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General Assembly 2012 Event 510
GINI COURTER: Why don't we sing all of these folks back to their seats. Kelly, what have you got?
KELLY: Well, we realized we didn't put Blue Boat Home into any service this year. How could that be? I guess it didn't mention specifically justice.
But how can we not sing this song? And then I realized, oh. We didn't clear it for copyrights. But then we got a hold of Peter Mayer this afternoon and he said yes. So we're going to sing Blue Boat Home.
And this also has some special meaning to me. Some of you know right after GA two years ago, my husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer when he and I were at that UU musician's network conference. And I had already committed to doing two years of GA, being music coordinator.
And for the entire two years, I wasn't sure if I could go to Charlotte last year. And I wasn't sure if I could come here. Actually, I live only 20 minutes away. But my husband was quite ill.
His worst pain started on the day of my ordination last November where we sang Blue Boat Home. He had to stay in a room off the sanctuary where he could lie on a couch. He was in excruciating pain.
There's a phrase in the second verse that I've hung on to for two years, drifting here with my ship's companion. My congregation has been my ship's companions. My colleagues and friends and my UUA network across the country have been my ship's companions.
And somehow I made it and I'm here today. My husband passed away in March. It will be three months tomorrow. And I've been holding on because of all of you.
So when you return home today or tomorrow, whenever you return home, please hug your family members. You never know what a day will bring. And we need to appreciate every day. And I'm thankful to be here and sing Blue Boat Home with my ship's companions. Please rise in body or spirit, Blue Boat Home.
[BLUE BOAT HOME]
GINI COURTER: Let me be clear about the reason we took a break earlier. I know you all might have liked your break in a different place. But to be pretty blunt our partners were told we wouldn't engage in Doctrine of Discovery until about 4 o'clock. So we were moving to make sure that we did not be out of relationship with them. Now does it begin to make sense? OK.
There's a whole lot a little stuff in my head that doesn't always make it to my tongue. Do with it what you will. I can't stop you. Have you had a good GA so far? We only have a few things left to do, some of which are quite important.
When I was in high school a friend of mine got braces to straighten and adjust her teeth. And for the first month or so after she got them I would catch Kim using her tongue to do a survey of the new geography of her mouth, checking out all that newness.
It was pretty annoying to watch. And then I realized she was probably also annoyed by me watching her. So whose problem was this? But I understand the need to do that survey. What's new? What's different in there?
For a brief time I wore contact lenses. And when they'd slide a bit around my eyes, I would fix them in the way I had always adjusted my glasses. I would pound myself on the bridge of my nose. How'd that work?
Veterans and others who have lost a limb speak of phantom pain. But it need not be a large change. Gain or lose a bit of weight, grow just a little bit slower or quicker of step, and we find that we need to re-survey our changed reality and re-integrate it with our inner map. Integrate from the same Latin root as the word integer. We re-integrate so that we can be whole.
I normally begin my annual report with a reading, usually an historical reading about Unitarianism or Universalism or Unitarian Universalism. This year we have several readings, a great cloud of liturgy, parts and pieces of mission statements from congregations all over our association that Martin's going to put up on the screen for us.
We could have the first one anytime because we're going to read one. If this is your church, you can actually read aloud or if you like it or know these folks.
"We are a religious community of open hearts and open minds working together to transform ourselves in the world," say the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo.
And then we have another. Who's here from Tucson? Whose mission is this? Make some noise. I know there's some of you here. And next.
"Living our faith through works that positively transform ourselves, our community, and our world," High Street Unitarian Universalist Church of Macon, Georgia. You're welcome.
And next. . "We have both the possibility and the responsibility to transform for the better both ourselves and our worlds." The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina.
"First church as a community of love beyond belief, transforming ourselves, Houston, and the world." First Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Texas.
"Our church inspires religious growth by enabling us as seekers to connect, to dialogue, and to transform ourselves, our community, and our world," say the folks from East Shore Unitarian Church.
"We are called to heal and transform ourselves and this world for more hope, more love, and more joy," River of Grass in Davy, Florida.
"We commit to transforming ourselves and the world around us through acts of compassion, love, and social justice," Wild Flower Church near Austin, Texas.
"We will undertake bold initiatives to transform ourselves and our community," First Unitarian Church of San Jose, California.
"Empowered by love, we transform ourselves and serve the world," the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene.
"Support each other as we pursue spiritual growth, and challenge ourselves to transform the world through acts of love and justice," the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Fairfax, Virginia.
"Committing to transforming ourselves in the world around us through acts of compassion love and justice," say the Oakridge Unitarian Universalists.
"We seek truth and work for justice, transform ourselves and our world," Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church in Walnut Creek, California. I hear you have 57 delegates or people here. Wow. A lot.
And so. One word was included in all those mission statements. What was it?
GINI COURTER: These missions speak of our desire for transformation, personal transformation, societal transformation. Actually all of the missions read in full that you saw contain two words, we transform.
And the mission statements we just saw are only a few of the many. All over the country Unitarian Universalists expect transformation. We long for transformation.
If you were changed by something you heard here at Justice GA, something you said, somewhere you stood or sat, compassion that was shown to you, graciousness extended, thanks given. If you were changed by something here, raise your hand or rise in body or spirit if you were changed at this Justice General Assembly.
So there is something new about you and new about us. And it's not as obvious as braces or contacts, but it is important. And we must survey our inner landscape. We're going to spend a minute in silence doing that.
If it will help you, take a minute now and pull out a pen so you can jot some notes on your program. I'm going to ask you a question that some of you are going to spend the next week or month or year contemplating.
But I'm going to give you one minute to grab the surface of that answer. We can't go deep in a minute but we can go. So here is your question. How have you been changed by being at Justice GA?
Now, it is time for personal witness. In a moment I'm going to ask you to turn to someone near you and listen attentively. Lean in while they speak of their transformation for up to two minutes. This is a witness and a gift.
If you need to lean your faces close to each other—we're going to create a buzz in this room. And don't try to over talk the folks next to you because it will make it really hard for everyone here. But two minutes.
And then you'll hear that same bell again. And I'd like you to trade while they listen to you. So first choose someone near you. Make that eye or hand contact that says you're my special witness today. Settle in. Two minutes please, Denise.
Thank you. Always remember that there's a benefit to all kinds of witness, right? You know, some folks have commented that they are heartened but surprised at the number of people at this Justice GA. And I have to tell you, I don't share that surprise because I always knew you would come.
And let me tell you why. Some of you, of course, are intimately familiar, perhaps too familiar, with the story of how we decided to hold a Justice General Assembly, how we Unitarian Universalists ever got so bold and edgy. But others of you are not. So I'm going to give you a Cliff's Notes version.
So first, the way we choose a General Assembly site is that staff from our General Assembly and conference services office—many of whom you saw on the stage earlier—and our General Assembly Planning Committee go out and look at various sites. And they narrow it down to one site for General Assembly that's out about four or five years.
This is big work that they do. They don't do this on paper. They actually do it by going to the site and meeting with folks and talking about what it would be like for us to be there. And then they make a singular recommendation to the board.
And the board votes on a site because that's the way you all have set it up in the bylaws. So the board says, yep. We're going to go to Phoenix.
