The Unitarian Universalist Association Says It’s Time to Defund the Police

Contact Information:

Marchaé Grair​

Director of Public Relations and Outreach

For Immediate Release

June 29, 2020

The Unitarian Universalist Association Says It’s Time to Defund the Police

Boston, MA— During the first all-virtual General Assembly annual gathering, delegates of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) voted for its member congregations to find alternatives to policing and to pursue police abolition within Unitarian Universalist justice work. The vote passed with 82% voting yes.

“This moment calls us to be prophetic and to imagine a world without policing,” said UUA president, the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray. “Black and Indigenous people and other folks of color have already created alternatives to policing because these structures don’t keep them safe. We must follow the lead of these communities and imagine a world that centers collective care, community investment, and restorative justice, rather than surveillance, punishment, incarceration and policing.”

General Assembly’s call to defund the police aligns with the UUA’s commitment to dismantling white supremacy and reflects similar sentiments in the UUA’s statement, “ Stop Calling the Police and Start Eradicating Anti-Blackness.” The UUA’s justice priorities include ending criminalization. Organizing to end mass incarceration and detention are key pieces of that work. The UUAvoted to support the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2018.

The General Assembly vote to defund the police passed as an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW), which allows Unitarian Universalists to respond quickly to social issues deemed urgent and empowers the UUA’s organizing team to take action related to the AIW. Some ways congregations are asked to engage the AIW include creating security and safety policies that don’t involve the police; moving congregational and institutional resources and endowments towards Black liberation organizing; and directly intervening alongside communities experiencing policing and ICE raids.

Read the full AIW to defund the police, “Amen to Uprising: A Commitment and Call to Action.”

General Assembly delegates also voted to name the harm of 400 years of colonization and actively work to repair its impacts. Read the Action of Immediate Witness to support Indigenous peoples and repair the harms of colonization, “400 Years of White Supremacist Colonialism.”

With more than 4,900 virtual attendees, the 2020 General Assembly had the third highest attendance in UUA history since GA began in 1962.

General Assembly is the annual meeting of the UUA. A complete list of General Assembly events and presentations can be found in the online program.

The UUA is a religious association of congregations established in 1961 via the consolidation of the Universalist Church of America (organized in 1793) and the American Unitarian Association (organized in 1825). Unitarian Universalist rituals and worship consist of many source traditions and reflect a joint commitment to building Beloved Community in the world.

Unitarian Universalism is a “living tradition,” meaning Unitarian Universalists believe there is new wisdom to learn beyond any text already written. Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which they hold as strong values and moral guides.