown, Massachusetts.  See www.freespeechforpeople.org, 2011 Resolutions.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that GA 2011 encourages the existing eleven UU legislative ministries in the UU State Advocacy Network (UUSAN, www.uustatenetwork.org) to consider adopting “Oppose Citizens United—Support Free Speech for People” as a core issue among their statewide efforts, and encourages member congregations in states that do not YET have a legislative ministry to start one by contacting Interim Administrator, Nancy Banks, at nancy [dot] banks1 [at] verizon [dot] net  or 617-835-5426.

Working together we can grow our souls, help heal the world, and perhaps make a significant impact in 2011-2012 to restore free speech to people and strengthen the voices of WE the People in our democracy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today’s Plenary schedule includes:the Debate and Vote on the Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice Statement of Conscience (SOC).

Just arrived and glazing over about how to navigate the social witness process? An overview of the entire process is available at the Commission on Social Witness (CSW) booth #313.  Remember that this daily CSW Alert is organized according to what’s happening most immediately for the draft Statement of Conscience (SOC), the current Congregational Study Action Issues (CSAI), and Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW). All related events are described below.

Draft SOC on Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice—2008-2012

  • Draft Statement of Conscience (SOC)—Ethical Eating—TODAY
    Plenary III—Debate and Vote on SOC
    • Friday, June 24, ca 9:00 - 10:00a.m.
    • Hall C
    • Revised draft SOC, the list of unincorporated amendments, and the reasons the CSW chose not to incorporate those amendments.

Learn, Participate, Organize, and Energize!  CSW-related Programs

  • Ethical Eating & Environmental Justice – 2008-2012
    SOC: Implementing the NewlyAdopted Ethical Eating SOC
    • Friday, June 24, 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
    • CC 217A
       
  • SOC: The Welcome Table: Finding Common Ground on Ethical Eating
    B. Rev. Michael Schuler of Madison, Wisconsin will speak on reconciling the ethics of eating with our hunger for community.
    • Friday, June 24, 2:45 - 4:00 p.m.
    • CC 208
       
  • 2010 Adopted SOC on Creating Peace
    Event—Implementation Year for Creating Peace SOC
    Our Bylaws call for a focused year of implementation after an SOC is adopted. Come hear what our congregations and Peace Ministry Network have done this past year, and what we can do in the future! Peace, at all levels, is too important a subject to let it fade away in our congregations. Speakers—Rev. Dr. Frank W. Carpenter, Mac Goekler, and Dr. Sharon Welch.
    • Friday, June 24, 2:45 - 4:00 p.m.

CSAI—Immigration as a Moral Issue—2010-2014

  • Event—CSAI: Immigration as a Moral Issue—Speaker David Bacon
    David Bacon is the author of Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.
    • Friday, June 24, 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
    • CC Hall B

Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs)

  • Deadline for Action of Immediate Witness Signature Petitions—5 p.m. TODAY!
    As of 5 p.m. Thursday, text for each of the proposed Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) was posted at the CSW Booth. To be considered for placement on the Final Agenda, each requires 150 signatures (from at least 25 congregations in at least five districts). You can sign petitions at the CSW Booth (#313) on petition forms accompanying the text of each AIW or on the petition form of individuals circulating through the convention center. Only delegates may sign petitions. As a delegate, you may support as many AIWs as you choose. The signature petitions must be submitted as instructed by 5 p.m. TODAY to the GA Office—CC 105—in the Charlotte Convention Center.

Plan ahead for tomorrow!

  • Saturday, June 25—Plenary IV
    We’ll debate and vote on whether to admit up to six proposed Actions of Immediate Witness to the Final Agenda.
    • c.a. 9:54 - 10:09 a.m.
    • Hall C
  • Mini-Assemblies on proposed Actions of Immediate Witness
    These mini-assemblies will be your only opportunity to suggest amendments to the text of all proposed AIWs admitted to the Final Agenda during the morning plenary. Debate on each AIW as initially amended, debate on prioritized unincorporated amendments, and voting on each AIW as finally amended will occur during the Sunday afternoon plenary.
    • 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
    • Rooms 201 AB, 202 AB, 207 A, 207 BC, 207 D, 209 AB

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to Charlotte and General Assembly (GA) 2011! Hold on to this Summary CSW (Commission on Social Witness) Alert. It’s your first of four daily guides to our social witness work at GA. As delegates of member congregations, it’s up to you to participate in the workshops and plenaries. There is much at stake, including voting on adopting the Draft Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating—Food and Environmental Justice, voting on proposed Bylaw amendments to either eliminate or modify Actions of Immediate Witness, attending programs on our active Congregational Study/Action Issue on Immigration, hearing what congregations and the Peace Ministry Network are doing to implement the Statement of Conscience adopted last year—Creating Peace, and seeing opportunities to propose and adopt Actions of Immediate Witness. Plan to participate fully, and ask about what you don’t understand. You can access CSW members at Booth 313 in the Exhibit Hall and up front, on the right, during the plenary sessions that include CSW business. Let’s bear social witness together!