And so we had already approved being here. And we had already signed contracts with hotels. And then SB 1070 was passed by the Arizona legislature. And a boycott was called. And we went, oh my gosh. This is not convenient.
And the board could have voted to General Assembly elsewhere. Your Board of Trustees could simply have said, let's not go to Arizona. And they thought about it because you have given them that authority. And then they could have gone anywhere else. It was like, where are we be going? Anywhere.
But instead, they voted to have a conversation at General Assembly, to include you the congregational delegates in the decision making process. And the board said, we're thinking boycott. And they put that on the agenda so we'd have something useful to debate because having people vote and debate on whether the board shouldn't change its mind is kind of a silly exercise.
In the meantime, you Unitarian Universalists here in Arizona were standing in solidarity with many of the partners you've met here this week. Unitarian Universalists from all over the country then came here in May of 2010 and again in July of 2010 to rise in solidarity with the groups protesting SB 1070 and other inhuman laws here in the state of Arizona.
Following those May protests when hundreds of Unitarian Universalists, clergy, and laity showed up to march in the streets with tens of thousands— probably 100,000 altogether—members of Puente and Somos Arizona and another partner groups. Following those protests, some of the partners invited us to consider holding a General Assembly here instead of boycotting it. But if and only if we could figure out a way to have that General Assembly be what they called a human rights convergence rather than our typical meeting.
How many of you were at General Assembly 2010 in Minneapolis and helped make that decision? Thank you. People have come up to me on the street and said, I came this year because you asked in plenary but do you intend to come? And I thought about it and said if I'm voting that way, I intend to come. So thank you for being faithful to the promises that you made.
But I've always been a little bit bothered by the term that this would be a GA with no business as usual because to be factual it was business that got us here. Business as usual. So there's a benefit to business as usual.
It allows you to vote and to do things and to say things. And make it clear that this is the body that changed this General Assembly to a Justice GA. This body and only this body had that power.
And there is a group called Gorilla Girls that has done radical posters and art—I think out of New York to begin with. Am I right about that? Like, for years and years women in the arts. And they ask compelling questions like, if International Women's Day is March 8, what do we call the other 364 days of the year? And in small print like, misogyny would work or something like that.
Which leads me to ask, if this year's GA was a Justice GA, what do we call the other 50? And more importantly, what will we call the—
AUDIENCE: Next 50.
GINI COURTER: This is the body that is charged to decide the direction for our association of congregations. One week a year you meet. 51 weeks of the year the folks who then stand in your place, who represent you, who sit at tables and sit in conferences and make decisions on your behalf is your UUA Board of Trustees. They're over here. Give some love to your UUA board.
And lots of folks sit around the board table—I want to be clear—there are lots of folks who love our congregations. There are lots of folks who take care of our congregations, who provide resources for our congregations. But the only folks who represent our congregations at that table is your UUA board. That's what the bylaws say. That's what they do. So they're here to listen very carefully to what you want and to participate with you in General Assembly.
But the question of what could we do next year and the next year and the next year? What will the future of General Assembly be? That is a question that only this body can answer. And we will do it by doing business as usual because that's our method for making those decisions.
But has it been good to be here? Have we made a difference? This isn't about taking pride. This is about having hope. This is about making our love manifest in the world.
This is not about leaving here and going to some Cafe Press online and getting the shirt with the chalice that says, been there, done that, got the shirt. If it doesn't exist, I bet it will in about 10 minutes.
No, it's not about that at all, and it's not about patting ourselves on the back. We came here with so many questions, real questions. Because while I knew you would come because you said that you would, we did have questions about can we be effective? Can we figure out how to do this? Can we put aside our privileges and work in humility with local partners and with folks in historically marginalized groups in the UUA on the accountability group? And I'll tell you, some of those questions we don't quite know all the answers yet.
There's been an unevenness to what we have done together. That's always true. But we are learning.
But here's the question that got answered. Revered Doctor Bill Jones said, once you are aware of historic oppression, once you are aware, from that point forward, you are either condoning it or you are ending it.
And our excuse used to be, we're not sure that we can make a difference. That was our excuse. I think the tech deck has a slide of this morning's news. What do we have? AP News Wire.
As of last night, 247 papers by midnight last night.
This is what our partners asked us to do to amplify their voices. This is not about taking pride. This is about making love manifest in the world. This is about having hope.
But the problem of course my friends is that now that we know we can do this, we have no excuse. If we're not part of the solution, we are part of the—
GINI COURTER: We know we have power. And we know we are called. Fortunately, this isn't new to us. There have been times historically that we have stood for women's reproductive rights in huge numbers. There have been times that our clergy have stood in huge numbers for civil rights when they want to Selma.
This is not new to us. But what is new is that we have expanded our understanding of who deserves our attention and who deserves justice. We have expanded our imagination of who we is. And once we do that, I don't think we can ever go back.
Those folks who came in 2010 to debate, there were some folks who weren't happy with the solution. But they are still here.
We had people participating with us online in debates who were boycotting the state of Arizona. And they're still here. And they're still Unitarian Universalists. We are one strong body.
For a long time though this body has not used the full power of who we are. We are capable of putting Unitarian Universalism on the road to a different future. That is our job, the job of our congregations, to answer questions like, are we going to be reactive or prophetic? Are we going to be a people fastly and easily mobilized or a people who are constantly seeking justice and don't need mobilization?
I am not surprised by us. And I am not surprised by our generosity. In the service of the Living Tradition you contributed $63,800 for our minister's funds. Yesterday, you gave $64,800 to support the ongoing work of the Arizona Immigration Ministry.
In this morning's service, $61,800 to our partners here in Arizona.
And we need not stop because you're going back to your congregations to tell folks about this and they're going to catch fire from you. And therefore we have a URL for you to write down. Could we have that URL on the screen for folks who want to give to Arizona Immigration Ministry or our partners?
Just write this down. That's all you need. And when you leave here, you can tell anybody you want. You want to be part of this? You want to help support?
When you tell the stories of what you heard in plenary here yesterday and people say, what can I do? Well, you can give money. And you can tell stories, and you can get involved. All of these things are things that we can do. All of these things.
And we can make sure that we name each other as holy. That we make sure that we never leave out of our conversation the larger we. We can make sure that when we talk about what we learned here that we talk about the we that is larger, that is the we of the human family, that is the one tribe as far as the eye can see.
Brothers, sisters, all. How was it to have children on our plenary stage yesterday? And to wonder about their future and our role in it?
Will we be a body surprised by our power or mature and willing to accept it and use it for good? These are big questions. And they are yours to answer as we go forward.
One more small thing. I've been approached by many of you to congratulate me on this my last year as moderator. I was planning to come next year.
And I am here because you chose me to serve you, to serve our faith, to serve on your behalf. But we have two folks at least running for moderator, who will be serving and who you will elect one of them to be in this role to be the next moderator starting next year. It may surprise some of you to learn that the moderator's job is more than just the General Assembly.
The moderator chairs the Board of Trustees and they represent our congregations and their concerns, including their hunger for justice all the rest of the year. And you trust me with unique powers. And like Wonder Woman I always try to use them for good.
And you've set up a system where you can and you should hear different things from the board and I than you might hear from the financial advisor or from the president because you've given us different tasks and different edges to attend. We don't always agree. And if we did, you should worry because our roles are designed to give us different perspectives so that we could best serve you. So it's a little complex.
