Unitarian Universalists Reaffirm Commitment to Racial and Reproductive Justice at General Assembly More than 3,200 UUs come together for annual meeting

Media Contact:
Suzanne Morse
Ph: (508) 259-9354
Email: smorse@uua.org

panorama view of general session hall with stage at left and chairs in rows at right

Boston, Mass. (June 29, 2022) – More than 3,200 Unitarian Universalists (UUs) from all 50 states came together virtually and in Portland, Oregon for the denomination’s annual General Assembly (GA) from June 22nd to June 26th. GA is the annual gathering of UUs, and it is where the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) conducts business, gathers in community, explores the theological underpinnings of the UU faith, and emphasizes the Association’s mission and Principles.

In 2020 and 2021, UUs from remote locations around the world participated in GA through digital platforms because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the UUA elected to make the annual assembly a multiplatform event, with both in-person and online opportunities. GA offered virtual attendance with robust programming and enhanced discussion tools for delegates from UU congregations across the country.

At the same time, more than a thousand individuals traveled to Portland, Oregon for the opportunity to meet face-to-face for the first time in three years. All in-person attendees and exhibitors were required to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination. In addition, masking was required, and physically distanced seating options were reserved in meeting spaces. In total, 1,776 delegates from 597 congregations and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee participated in voting democratically on denominational business.

Voting on Actions of Immediate Witness, which shape the UUA’s social justice commitments, was among the business conducted during GA 2022. UU delegates overwhelming voted for social justice resolutions that support reproductive justice (PDF, 3 pages) (99 percent) and anti-racism and reparations via restorative justice (PDF, 2 pages) (95 percent), and that oppose the privatization of Medicare (PDF, 2 pages) (77 percent).

During GA, the UUA makes a commitment to leverage the Association’s organizational strength to support locally led movements for justice through a Public Witness event. This year, at the invitation of local UU climate justice activists, GA attendees joined them in support of youth-led climate justice work in partnership with Sunrise Movement PDX, a chapter of the national Sunrise Movement. Since April 2021, as a part of their Youth vs. ODOT campaign, youth organizers with Sunrise PDX have been striking every other week demanding that Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Oregon Transportation Commission, and Governor Brown fund their futures, not freeways, to achieve a rapid and just decarbonization of the state’s transportation system.

side view of Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray speaking outside at a rally

Additionally, UUA president Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray and other GA attendees participated in a protest event at Lownsdale Square in Portland on Friday, June 24th in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, upending nearly 50 years of access to abortion. “Before Roe protected our right to abortion, Unitarian Universalists were partnering with other faith communities to help women access safe abortions and we are going right back to that work as faith communities,” said Rev. Dr. Frederick-Gray. “I am furious! I am filled with holy fury at the way that our lives and our rights are being taken away.” A video of her remarks is available, as is her statement on the Supreme Court decision.

In addition to denominational business and spiritual gatherings, UU participants attended both in-person and online workshops and other events focused on UU social justice priorities. These included gatherings focused on climate justice, faith formation for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, living through collective trauma, the UUA’s UU the Vote initiative, and more. The General Assembly public agenda is available online.

The UUA will hold its 2023 General Assembly from June 21st through the 25th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

About the UUA

The UUA is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States. Our faith is diverse and inclusive and the UUA’s 1000+ member congregations are committed to Seven Principles that hold closely the worth and dignity of each person as sacred, the need for justice and compassion, and the right to choose one’s own beliefs.