Commission on Social Witness Alerts, General Assembly 2014

Speak Out for Social Justice—Providence 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ACTIONS for TODAY: Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs)

Debate and vote on three proposed Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) are slated for General Session VII from 8:00 - 10:30 a.m.

In the Sunday morning General Session, you’ll have the opportunity to debate and vote on each of the three proposed AIWs added to the agenda on Saturday. All three may 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. You must complete an amendment form available at the desk by the Amendment microphone. Delegates may either move to a) unincorporate an incorporated amendment or b) incorporate an unincorporated amendment. No amendments that were not first proposed at a mini-assembly are permitted. Motions to delete will be considered fist, then motions in add unincorporated amendments will be considered in the order they are listed after the draft AIW. If you have suggestions for grammatical or typo changes, please bring those suggestions in writing to the amendment table, but you do not need to bring them to the floor for a vote.

The text of the draft AIWs is attached to this CSW Alert, with the unincorporated amendments listed and lettered in order of priority according to the level of support generated in the mini-assemblies around these amendments. The three revised AIWs are:

Future Actions

Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs)

Engage in study and action related to Reproductive Justice and XXX.
Look for a study guide on the newly selected CSAI in October at CSW website.

Engage in actions to implement the Statement of Conscience: Immigration as a Moral Issue and other previously adopted Statements of Conscience.

In November 2014, look for a draft statement of conscience on Reproductive Justice, which will be available at CSW website. Engage your congregation in discussions and send suggested changes to the UUA by March 1 using the response form that will be available on the CSW site.

Actions of Immediate Witness

Use adopted AIWs to advocate in your congregations and districts. 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.

The social witness process is our communal process

Implementation of our adopted statements is everyone’s responsibility.

Join the CSW email list.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs)

General Session V
Saturday, 8:00 - 9:45 a.m.

After reading the following 100-word summaries of 6 possible AIWs in this Alert and listening to 2-minute presentations by proposers, delegates will vote whether to admit up to three proposed Actions of Immediate Witness to the Final Agenda.

  1. Proposed AIW #1: Support the Faith Summit on Stopping Deportations
    Summary: Several of our interfaith partners along with immigration justice activists are planning a Faith Summit on Stopping Deportations called Pray for Relief: Not One More Family Separated. This proposed Action of Immediate Witness calls Unitarian Universalists to participate in this summit, which will include planned civil disobedience, in order to persuade President Obama to take administrative action in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing deportations, incarceration and criminalization of immigrant communities.
  2. Proposed AIW #2: Support a Fair, Ambitious and Binding 2015 Global Climate Treaty
    Summary: Global Climate Change is fundamentally a moral issue with inter-generational consequences. The scientific consensus concludes that climate change is reality, human contributions are undeniable, immediate reductions in greenhouse gases are required. A Fair, Ambitions and Binding Treaty aligns with all Seven UU Principles. An international treaty is the only way to assure the global effort necessary for climate risk management. American leadership is essential to crafting, adopting, and ratifying a binding global treaty. Immediate and significant UU actions can be taken in 2014-2015 during the process leading to the December 2015 Global Climate Treaty.
  3. Proposed AIW #3: Affirming Congregational Commitment to Gun Violence Prevention
    Summary: This AIW solicits an endorsement from the GA renewing the focus and call for congregational commitment to work for gun violence prevention initiatives as demanded by the recent mass tragedies of VA Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Newtown, Washington Navy Yard and UC Santa Barbara—and the insanity of one thousand individual gun homicides each month. Recent congregational resolutions in No. Virginia will hopefully inspire other congregations to do their own resolution, initiating a wave of calls to action spreading across the UUA world, congregation by district by region, and also prepare congregations for the work required by the CSAI on Gun Violence: A Public Health issue under consideration this year.
  4. Proposed AIW #4: Stop arresting victims of human trafficking
    Summary: Our passion for freedom and justice, and our history, commit us to opposing human trafficking: modern slavery. While it is illegal everywhere, slavery exists in every country, including the United States. Many survivors are arrested, detained, or deported, rather than treated as crime victims and witnesses and given assistance. A concrete action Unitarian Universalists can take is to work to pass federal and state legislation prohibiting arresting and detaining human trafficking victims. This legislation is currently pending in the US Congress, 42 states and the District of Columbia.
  5. Proposed AIW #5: Calling for humanitarian aid to victims of violence in Syria
    Summary: The Syrian War has resulted in 160,000 dead and 10 million homeless. The Syrian Ba’ath government has used chemical weapons, starvation and torture, including on women and children. The government forbids humanitarian aid in rebel-held territories. In neighboring countries, 80% of the refugees are barred from overcrowded camps. We call on UU’s to a) witness the violent displacement of Syrians and publicize their stories; b) promote refugee immigration to the United States and humanitarian programs, such as the UUSC trauma facility in Lebanon; and c) support UU programs advancing our understanding of Muslim cultures and religions, and efforts to help Syrian refugees.
  6. Proposed AIW #6: UUA Support for “Uganda New Underground Railway” to safely extract LGBT people from persecution in Uganda
    Summary: This AIW addressed the critical need to help those LGBT people who are experiencing persecution, in Uganda. This Action of Immediate Witness supports the Quakers with the “New Underground Railway” to help extract people safely from Uganda. Through the history of the UUA and the UUSC we have acted to move people out of harm’s way. We need to join in solidarity with the Quakers to save Ugandan lives.