But this job is a volunteer job. And so I need to tell you, I was dismayed by the very paltry attendance at the candidate's forum for moderator the other day. I would guess there were fewer than 200 people in the hall. And perhaps it's just inflated ego but I tend to believe that the chair of your board and your chief governance officer might be an important position.
And so now what I need you to do is if you weren't here, I need you to tell me that you will go back and you will watch that video of that candidate's forum so you can talk about it in your congregation when you get home. Will you do that for me please? And more importantly, will you do it for yourselves? Thank you.
All of the video is online at uua.org. You go to the UUA website and you go to General Assembly. And there's a piece that's says video. All of the plenaries are streamed. Worship this morning, you could watch it again, yeah. Ware Lecture, you could watch it again. Opening and closing, you can watch it again. It's all good.
You can go back to your congregation and set up a video feed in your congregation and show it during social hour. Oh, it starts to get exciting now. It's all good.
So it's been a good General Assembly. I'm going to try to go away before I do something to break that. But I want us to end—two call outs I have to do yet.
I want to acknowledge that it was personally important for me this last year to at least have enough Spanish under my belt that I felt I could reasonably greet guests and have good conversations with some of our partners. How many of you brushed up on your Spanish this year because there was a resolution passed to ask us to do that?
[SPEAKING SPANISH]. And so I want to thank the folks who taught me Spanish down at Solexico, which is in Playa del Carmen. Leon, Ricardo, Daniel, [? Israeli Rotice, ?] [? Chewy, ?] and [? Alicia Brikowsky ?], were the folks who made it easier for me to say [SPEAKING SPANISH]. We all need help. It takes a village for a moderator.
And I want to end with a benediction. We lost a great poet in our movement this last year. Very recently, the reverend Nancy Shaffer, who wrote one instruction manual for us, one meditation manual called Instructions and Joy. And many sermons that I have written were written having read her words.
Some of my favorite readings. This is an unpublished piece of hers called Benediction. In this faith community it is our custom to join hands at the close of each service as the benediction is offered. And so I invite you, as you are comfortable, to join hands.
This joining of hands tangibly, tacitly reminds us our hopes and our lives are not separate. They are one. We are to live an embodied faith, a relational faith. What our faith asks of us is simple and more than any of us can manage alone in one lifetime. And so we begin.
The work of our faith is the rearranging of this world towards justice so that bounty is shared and no one is left out. The work of our faith is the making manifest of relationship so that parts and whole are known as one and good is uncovered and sustained. The work of our faith is the naming of the holy by all its many names, life that cares, life that enlarges life, life that holds us even when we cannot see it, even when we do not yet know it.
Rearranging, making manifest, naming the holy, this is the work of our faith. And gladly we enter into it yet again and again and again. In the name of all that is holy together may we say, Amen.
Thank you so much. So are our partners here? Some? Yes? We're finding out. Well, we have our legal counsel and our parliamentarian back and we can thank them again.
Oh, and speaking of thanks. Wow. The folks who had the purple shirts on last night on the Witness Team and their leader Sandy Ryan? Sorry, Kathy Ryan.
Kathy Ryan and the witness team.
Excellent. It's a great day. And one more.
So the folks from the Arizona Immigration Ministries asked me to make sure that you also thank Carlos Garcia and Puente who guided and advised Kathy and Sandy and Susan Frederick Gray in the witness, as well as providing witness and logistical support last night. And you all felt how well organized that was. So let's thank the folks from Puente.
Excellent. So now we're ready to talk about responsive resolutions. And the first, because our partners asked us to make sure that you all knew about it and your congregations was actually placed in the agenda, which is an unusual and perhaps never to be repeated thing to do. But it was good.
How many of your congregations discussed the Doctrine of Discovery before you got here? That's good. OK. Thank you very much.
So I'm going to turn to the microphone labeled Pro for a motion from your first vice moderator.
SPEAKER 2: Move that responsive resolution to the report of the board on the Doctrine of Discovery as amended and found on the back of today's CSW alert be adopted by this assembly.
GINI COURTER: So it looks like this. Is that standing on the side of love gold again? I have to love that. So I'm going to turn to the Pro microphone for the statement from the board of Trustees from Natalie Averett.
NATALIE AVERETTE: It is time for us to join with others of faith, others working for justice, and others who may not be quote, unquote, "working for justice," who may just be living life, whose mere existence is a demand for justice. It is time for us to acknowledge that the disenfranchisement of indigenous people, the repression of the right to self determination of entire nations, that the notions of land ownership, of citizenship, of the right to occupy and the right to expel or deport, are rooted in cultural notions that perpetuate and our perpetuated by the legacy of the doctrine of discovery and the domestic and foreign policies that exist today.
This resolution compels us to acknowledge a wrong and to proactively contribute to righting it. The UN declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples notes that it does not intend to threaten the sovereignty of existing nation states. But it does seek to define and protect quote, "the minimum standards for survival, dignity, and well being of the indigenous peoples of the world," end quote.
It seems little to ask of us, of our faith movement, which we love because of its commitment to and respect for self determination, the right of conscience, the universality of love, and the power of a mutuality, aspiration, and accountability that transcends the limitations of our own wills and psyches. It seems little to ask us to speak and act with a clear and heartfelt conviction that the survival, dignity, and well being of our people, which is all people, matters enough to take one step to become the version of our self—
GINI COURTER: Thank you. I'm going to recognize the delegate at the Con microphone.
SPEAKER 3: Reverend Dr. Finley C. Campbell, delegate first Unitarian Society of Chicago and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Multiracial Unity Action Caucus. The present resolution asks to divert our attention from last year's vote focusing on current racist immigrant policies for the 2012 General Assembly. At the plenary session in Charlotte, North Carolina it was decided to purposely waive all actions of immediate witness and business as usual in order to focus on anti-immigrant racism.
Yet, we are now presented with a very different point of order that ignores the reality of wrenching family separation, murderous job conditions, and increasing deaths in the desert. At the same time this approach to current acts of racism, particularly the systematic killing of black youth, diverts us from any practical application to the struggles at hand. The background supporting statement perpetuates the ideology of blaming white workers, youth and young adults, professionals, and others for the European monarchist onslaught against indigenous peoples of the New World.
This segregates UUA members by divisive phrases including, white privilege, dominant culture, and white Christians. This rhetoric must end if we are to move forward as a united association in the cause of racial and cultural equality. For most of us neither the resolution nor its background statement is fully known.
Every congregation should receive a full copy of the resolution along with a scholarly analysis of this doctrine of discovery and be granted a full year careful evaluation—
GINI COURTER: Thank you. I recognize the delegate at the Pro microphone.
CLYDE GRUBBS: Hello. I'm Clyde Grubbs. You have elected me an at large member of the Board of Trustees, but I rise to speak for DRUMM, the Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries. And as a member of DRUMM, I urge you to support this responsive resolution.
I know many of you have heard that the truth will make you free. And I would like to talk about two examples of where people learning about the Doctrine of Discovery have been empowered by this knowledge. First, this morning I had the privilege talking to members of the Youth Caucus at the world cafe. And several of the young people shared with me how learning about the Doctrine of Discovery was empowering, helping them to have a better understanding of their history and their country and help them have a justice seeking vision because knowing how our country was constituted does empower one for a lifetime of justice making.