How to Navigate Our Social Witness Process at GA

Check your GA Agenda (black and white cover)—on pages 3 & 4 to find additional information on the social witness processes (PDF) named below. At the CSW booth you’ll find a copy of the Delegates’ Guide to Social Witness and a large visual display on the process.

Let’s first clear up that ornery alphabet soup:

  • CSAI = Congregational Study Action Issue
     
  • SOC = Statement of Conscience
     
  • AIW = Action of Immediate Witness

The CSAI emerges first in a congregation, district, or sponsored organization and moves through a process of congregational and GA selection every two years. An SOC is drafted by the CSW in the third year and presented to congregations and delegates for comments, proposed amendments, and final approval.

You also will have the opportunity at this GA to speak out on specific issues demanding our immediate attention through AIWs. You draft them. You propose them (preference is given to group-originated proposals). Delegates support them by signing sponsors’ petitions and voting to admit them to the GA agenda. Mini-assemblies are slated for Saturday afternoon right after Plenary 4 for up to six AIWs that you as delegates can vote onto the Agenda. At the Sunday morning Plenary 6, delegates debate and vote on whether they are adopted and carry the authority of this GA.

Each CSW Alert will be organized according to what’s happening most immediately for the Draft SOC, Active CSAI, and AIWs. Related events will be highlighted.

Draft SOC on Ethical Eating—Food & Environmental Justice 2008-2012

  • Event 1—SOC: Mini-Assembly on Draft SOC
    Only opportunity to propose amendments. This is one continuous session. Come at the beginning.
    • Thursday, June 23, 9:00 a.m.-Noon
    • Hilton Hotel—Carolina & Charlotte Rooms
       
  • Event 2—SOC: Implementing the Newly Adopted Ethical Eating SOC
    • Friday, June 24, 1:00-2:15 p.m.
    • CC 217 A
       
  • Event 3—SOC: The Welcome Table: Finding Common Ground on Ethical Eating
    Rev. Michael Schuler of Madison, WI, will speak on reconciling the ethics of eating with our hunger for community.
    • Friday, June 24, 2:45-4:00 p.m.
    • CC 208 B

2010 Adopted SOC on Creating Peace

  • Event—Implementation Year for Creating Peace SOC
    Our Bylaws call for a focused year of implementation after an SOC is adopted. Come hear what our congregations and Peace Ministry Network have done this past year, and what we can do in the future! Peace, at all levels, is too important a subject to let fade away in our congregations. Speakers—Rev. Dr. Frank W. Carpenter, Mac Goekler, and Dr. Sharon Welch.
    • Friday, June 24, 2:45-4:00 p.m.

Active CSAI—Immigration as a Moral Issue—2010-2014

  • Event—CSAI: Immigration as a Moral Issue—Speaker David Bacon
    David Bacon is author of Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.
    • Friday, June 24, 1:00-2:15 p.m.
    • CC Hall B

AIWs

Deadlines to Propose Your Group's AIW

  • Deadline 1
    First, check the CSW booth to determine if anyone else is preparing an AIW on the same topic. We encourage collaboration. To place an AIW on the Agenda, pick up the required cover sheet and petition form for signatures at the CSW booth and draft your statement. Submit a copy of the AIW at the booth by the Thursday deadline. Then begin to collect delegate signatures.
    • Thursday, June 23, 5:00 p.m.
    • CSW Booth 313, Exhibit Hall
       
  • Deadline 2
    Submit the AIW forms with the required delegate signatures to the CSW at the GA Office, Room 105, by the Friday deadline. Proposed AIWs must be submitted by this deadline to be considered.
    • Friday, June 24, 5:00 p.m.
    • GA Office, Room CC 105 of the Convention Center

Questions?

Visit the CSW at Booth 313 in the Exhibit Hall

For more information contact socialwitness@uua.org.

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