General Assembly Participation Covenant

Let us remember our commitment to the worth and dignity of all. The UUA expects all attendees to conduct themselves in a professional manner with concern and respect for all.

The UUA is committed to assuring that all participants are safe from abuse and harassment. Any harassment regarding race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, economic class, or employment will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment includes unsolicited remarks, gestures, physical contact, requests for sexual favors, repeated sexual advances after an initial turn down, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Religious professionals are to follow their codes of conduct to avoid misconduct or harassment. Any GA participant who believes that they are the victim of harassment should contact either a chaplain or the Covenant Team.

When We Meet In-Person

As guests of our host city, attendees are asked to extend the same respect and consideration to all with whom they interact, including the hospitality workers who serve them.

As a courtesy, please allow persons using wheelchairs and scooters to exit meeting rooms first. Also, please leave elevators free for the use of persons using wheelchairs, scooters or that have difficulty with stairs.

Practices for Fostering Multicultural Dialogue and Community

During General Assembly, we gather to build relationships, which requires a commitment to remaining present to issues of power when feeling challenged. A Covenant alone can never be perfect nor lead to perfect behavior; community requires practice. This week you are invited to take these practices to heart and to speak from your truth while acknowledging your privilege.

  • Honor multiple truths - Your viewpoint, opinions, and actions have intent and impact. In cross-cultural interactions, your INTENT may be to speak from your truth and not cause harm. However, if you are not also invested in the other person’s truth then they can experience the IMPACT as harmful. This is particularly true when people with white privilege see their opinion as the universal experience. Which leads to…
  • Consider your social location - Each of us holds multiple identities with respect to race, class, ability, gender, sexuality, age, and more. Depending on where we are and who we are with, sometimes we are in a position of power and privilege, sometimes we are disempowered or marginalized, and often there’s a mix. Recognize your power and notice the power dynamics around you. Practice using your privilege to create more space for those on the margins.
  • Practice care toward yourself and those you engage with - With thousands of UUs gathered, the one universal truth is: You are going to have difficult conversations this week! Practice care. If you’re in a position of privilege, practice letting go of assumptions, taking your cue from the other person/s, sitting with your discomfort, and/or pausing to consider how to process the conversation. If you have one or more marginalized identities, you may want to assess how much spiritual energy you have to give to the conversation, end a conversation by asking the other person to check in with an accountability partner, and/or seek out care for yourself. Either way, consider finding your people for accountability and/or support (find the Covenant Team if you need help).

© 2019 Christina Rivera and Alex Kapitan

Agreement and Practices for Online Content & Discussion

General Assembly is the largest annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists. It provides us with the opportunity to build deep connections, worship, engage in faith development, participate in innovative learning and collaboration. Registrants will have access to General Assembly on the Whova event App, a powerful online tool for networking and engagement during GA. It is important that we uphold agreements that support a compassionate, respectful and anti-oppressive environment for all.

As a participant in General Assembly and/or the online platforms designed to enhance communication between participants, I hereby agree to the following:

Behave Respectfully–I will engage with others in a way that honors the personhood and experience of all. I will both listen and contribute to conversations. I will make space for others to participate and avoid disruption or distraction by honoring the agenda and topics for discussion.

Self Care and Community Care–I will take care of myself and my needs. I will also take care to engage with our Unitarian Universalist communities in an empathetic, understanding and thoughtful manner.

Practice active and anti-oppressive engagement–I will make a conscious effort to engage with and understand what others are sharing. I will be attentive to how my interactions may impact others. Words and actions have been used to historically oppress people and therefore certain words and actions can be activating of traumatic or hurtful experiences. I will be mindful of this and participate in ways that are respectful and considerate.

Show Up – Understanding that we are in a time of global uprising against state sponsored violence and that these crises disproportionately impact some of us based on our identity and social location, I will cultivate grace and practice patience. I will be mindful to side with love by showing up for others in this time.

Be present to truth – We hold multiple truths gleaned from our lived experiences. None of our experiences, especially those of us who have been historically marginalized, are up for debate. I will be mindful of this during my interpersonal interactions during GA.

Our Unitarian Universalist values call upon us to avoid the following harmful forms of expression:

  • Offensive language related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, pregnancy status, veteran status, political affiliation, marital status, body size, age, race, national origin, ethnic origin, immigration status, language, religion or other identity marker.
  • Threats of violence or aggressive behavior of any kind toward any individual or group.
  • Online Trolling; deliberate provocative, offensive and/or disrespectful posts (commentary, images, GIFs) intended to derail conversation
  • Stalking or following - online (or in the physical world.)
  • Sexual harassment in any form, including sexual images, GIFs, sexual language, virtual contact without consent, and inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others.
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
  • Revealing any aspect of the identity of a person who experiences marginalization without their consent.
  • Humor that evokes any of the above.
  • Adults should never be alone with an unrelated child at a Unitarian Universalist event, whether in-person or virtually. We ask that adults not private-message youth on any Virtual GA platform, including the GA App by Whova. It is appropriate to interact with youth in the mainstage chat rooms, workshop chats, and community boards on the app, where multigenerational registrants are all participating. It is not appropriate to engage in one-to-one communication between an adult and a youth.

As a registered attendee of General Assembly, I understand and agree that the content available in the GA app (i.e. worship, speakers, workshops, etc.) shall not be recorded or distributed for private or public viewing.

We will not be complicit when observing activity that is deliberately antagonistic and harmful. Violations of this Agreement and Practices will prompt any/all of the following action steps:

The participant will be contacted privately with a warning about their offense and given the opportunity to improve their communication for the benefit of all.

The participant will be contacted and their content (i.e. chat dialogue, app or social media post) may be turned off.

The participant will be removed from the space.