Second, just a little later I had the privilege of being invited to a discussion with members of the committee for the Defense of the Barrio, right here from Phoenix. And they said, as indigenous people, as indigenous people of this continent, that they had not known the story of the Doctrine of Discovery. And when they learned that story, they knew how they could build solidarity. And they were more determined and more courageous because they understood their history and how they got to be that, they no longer saw themselves as victims but rather as empowered people.
As Unitarian Universalists, as justice makers, we unite with our partners to know the truth and to share this truth.
GINI COURTER: Thank you. I recognize the delegate at the Con microphone.
RICK RHODES: Hi, I'm Rick Rhodes from the Unitarian Universalist church of Santa Monica, California. The report from the board that's printed in the program ends with this sentence, "the board feels that this is an issue that our congregations will need to study and discuss prior to General Assembly. So we're taking the unusual step of submitting it to you in advance for this consideration."
I have to report that I was negligent in diligently following what was going on the website about the GA. And I did not know about this until about 10 days before the GA. Unfortunately, I was not alone in this.
Nobody in our congregation spoke of it. On April 27 and 28, I attended our district assembly at the first UUA church in LA. There was no workshop on it, no speech about it, and no discussion about it.
From what I've seen here, yesterday there was a second meeting that was devoted to this in this gigantic room with what looked like 1,000 people. People were asked, did you know about this? Have you've spoken about? And about five hands went up.
And we just saw that very few congregations, compared to the number in here, have discussed it. So I don't think we want to disappoint our partner organizations. But on the other hand, I don't think they want us to kind of blindly go into this without it having been discussed by the great majority of our members. So I would think it would be proper to have this discussion over the coming year and table this for now. Thank you.
GINI COURTER: I recognize the delegate at the procedural microphone.
SUSAN FREDERICK GRAY: Hello, Madame moderator it's Reverend Susan Frederick Gray of the UU congregation of Phoenix. I had a question of clarification for the delegate speaking at the Con mic. I understood him to say that he was at the Pacific Southwest district assembly at the end of April and there was no discussion of this. And I was at the business meeting of that district because that is our district. And we took a vote to support this motion at our district assembly.
GINI COURTER: So it sounds like some other folks remember that too in the hall. Thank you. You know, it's hard. We do business here and we mail out the tentative agenda. And I think that folks try in their congregations. But this is a place that we need to redouble our efforts. Does that make sense? OK. We'll just redouble our efforts.
I recognize the delegation at the Pro microphone.
RIHANNA JOHNSON LEVY: My name is Rianna Johnson-Levy and I'm from the First Unitarian Universalist congregation of Ann Arbor. I speak now representing the Youth Caucus, which has reached consensus in support of the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery. We as Unitarian Universalists were called upon by partner organizations to take a stand on this issue. And we as UUs and youth have heard them.
We emphasize that it is an honor for us to be given an opportunity to show our support and to stand on the side of love. We hope that our actions on this issue can establish us further as allies to those who ask for our partnership. Additionally, we heard in worship today the words of Martin Luther King Junior, which spoke to how laws cannot legislate and change the heart. But now our hearts have changed and it is time to stop legislating historic hate.
We encourage you now as people of faith to act with and for people oppressed by a doctrine that dehumanizes them based on their own faith. Thank you.
GINI COURTER: I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone.
PEGGY RHODES: My name is Peggy Rhodes. I'm from the Santa Monica Unitarian Community Church of Santa Monica, California. The Doctrine of Discovery is a— OK. I would like to make a motion to table this until next year based on the fact that I think that the resolution does not include our history of anti-racist struggle. Thank you.
GINI COURTER: OK. That would not actually be a motion to table. Let's have our parliamentarian come and explain what motion—or you can do it from there, right? Not yet.
SPEAKER 4: OK. Technically it should be a motion to postpone indefinitely because a motion to table has to be brought back up in the same meeting. So a motion to postpone indefinitely can be made. It is debatable and it carries by a majority vote.
PEGGY RHODES: So I don't understand—
GINI COURTER: Back to the Procedural microphone please. Follow up question?
PEGGY RHODES: OK. So I don't understand what the difference is between tabling. Where do I make a motion to table for a year?
GINI COURTER: There is no such thing because to table means it has to come back up in this meeting. And there's no possibility. Would you like to come talk with—
PEGGY RHODES: No. That's fine. I understand now. Thanks.
GINI COURTER: I'd like to recognize the delegate at the Con microphone.
MR. RALPH: Yes, Madame moderator, I'm deForest Ralph, member of Emerson Unitarian Church. I've been a Unitarian for over 60 years and a member of this church for more than 50 years. And this is about my eighth General Assembly in the last 14 years.
I'm opposed to this resolution and urge that it be rejected. I have a couple of grounds although there are probably a lot more. One is on procedural and governance grounds and the other is on the deviation from the original purpose of this GA. And I think it has taken us off of our target.
First, from a procedural governance grounds this is being handled more or less as an action of immediate witness in terms of procedure although we voted not to have any AIWs at this GA so that we could focus on immigration issues. It is not even been going through the normal AIV vetting process that we would normally have in a General Assembly. To my knowledge the video presentation on the doctrine has not been shown here at General Assembly.
And any information about its being put up for a vote on this did not get to our congregation. Now, that may be a fault in our congregation and I'll look into it. I am the chair of the Denomination Relations Committee and should have been informed so we can get our congregation involved.
Also this GA was supposed to focus on immigration issues, the impact of current laws and enforcement agencies, and things of that nature. And we have done some of it. But I thought that we might be getting into positive suggestions that we could make as a religious organization relative to new attitude and a new appraisal of approach and new legislation. The immigration problem is very serious in this country and we need to do something about it.
GINI COURTER: Thank you, sir. It was heard because we didn't have the timer running for a minute and we were trying to get it back. Thank you. I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone.
PEGGY RHODES: Reintroduce myself. I'm here to request that we postpone this discussion indefinitely.
SPEAKER 5: Second the motion.
GINI COURTER: OK. So we have a motion and a second to postpone indefinitely. So I don't want us to get confused here. If you're waiting to speak Pro or Con to the current resolution that is in front of us, just take the line and let's back it up or move it to the side so that I can see if anyone would like to speak in favor of postponing or if anyone would like to speak against postponing. I recognize the delegate at the Pro microphone.
JEAN DESHAVO: Hello moderator, I am Jeanne DeShazo from Bethesda, Maryland, River Road Unitarian Universalist congregation. I didn't expect to be up here. But I believe that this resolution as changed by the mini assembly asked quite a bit of congregations.
And in terms of very specific actions, not bad actions, good actions. But the congregations haven't had a chance to consider this. It seems like asking this much requires more of a foundation than we have built thus far. Thank you.
SCOTT MICHAEL: Hello, Madame Moderator, this is Reverend Scott Sammler-Michael from the Accotink Unitarian Universalist church in Burke, Virginia. I just would love to have you—for my benefit—to clarify exactly what a responsive resolution is and perhaps contrast that with the action of immediate witness. I do believe there's some confusion in the hall over that.
GINI COURTER: I actually understand the confusion and appreciate the opportunity. At last year's General Assembly, the determination was made not to allow actions of immediate witness at this assembly. And one of the distinctions between a responsive resolution and an action of immediate witness—there are several.
