Each year the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) hosts our Intergenerational Spring Seminar. Our 2019 theme was Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World, looking at how to engage locally and globally to support gender equity, and take action to address the global trends of misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and other oppressions.
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 2019:
2019 Intergenerational Spring Seminar Statement
Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World
We recognize that white supremacy, the patriarchy, and misinformation about gender equity together create systems of intersecting oppressions that
are damaging to the oppressors and the oppressed, and that
perpetuate a culture of violence
Women and girls are often devalued and subjected to violence
LGBTQ people are criminalized in 72 countries
Violence against transgender people is on the rise in the United States, especially for transwomen of color, who have a life expectancy of only 35 years
Gender inequity exists globally, both within countries and across borders, with widespread costs and consequences
According to Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality, people whose identities make them the target of multiple types of oppression (racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, xenophobia, etc.) experience those intersecting oppressions in compounded ways
And recognizing that...
Gender and bodies are not binary nor unchanging, but institutions in society and culture still reinforce gender binaries, causing structural discrimination against non-binary individuals
Gender is an artificial construct, but its effects are real, creating barriers and separations
Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the interdependence and rights of all genders
Unitarian Universalists are committed to promoting a goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
We believe in equity of access to opportunity regardless of gender, identity, or status
We must be aware of intersectionality and how each action we take will affect people differently according to the many identities they hold
Our privilege or lack thereof in society is determined by intersecting aspects of our identities; some are visible, some are not
International connections can give rise to empathy, compassion, and new ideas
We therefore resolve to...
Work towards a grassroots restructuring of world politics
Dismantle and deconstruct patriarchy and white supremacy through:
Ending legal discrimination and stigmatization around non-binary genders
Demilitarizing male culture
Lowering the military budget
Increasing the education budget
Use resources to allow all people an opportunity to develop their full potential, giving equitable support to people of color, women, non-binary, LGBTQ+, and all oppressed people, especially those with multiple oppressions
Support and volunteer for candidates whose campaigns are fully inclusive in advocating for gender equity
Charge all UU congregations to work with their cities, counties, and states to pass the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Take responsibility for our own learning and growth through reading and media, recognizing the effects of gender inequity on how those media are created and the impacts they have
Bring information about gender equity into our schools and empower other youth
Demonstrate and teach gender-inclusive language and non-violent language
Find the commonality of oppression in our own communities and encourage intersectional solutions
Work locally to dismantle institutional oppression
Pay attention to inequalities in daily life. Be intentionally, radically inclusive, thinking about who is not present and working actively to ensure that all voices are brought in and heard
Join the struggle for others’ rights even if we think their situations do not affect us
Bear witness, start conversations, debunk myths
Understand that each of us is a part of the solution
Speak out when we see inequality of respect and of care
Fight for our values.
Affirmed by the participants of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office Intergenerational Spring Seminar, New York City, 13 April, 2019.
Resources for Further Engagement
We've compiled resources from some of the presenters for further engagement with this year's Seminar topic. Check out the resources page and stay involved with taking action for gender equity both locally and globally!
Incorporating Intersectionality into Your Activism
Two UU-UNO interns, Alisha Zou and Yasarina Almanzar, wrote about some of the main take-aways from the 2019 Intergenerational Spring Seminar. They reflect on keynote speaker Ericka Hart's engaging activity about privilege and identity: "Without thoughtful self-reflection and deconstruction, we can unintentionally subscribe to and reinforce institutional systems of white supremacy and cultural colonization."