Mini-Assemblies on proposed Actions of Immediate Witness

Saturday, 10:15 - 11:30 a.m.
Rhode Island Convention Center 552, 553, Ballroom E

The full text of the 3 selected proposed AIWs will be available at the mini-assemblies and on the GA app. 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 morning Plenary. Off-site delegates will have a chat room where they can also propose amendments.

Following the mini-assemblies, the Commission on Social Witness (CSW) will meet to consider all proposed amendments. The Sunday CSW Alert will contain a revised draft text, with all unincorporated amendments listed and prioritized.

Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) Implementation Year: Immigration as a Moral Issue

Saturday, 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Hall D

Rev. Peter Morales, Sister Simone Campbell, Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, and Katia Hanson from UU Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education (UURISE) will share some exciting work on immigration reform that has occurred since the 2013 General Assembly adopted the statement of conscience “Immigration as a Moral Issue.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday’s schedule includes a worship service that addresses the current Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) on Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling, the Presentation of and Vote on the Proposed CSAI for 2014-2018 and a hearing on that new issue.

This daily Commission on Social Witness (CSW) Alert is organized according to what’s happening most immediately for the selection of a new CSAI, the current CSAI on Reproductive Justice, and Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs). All related events are described below.

Current CSAI

UUMA/Commission on Social Witness Sermon Award

Friday, 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Omni Providence Ballroom

Come celebrate our faith’s commitment to social justice and hear Rev. Amy Carol Webb, winner of the 2014 Social Witness Award of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and the Commission on Social Witness, speak on the CSAI “Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling.” Her sermon title is “Body & Soul.”

New CSAI: 2014-2018

Selection of New Congregational Study Action Issue

General Session IV: Presentation of CSAI proposals and vote to select the CSAI for 2012-2016
Friday, 2:15 - 4:30 p.m. 
Dunk Arena

Congregations have proposed five new CSAIs for 2014 - 2018. Copies of the proposals are in the Final Agenda starting on page 87. They are:

  • CSAI 1: Empowerment: Age and Ability Reconsidered
  • CSAI 2: Ending the War on Terror
  • CSAI 3: Escalating Inequality
  • CSAI 4: Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue
  • CSAI 5: Renewing and Securing Our American Democracy

Hearing on Newly Selected CSAI

Friday, 5:00 - 6:15 p.m.
Rhode Island Convention Center 552

This is your opportunity to share your ideas and resources you know about with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) staff who will be writing the study guide to accompany the new congregational study/action issue. It will also be a time to get ideas from others about how you might take this back to your congregation for study and action.

Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs)

Deadline for Action of Immediate Witness Signature Petitions: 5 p.m. at GA Office!

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the 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). Delegates can sign petitions at the CSW Booth (#823) on petition forms accompanying the text of each AIW or on the petition form of individuals circulating through the convention center. As a delegate, you may support as many as you choose. The signature petitions must be submitted as instructed by 5 p.m. at the GA Volunteer Office—fifth floor lounge in the Rhode Island Convention Center.