One is that a responsive resolution has to be in response to a report of an officer or a committee of the Association or the board. The second is that anything that was submitted as an action of immediate witness cannot be submitted as a responsive resolution later. And so that's not an issue this year because there are no actions of immediate witness. So it sort of falls to the first definition, which is a responsive resolution is in response to a report.
I recognize the delegate—remembering that we're talking now about postponing indefinitely—I recognize the delegate at the Con microphone.
SARAH STEWART: Thank you. I am Reverend Sarah Stewart. I serve Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Plymouth, New Hampshire, and I am the trustee from Northern New England on the Board of Trustees. This responsive resolution calls on us in our congregations to educate ourselves about the Doctrine of Discovery. I hear the wish to delay so that we can do this education. But the resolution calls on us to do that very education.
We have been asked by the partner organizations we are working with at this GA to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. And this responsive resolution was the way that we could do that. We are leaders of our congregations. Every single person in your congregation may not have told you what they think about this. I want you to consider what you know of their hearts and minds. Think about your role here as a leader, and take this up now at this Justice General Assembly.
GINI COURTER: I recognize the delegate at the PRO microphone.
CARL WOLF: My name is Carl Wolf. I am a member of the First Unitarian Church in Hobart, Indiana. And I call upon our fourth principle, a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and our fifth principle, the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large, in support of the resolution to postpone indefinitely.
As a representative of my congregation and of the Faith In Action committee, I need to go back to my congregation to discuss this with them openly and honestly so that I may come back at another time to bring forth their ideas and their wishes. I do not assume anything of their wishes, only through discussion with them. And for that reason I am in support of the motion to postpone indefinitely.
MATTHEW JOHNSON DOYL: I'm Matthew Johnson Doyle, the senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist church in Rockford, Illinois. And our congregation was educated about this. Our denominational affairs chair read about it, wrote columns in our newsletter about it. We voted on it at our annual congregational meeting, as I know did many other congregations.
And our vote was unanimous to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. It seems to me that if you aren't ready, you can abstain. But I think that our partners have asked us to do it this year. Most congregations that I know of had a chance to discuss it either formally or informally in their congregation, and that we should vote.
GINI COURTER: Thank you. I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone.
KIM NOBS EVANS: Madam Moderator, my name is Kim Knobbs Evans. I'm from the Unitarian Universalist church of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Madam Moderator I ask that we call the question, request that we call the question.
GINI COURTER: This motion is not debatable. So we are voting on ending debate on whether we should postpone indefinitely. And I'm pausing here because it takes a minute to let our offline delegates participate. And I've been being too quick for them today. So we're going to vote on ending debate on whether we should postpone indefinitely.
So if you believe you have heard enough to immediately then vote on that motion you would say you want to end debate. All those in favor of ending debate on postponing indefinitely, please raise your voting cards. If you're offline, there is a cloud of voting cards here. Thank you. Lower them. All those opposed. Thank you. The motion clearly carries. We will now—[SPEAKING SPANISH].
We will now then vote on the motion to postpone indefinitely. And the vote limit for this is simple majority. All those who wish to postpone indefinitely raise your voting card. All those opposed? Thank you. We will not be postponing.
Let's have a moment to reset the folks at the Pro and Con microphones. I recognize the delegation at the Pro microphone.
SAGE OLNICK: Thank you. My name is Sage Olnick, member of the Unitarian Universalist church of Lancaster and also a member of the Young Adult Caucus. Members of the 2012 Young Adult Caucus support the resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, with only some unsure on the issue and no one opposed based on a caucus draw pool. We lament the great pains and sorrow suffered as a result of the application of these religious and political decrees over hundreds of years permeating all that we hold sacred. We acknowledge our direct and indirect historical connection, further expanding our responsibility to respond.
The Doctrine of Discovery is an inheritance. We are answering the call to recognize and understand. No longer will ignorance of the Doctrine of Discovery continue. It ends with us.
We offer gratitude and thanks to those who brought it to our attention. We ask for their continued wisdom and guidance and seek to enter into relationships of mutual solidarity with them as we move forward. Our generation accepts the invitation to begin the path towards right relationships with all creatures and living systems of Mother Earth. By passing this resolution we are embracing the opportunity to move towards systems of governance not based on domination and subjugation, but based on the values of compassion, sustainability, collaboration, and inclusion. Thank you.
GINI COURTER: Amendments now being in order, I recognize the delegate at the Amendment microphone.
MICHAEL GREENMAN: Madam Moderator, my name is Michael Greenman with the First Unitarian Universalist church of Columbus, Ohio. I'm delighted with this resolution. And it states that the UUA should make a clear and concise statement repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and encourage other religious bodies to reject the use of that Doctrine of Discovery.
This is good, but it is not action. It is speech. It can be ignored. I would like to ask our leadership to follow statements with action. And therefore I proposed during the mini assembly the unincorporated amendment you see on the yellow page, which states in addition to what is presently there that beyond just asking other religious bodies to reject use of the Doctine of Discovery, we will ask the UUA to collaborate with these groups to propose a specific congressional resolution to repudiate this doctrine.
GINI COURTER: Thank you. Is there a second? OK. Does the delegate at the Con microphone wish to speak against—no. OK. The vote on this amendment was very close in the mini assembly. And that's why it was unincorporated, I believe. Does anyone wish to speak in favor of this? You want to vote on this. All right.
So we're talking about adding unincorporated amendment one. Could we put it back up on the screen again please? This is unincorporated amendment one at line 714. And we're voting on whether to add this or not. All those in favor, raise your voting cards. Thank you. All those opposed. That clearly passes. Thank you.
I recognize the speaker at the Con microphone speaking on the amended motion.
MARY ELLEN GONZALES: Thank you very much. I am Mary Ellen Gonzales from the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Santa Fe, New Mexico. And although I fully agree that the doctrine of discovery needs to be repudiated, I am not going to vote for this resolution because I find it confusing. And I find it confusing about what's happened here at this GA.
Now, I was there last night yelling as loudly as anyone, [SPEAKING SPANISH]. But we are now getting ready to vote for a resolution which calls upon our country to fully implement the declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples without qualification. That includes the right to fully determine their political status, autonomy, or self government in matters relating to their internal affairs, not to be forced to assimilation, et cetera. I suggest you look it up.
And yet by virtue of voting for this resolution we are actually voting to deny these very same rights of self determination and governance to the people of Maricopa County. For decades they have voted for Joe Arpaio. That he will build and use a Tent City is a surprise to no one. They knew this and yet they vote for him time after time, which I don't understand.
But I also wonder, do they not have the right to their own self determination? Where does that right end? This resolution does not address this issue. And so I cannot in conscience support it. Can you?
GINI COURTER: Thank you. Before we go to the Procedural microphone, a piece of information. I asked the General Assembly Planning Committee about when and how notification was given about the entire agenda including the Doctrine of Discovery. And the answer to that—so that when you go back, you can look next year—is that on March 1 there's a packet sent to congregations. And there's actually a full sized sheet in there that says, you can now get the tentative agenda. This is where you go get it. And just go to the website and you get the tentative agenda.
