Beyond Borders: Breaking Barriers of Race and Immigration (2012)

Each year the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) hosts our Intergenerational Spring Seminar. Our 2012 theme was Beyond Borders: Breaking Barriers of Race and Immigration. 

Throughout the seminar participants met in collaboration groups to discuss and process the informational panels and activities. At the end of the conference, each collaboration group submitted a statement which contributed to our annual Spring Seminar Statement. Below is our collective statement from 2012.

Learn more about UU work on immigration justice and racial justice.

UU United Nations 2012 Seminar Statement


  • Immigration and race impact all people regardless of gender, class, ethnicity, and faith;
  • Unfortunately, racism, prejudice, and discrimination are prevalent and socially acceptable nationally and internationally;
  • Race and citizenship status affects one’s ability to access education, health care, employment and other human rights;
  • Due to immigration status, youth are denied the basic human right of education in our communities;
  • Migration is on the rise due to increasingly volatile and insecure situations in home countries;
  • Undocumented individuals who already live in the United States and Canada have limited access to resources and paths to citizenship;
  • 400,000 people are detained and deported each year in the US alone;
  • We are a global community of many races and ethnic groups whose experiences and beliefs shape our perceptions;
  • Race is a social construct and regardless of that, racism is real and affects us all;
  • Racial discrimination prevents individuals from reaching their full potential as global citizens,
  • Racial discrimination, particularly when it intersects with immigration, explicitly undermines the tenets laid out in the UN Charter;
  • Ignorance of others’ languages, experiences, and cultures leads to racism and discrimination;
  • No person is “illegal” and the arbitrary borders that separate us physically should not be used to separate us mentally and emotionally and keep the underprivileged in poverty.

We hereby resolve to:

  • Remain open, accepting and affirming of the differences in others and live up to our first UU Principle of promoting and affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Build a society where people are accepted regardless of race, gender and/or immigration status by breaking down the barriers that divide us;
  • Reject discrimination as a social norm;
  • Advocate for revision of our countries’ immigration laws to become more humane;
  • Support the implementation of less costly and more efficient methods to obtain legal status;
  • Encourage our communities to actively support and insure the passage of the DREAM Act and other related legislation;
  • Stand in solidarity with every member of our human family, lending our voice, energy and privilege to raise up our brothers and sisters experiencing discrimination;
  • Unite to teach our home communities that we are not severed ethnicities but one human race.

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2012 Spring Seminar attendees during a panel discussion held at the United Nations.

2012 Spring Seminar attendees during a panel discussion held at the United Nations.

Panel Speakers during the 2012 Spring Seminar.

Panel Speakers during the 2012 Spring Seminar.