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UUA Holds ‘Justice General Assembly’ in Phoenix June 20-24

The 2012 General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will be held June 20-24 in Phoenix, AZ, at the Phoenix Convention Center. Thousands of Unitarian Universalists from around the world will gather in Phoenix for five days of worship, educational workshops, and participation in the social justice work that is an integral part of this liberal religious denomination.

This year’s General Assembly has been designated a special Justice GA. The UUA and Unitarian Universalists representing more than 1,000 member congregations have been invited to Phoenix by partner groups including Puente Arizona, National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), and Somos America to focus on justice, especially for migrants and immigration reform.

The UUA, created as a result of the 1961 consolidation of the Universalist Church of America (founded in 1793) and the American Unitarian Association (founded in 1825), has a strong history of social justice work. UUA President Rev. Peter Morales looks forward to returning to Phoenix for the first time since his 2010 arrest for nonviolent civil disobedience and subsequent trial and conviction in 2011, for his protest of Arizona’s SB1070 during the 2010 National Day of Noncompliance in Phoenix.

Rev. Morales is the first Latino president of the UUA, elected on a platform of growth and multiculturalism. Public witness is central to his presidency; he is especially passionate about immigration reform.

In 2012, all GA participants will be afforded opportunities to experience social justice through service, witness, and reflection.

Events during Justice GA will focus on Unitarian Universalism’s commitment to justice for all and faith-based public witness. A complete list of General Assembly events and presentations are in the online program. Events and activities during Justice GA will be covered in UU World's GA blog, http://uuworld.org/ga.

Major Press Events of the 2012 GA Include:

Wednesday, June 20, 9:30-10 p.m.
Arizona Immigration Ministry Witness: Turning the Tide from Fear to Human Rights, outside Phoenix Convention Center

Justice GA attendees will join the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Arizona Immigration Ministry (AZIM), Arizona UU congregations, NDLON, the Committees for the Defense of the Barrios, and SOMOS to kick off five days of action, education, skill building, worship and witness.

Speakers will shine a light on the human rights abuses in Arizona that are being replicated across the country. As people of faith and conscience, UUs will not keep silent as families and our communities are torn apart by a system of racial profiling, mass detention and deportation, militarization of the border, and anti-immigrant laws.

Speakers

  • Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, Arizona Immigration Ministry
  • Rev. Peter Morales, President, UUA
  • Salvador Reza and members of the Committees for the Defense of the Barrios
  • Pablo Alvarado, NDLON 
  • Representatives of the SOMOS coalition

Friday, June 22, 7:30-10 p.m.
Community Celebration with Partners, Civic Space Park

An evening of food, fun, and fellowship. Bring the whole family! Enjoy this multicultural event with local food, music and theater. Come stand on the side of love!

Saturday, June 23, 5:15-6:15 p.m.
Ware Lecture with Maria Hinojosa, Phoenix Convention Center, Hall AB

For 25 years, Maria Hinojosa has helped tell America's untold stories and brought to light unsung heroes in America and abroad. She is the anchor and managing editor of NPR's Latino USA. Hinojosa is the anchor of the Emmy Award-winning talk show Maria Hinojosa: One‐on‐One from WGBH/La Plaza. Hinojosa has reported hundreds of important stories—including the immigrant work camps in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina—and has helped define the conversation about our times and our society with one of the most authentic voices in broadcast. Hinojosa has won top honors in American journalism including two Emmys, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged, and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club. Three times over the past decade, Hinojosa has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Latinos in the U.S. by Hispanic Business magazine. Born in Mexico City, Hinojosa was raised in Chicago, and attended Barnard College at Columbia University in New York.

Saturday, June 23, 9-11 p.m.
Candlelight Vigil at Tent City Jail: Interfaith Witness for Human Rights

More than 2,000 people are being held at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s infamous Tent City Jail. Another 6,000 people are being held in other Maricopa County jails. To date, more than 427,000 inmates have gone through Tent City Jail, where people are crowded together on wooden planks in broiling heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.

This facility represents the worst of a culture of cruelty perpetrated in the name of the U.S. government. With the passage of SB1070 and copycat laws around the country, as well as U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s “Secure Communities” program, the climate of fear has reached crisis proportions. Shine a light on human rights abuses in Arizona and across the nation, and join UUs in standing on the side of love.

UUA President Rev. Peter Morales will be joined by United Church of Christ General Minister and President Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, other interfaith clergy, and local UU and human rights leaders for this massive public witness against injustice.

Sunday, June 24 9‐10:15 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship, Phoenix Convention Center, Hall AB

The public is warmly invited to attend "Justice is Love in Action,” GA’s Sunday morning worship service, led by Rev. John T. Crestwell, Jr. This spirit‐filled gathering is the largest Sunday service of the year for Unitarian Universalists, bringing thousands of people of faith together for song and worship.

Members of the press are invited and encouraged to cover events live in Phoenix. Press badges will be available for credentialed, professional journalists and camera/audio crew members beginning Wednesday, June 20. Please contact Daisy Kincaid, Public Relations Director, as soon as possible to request credentials.

Contact

Daisy Kincaid, Public Relations Director
dkincaid @ uua.org(617) 948-4386

Unitarian Universalist Life

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

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