We used to send out copies on paper and this body has passed resolutions in the past that have said killing trees and shipping them around the country is a poor way for us to support the environment. So instead now we send you a URL and ask you to download them yourselves. That was sent out to congregations March 1. And it did include the entire text of the doctrine of discovery.
I now call on the delegate at the Pro microphone.
JAN TADDEO: I am the Reverend Jan Taddeo, serving our Unitarian Universalist congregation of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, Georgia and serving on the Steering Committee for the Unitarian Universalist Allies for Racial Equity. The Steering Committee of UUARE, an organization in an accountable relationship with diverse and revolutionary Unitarian Universalist multicultural ministries, has voted unanimously to endorse the responsive resolution. We invite ARE members and friends and all of our delegates to join us in voting yes.
This responsive resolution calls us to be responsive. The work this resolution calls us to do will stretch us, especially those of us who identify as white and of European descent. This resolution challenges us to examine our historic complicity in the colonization of the land on which we live, work, play, and pray.
This resolution invites us to enter into a process of deep self awareness that will make us uncomfortable as we strive to be in accountable relationship with the indigenous people of this land. The work we do in response to this resolution will make us stronger, more compassionate, and more effective in our commitment to creating a more just and loving world.
The Allies for Racial Equity stand with members of DRUMM in supporting this resolution. We stand with our partners in immigrant justice who asked us to stand with them to repudiate the doctrine of discovery. We stand on the side of love. And we ask you to stand with us.
JENNY PEEK: I'm Jenny Peek from First Unitarian Church of Hobart, Indiana. And I guess I'm confused why this is a resolution. And I think I could get an answer. Who here—not the resolution, but the doctrine of discovery—who here is opposed to it? All of us.
We all would want to repudiate the doctrine of discovery. And yet—
GINI COURTER: Thank you.
JENNY PEEK: OK.
GINI COURTER: No, I'm sorry. Hang on.
JENNY PEEK: OK, Explain.
GINI COURTER: There's actually a solution to this. And it wouldn't be what we just did. What would be the solution here? Someone would come to the microphone and ask to extend time. And then we would vote on that because we're a democracy. And they would give a specific number of minutes that you might like. I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone. Yes sir?
MR. KELSEY: I had the same thought Madame Moderator. My name is Ward Kelsey. I'm a representative from First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh. I would move that we extend the time for this debate for 10 more minutes. Does that seem sensible?
GINI COURTER: We'll ask. Is there a second?
GINI COURTER: All those in favor of extending debate 10 minutes, please raise your voting cards. Thank you. All those opposed. Isn't it nice how well that worked? Thank you, sir. Let's set the clock for 10 more minutes and then we'll go back to you and just back up a half sentence. How's the clock doing? Perfect. Go.
JENNY PEEK: Hello. Way to test the nerves of a first time GA person. Thank you. Thank you. I'm like, what did I do? What did I do? OK, thank you. I guess as a UU and an activist when people say, call to action now, I'm there. I want to be there and I know everyone in this room feels the same way. And yet also as a UU and a critical thinker, there are times when I have to stop and think, OK, what's the urgency here? And I'm sorry. With this resolution I am being asked in the urgency of the moment, we need to do this now as an entire association, and I am not understanding it. I think we need to slow down, be critical, examine the background supportive documentation that helped the resolution be created in the first place. Thank you.
TRACY HARRIS: Madame Moderator, Tracy Robinson Harris, interim minister of the First UU society in Middle Burrow Mass and a member of the Allies for Racial Equity Steering Committee. In an open letter to all Unitarian Universalist congregations that is posted on uua.org Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, has written about the 500 years of history of the doctrine of discovering. In his letter he states, "this is a pivotal time in the saga of human history. The human species comes in all sizes, shapes, and varieties of color. All living creatures of the earth including us the human species are bounded by the universal laws of nature. These laws will prevail over and beyond the laws created by men. I speak of the laws that challenge the balance of nature's law to serve the interests of one species of humanity against another and against the principles of equity and peace."
The doctrine of discovery continues into the 21st century and is an active legal principle recognized by the Supreme Court most recently in 2005 in the case of the city of Sherrill versus the Oneida Indian nation, a dispute involving taxation of ancestral lands. The court relied on the doctrine of discovery and in a footnote says, "under the doctrine of discovery fee title to lands occupied by Indians when colonists arrived became vested in the sovereign, first the discovering European nation, later the original state, and then the United States.
500 years is enough. Our partners have asked us to act. We need to repudiate a doctrine that treats people this way.
GINI COURTER: I recognize the delegate at the Con microphone.
PEGGY RHODES: Peggy Rhodes from Santa Monica Community Universalist Church. This is what I intended to say when I was at Procedural microphone and made a mistake. The doctrine of discovery is a vicious, racist document intended to legitimize the theft of wealth and land from indigenous peoples in the Americas. It must be repudiated, I agree.
This resolution, however, contains some emissions that severely weaken its impact. Particularly, it omits the historical efforts of European settlers, African Americans, and native peoples to resist the barbarous effects of the doctrine of discovery. As an example, it omits the combined efforts of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and John Brown and their group to take on the state, the US government, to end chattel slavery.
In addition, it omits the efforts of our common ancestors such as my great grandmother, a member of the Wyandot Nation of Southern Ohio, and my great grandfather, a German settler, to build their family in a community of anti-racism. Within UU there are many examples of anti-racist struggle in action, some of which we saw last night and which continue. That is why I am against this resolution and believe that it should be reviewed as the prior Con speaker said. Thank you.
Madame Moderator, I'm Reverend Bill Gardiner from Arlington, Massachusetts. I'm standing in support of this resolution today because I see it as a tremendous opportunity for us to explore our own Unitarian Universalist history with regard to these issues. You know, there are many wonderful things that we have inherited from our Puritan and pilgrim ancestors who originally started our congregations in the New England area, congregational [INAUDIBLE], educated ministry, et cetera.
There's also a legacy of white supremacy and white power that we inherited from our ancestors. And this is going to give us an opportunity to really explore the power of that history. There was this incredible war that took place between our Puritan ancestors and the Wampanoag people. It's called King Phillip's war.
And the outcome of that war, the theologians talked about the city on a hill and promised land and being chosen people and refer to our Native American brothers and sisters a savages and heathens and followers of the devil, and setting up this hierarchy of supremacy and inferiority. And reinforcing it and justifying it with our religious faith. And this theme, this essential theme, has run through our history and continues today.
And I believe that if we are to heal ourselves as a Unitarian Universalist faith and move forward, as John Criswell said in terms of our whiteness and white identity, we need to go into this history. We need to transform this history. And we need to heal ourselves from that past and create a new vision for the future. And I think exploring this piece is really going to give us an opportunity to do that. Thank you.
GINI COURTER: Thank you. The delegate at the Con microphone who's already spoken against this motion from the microphone and sort of from the chair in the front row too, I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone. No? We're good. All right. Perfect. I have no one at the Con microphone. And therefore, you are ready to vote.
I want to note to the two delegates in the off site queue that at the time that you entered the queue, there are six people who would have spoken in front of where you are in the line. So when Sally Jane Gellert's name went up, there were six more people. And Jesse, three more joined the queue before that. So thank you for being in the queue. We had people waiting to speak. Had we gotten to you, we would have been happy to hear from you.
Ready? Voting cards. So we are voting on the motion, the responsive resolution as amended because we incorporated the First Amendment at line 705. Are we ready for off site voting? OK, ready. All those in favor, please raise your voting cards. Thank you. All those opposed. This clearly carries. Thank you.
Wild celebration breaks out in the hall. So in the last few days we've had one other responsive resolution that was brought to the attention of legal counsel. If there's anyone else who believes they're making a responsive resolution, they should go see the parliamentarian right away. I have one point of privilege that I'm going to take before I take the responsive resolution. I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone.
LARUEN EAGLE: Thank you Madame Moderator. I'm [? Lauren Eagle ?], delegate from First UU Church of Houston. And I arise to ask, as a point a privilege, if you will hear a request to send greetings from this assembly to the over 200 UU women who will gather at the second international convocation of UU women in [? Maraavasha ?], Romania October 4 to 7 this year. There are only a few spaces remaining. So far we have 150 women from Transylvania and 70 women from other countries around the world.
GINI COURTER: Excellent. So if we wanted to send them greetings we would all at the same time make noise to send greetings. And I'd ask the cameras to sweep the hall as we send greetings. Ready? Go. Let's greet.
I recognize the delegate at the Pro microphone.
MICHAEL GREENMAN: Madame Moderator, I am still Michael Greenman of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus. But I'm also congregational representative and former board member of the Unitarian Universalists for Just Economic Community. We would like to introduce to this assembly a resolution in response to the board's report on the doctrine of discovery. We believe this resolution, titled Responsive Resolution on Trans-border Workers, will significantly build on the momentous action we have just completed.
GINI COURTER: And could you say a little bit more. Would people have a copy of this, for example, that was given to them?
MICHAEL GREENMAN: We have a copy to be brought up on the screen. And I have a two minute introduction if this is the appropriate time to do that.
GINI COURTER: Is there a second?
GINI COURTER: OK. Let's set the clock for two minutes on the speaker. Go ahead.
MICHAEL GREENMAN: Thank you. We strongly applaud your action to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. You. This is a start. But it won't change the laws. It won't suddenly change the thinking of the people who consider migrants searching for a decent life to be a illegal and other.
This Justice Assembly has given us incredible tools for change. But we haven't asked the UUA to actively seek systemic change in the national arena. They work with others to ask Congress to make that change. But today, as you know, our political system is paralyzed and is unable to agree on any substantial reform. So the [? UUJUC ?] proposes that you instruct our association to begin to build a National Coalition of change agents from within the faith and activist communities to educate on the realities of the issues.
Working together at national grassroots levels and over multiple years, we can develop a framework of laws and regulations that reflect principles that members of the coalition will accept. Together, we can then take these to Washington representing many millions, insisting they be implemented. There are potential starting points in the excellent work done by the Dignity Campaign, the AFSC, and the Interface Immigration Coalition.
We are not experts in immigration. Others are. We have no agenda. We are motivated individuals horrified by the injustices we see in the system and the hate that being generated by those who fear the other. Our UU principles drive us to seek relief of pain and freedom from injustice. We ask you, therefore, the governing body of our denomination, to move an approve the responsive resolution we have submitted titled, Responsive Resolution on Trans-border Workers.
It asks the UUA to commit to active involvement in a process to achieve justice for all parties. Thus, may we begin to move towards correction of the wrongs and restoration of the rights—
GINI COURTER: Thank you, Michael. Hang around for a second. I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone.
JAN CARLSON: Madam Moderator. I'm Reverend Jan Carlsson-Bull, interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist congregation of the Catskills in Kingston, York. I have two questions of clarification both regarding the last two paragraphs of the responsive resolution. And in the spirit of this entire General Assembly, shouldn't inter-denominational be inter-faith? And shouldn't active UU churches in point three be active UU congregations?
GINI COURTER: OK. That's possible. I can't do that from here. You could or you could—yeah. That would be the best thing. How many of you have a copy of this sitting around near you? I'm feeling better about that.
Who needs one? Who doesn't have one that they can see? If you can see one near you, just go read on with a neighbor. Share them around. Can we do that rather than slow things up a ton?
We can only do it paragraph by paragraph by paragraph. This is really long. I would put it on the screen but whatever parts, there's only going to be a sixth of it. So if you need one, raise your hand and somebody who's your neighbor give one.
If you've got two or you're done reading it, hand it over. Tellers help facilitate this paper exchange, please. Actually, hold up your voting card because it's more visible. And if you've got one and you've read it, give it to somebody else for a minute to read. And Michael's got a few more. Are we good? OK.
I'm going to turn now to the Amendment microphone where there's a delegate who looks amazingly like the delegate we just saw at the Procedural microphone.
JAN CARCIBLE: I'm her identical twin.
GINI COURTER: Oh, OK. And who are you?
JAN CARCIBLE: I'm Reverend Jan Carlsson-Bull, still interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist congregation of the Catskills in Kingston, New York. Madam Moderator, I would propose an amendment, which may be received as a friendly amendment, I don't know, for items three and four toward the end of the responsive resolution. In item three, that UU churches be changed to UU congregations. In item four, that inter-denominational be changed to inter-faith.
GINI COURTER: OK. Is there a second?
GINI COURTER: Thank you. So we have a second. I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone.
SPEAKER 5: Charlie Neiss, First Unitarian Society of Plainfield. Oh. Never mind. I was suggesting that he project the actual resolved clause, not the whereas. It looks like it's up there.
GINI COURTER: It's almost like a revelation. It's kind of a cool thing. I recognize the delegate at the Procedural microphone.
SPEAKER 6: Madame Moderator, I'm [INAUDIBLE] serving our Unitarian Universalist congregation in Clearwater, Florida. I had a question regarding some of the things outlined in the resolution and wondered about what kind of an impact this would have on our staff, staff time and resources that may need to be allocated in order to make this resolution work.
GINI COURTER: Well, when it's a question for the administration I would normally turn to the president or the executive vice president. And there may be no answer. But I see Kay Montgomery approaching the Procedural microphone to try to give us an answer.
KAY MONTGOMERY: Yes, indeed it would have significant impact on the staff's work. And as an aside I would say that when people are creating responsive resolutions that have that, sometimes we can work that through ahead of time. But for instance, I got this approximately five seconds ago.
GINI COURTER: That was a great answer for a five second head start. We have a competent and nimble staff at our Unitarian Universalist Association. Thank you.
So we're in the middle of an amendment to amend paragraphs three and four on the back. I'm going to recognize the Pro speaker. Oh, yes there is. OK. I need to recognize Sally Jane Gellert at the Procedural microphone off site. Thank you.
SALLY JANE GELLERT: Hi. Sally Jane Gellert, Central Unitarian Church, Paramus, New Jersey. My first question was just answered. Our great tech guy Larry gave us a copy so we could see it, yay. But I'm wondering if there is time to table or postpone indefinitely because that was pretty deep for a ten second reading. Your advice, please?
GINI COURTER: Thank you, Sally Jane. My apologies. I actually have some hearing impairment and I don't have captioning up here so I needed to go read the screen to hear her. Thank you for your patience with me.
SALLY JANE GELLERT: [INAUDIBLE]
GINI COURTER: Thanks Sally Jane. Is there a second to the motion to postpone indefinitely?
GINI COURTER: OK. Do we want to debate postponing indefinitely? All right. All those in favor of postponing indefinitely, raise your voting cards. Thank you. All those opposed. We just postponed this indefinitely. Thank you very much.
Are there any other responsive resolution? Wow. Excellent. Want to show me the off site vote? I hear you have it. It just went away.
There was a sign that said we have graphics and I got all excited. I didn't even know what they were. Perfect.
We are coming to a close so hang around because we're going to get done early. And since I know you planed to be here until 6 o'clock, I'll try to disappoint you. I really am going to try to disappoint you.
GINI COURTER: All right, so since the work for justice is never final, the work for justice is never done, we can't really have what we would call a final report from our Right Relations team. But if they are in the hall, and I think they are, we can have the last report that they will present at this General Assembly. So this is the rap up of all issues that have been waiting in our community. Please welcome, show great affection from your heart, to this year's General Assembly Right Relations team.
SPEAKER 7: Thank you very much. We appreciate that appreciation and many of you have approached us individually to thank us for doing the work of right relationship. We are so grateful. And we specifically want to acknowledge— Tomoko and I want to acknowledge our appreciation for these amazing people.
Like so many other roles and so many other jobs that people have been doing here, this is hard work. And we told you at the beginning of the week that some in our community would be marginalized here at this General Assembly because of their race, ethnicity, age, ability, gender, gender expression, language and a whole host of other reasons. And indeed, all of that has come to pass.
We've given you a few examples in the past couple of days. And we want to give you a few more to take home with you to reflect on. More than one person of color attending our General Assembly has been assumed this week to be hotel or convention center staff and treated rudely in those interactions. More than one.
Several people using scooters and wheelchairs have been blocked, cut off, stopped, stumbled upon, and otherwise made to feel marginalized in a variety of ways. Youth have been regarded at times with hyper visibility and at other moments as invisible. Gender, queer, and trans people have been made to feel excluded outside the circle of our embrace. And there's more.
We have filled up several pages of several notebooks with the concerns that you have brought to us this week. And we want you to know that that doesn't stop here. Tomoko and I will be writing a report detailing everything that you've shared with us. And we will be sharing that with planners of next year's General Assembly so that we can continue to try to learn from these moments of pain amongst us.
TAMOKO: At moments for us has felt completely overwhelming. How is it possible, we have asked ourselves, that such loving, peaceful, justice seeking people can behave in such oppressive ways? And then we can take a breath and remind ourselves that the reason it is possible is because we have all been socialized into a paradigm of inclusion and exclusion. Insider and outsider in which some people are privileged and others are marginalized.
In our hearts and minds we oppose this paradigm. That is not how we want to be with each other. Our challenge is to learn to understand the paradigm in which we live, to learn the skills it takes to de-colonize our hearts and minds, and to practice and dismantling the system of oppression in which we live. This is the work of right relationship. It is time now to bring it home.
We want to remind you that the work of right relationship needs to be done by everyone present. At General Assembly we are here to assist and perhaps guide you in doing the work, not to do the work for you. Some of you have approached us in asking how to start a team in your own congregations. When each of us get home, it is time to bring this work home with us. We encourage you to speak with your lay leaders, ministers, and/or district executives for resources if you'd like to learn more.
Right relationship is hard work. It is long work. It is work that is filled with mistakes and causing pain to each other. It is work that needs to be within oneself and in community. It is work that needs to be anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multicultural lens.
It is work of love, compassion, and humanity. It is work filled with joy and justice. This work needs to be included in all the Justice work we do. Thank you.
GINI COURTER: I think we're going to have a GA again next here. How many of you are going to come? Perfect. Perfect. How many of you would love it to be a GA that had some focus on justice again? Hard to go back. Please welcome Jill Sampson who's going to tell us about next year's General Assembly site. Jill Sampson.
JILL SAMPSON: Hi, good afternoon. I'm from Louisville, Kentucky and I'm honored to be next year's district coordinator for General Assembly. The heartland district is looking forward to hosting GA 2013 in Louisville and we invite you to join us. The heartland district represents 56 member Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, with over 7,400 member UUs.
As part of the MidAmerican Region, the heartland district is in partnership with the central Midwest and prairie star districts. Currently home to three UU congregations, Louisville has a rich history of Unitarian Universalism with one of the oldest congregations West of the Appalachian Mountains. First Unitarian was founded in 1830. Just 10 years later, First Universalist of Louisville was founded. And those two churches got a job on the UUA and merged in 1870. We've been UUs every sense. And we're proud to claim a long line of ministers including James Freeman Clarke and John Healy Heywood.
Did you know that you can drive from nearly anywhere east of the Mississippi and get to Louisville in one day? With all that time you'll save, you'll be able to visit the Muhammad Ali Museum, Thomas Edison's house, the African American museum in the historic Russell district, or maybe the Louisville slugger back factory. A quick ride will get you to historic Churchill Downs Racetrack or one of many city parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Plan to weave your way along the beautiful Ohio River, hike in Bernheim Forest, or stroll through neighborhoods of shotgun houses. Louisville is known as possibility city. Our city was declared a compassionate city in 2012 for its community commitment to living out the golden rule. Pursuing his goal of making Louisville and even more compassionate city, Mayor Fisher has signed a resolution adopting international charter for compassion, making Louisville the largest city in America to take this action.
So who should come to Louisville's GA? Everyone. This is an opportunity for UUs around the country to gather in ways to support our UU principles and worship, witness, learn and work together. This is an opportunity for everyone to grow and experience Unitarian Universalism in ways that we only do when we're together in one large body. And don't forget, we'll have some fun.
So once again, I invite you to come to Louisville June 19 through 23, 2013.
I can't promise you that it will be as hot as Phoenix. But I can assure you of a very warm welcome in the Bluegrass state and look forward to the possibility of continuing the work we started here in Phoenix together. Thank you.
GINI COURTER: I'm going to call on Tom Lochry, secretary of the association for the final credentials report and any final announcements.
TOM LOCHRY: Well, the final announcement is going to be just make sure you clean the trash up around your seats before you leave today and tonight. I have two final reports for you. And the reason for it is that we've now got off site delegates. And I want to tell you how many of them there are. This is a first, you know. This is the first time—they've voted before. But this is the first time the votes have counted and their participation has counted.
We have 72 lay delegates, 13 ministers, for a total of 85 off site delegates representing 56 congregations in 22 states. Our final report for on site, we have 1,359 delegates registered. We have 333 ministers. We have three credentialed DREs. We have three members of associate organizations, UUSC and UUWF. We have 25 members of the Board of Trustees for a total delegate count of 1,723.
We have 530 congregations represented, 50 US States. A total on site— including 301 youth attendees—a total of 3,714 delegates at this General Assembly including our off site delegates.
GINI COURTER: Thank you. Stick around for a minute. I might need you.
Excellent. I think it's time. I should call for a final adjournment of the assembly. And since you're right here and you're officer of the board, I wonder, would you make this motion from the Board of Trustees, Tom?
TOM LOCHRY: Moved that this General Assembly now adjourn.
GINI COURTER: There's a second. Amazing. All those in favor of adjournment please so signify by raising your voting cards. Thank you. All those opposed.
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Last updated on Monday, October 1, 2012.
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