The letter sent from UUA President Morales and the national Boycott Arizona movement asking us to come to Phoenix in 2012 for our regularly scheduled, business-as-usual GA and go through a “transformation” is a game changer. Added to the high consideration about the $600,000 hotel contracts (we have yet to sign convention contracts as far as I know), as well as the intense push back immigrant issues have generated in our congregations, I predict this trinity spells rejection of the proposal to honor the Arizona Boycott called for by communities of color by our dominant white religious adherents in Minneapolis next week at GA.
We still need boycott GA and PASS THE RESOLUTION to move GA out of Arizona in 2012. We are not ready spiritually, religiously, and from a values perspective – organizationally, to achieve this transformation in 2012 years. Consider:
- The general apathy and suspicion of racial justice concerns, and powerful pushback against immigrant and refugee rights education and social justice
- Lack of any coordinated UUA immigrant rights and racial justice programming that is accountable to communities of color within our congregations and the larger racial justice movement. We have many individuals with relationships and personal influence, but this does not provide long-term sustainable leadership. Disappointingly even local congregations in Arizona are disconnected and disengaged.
- Little UUA-wide accountability with immigrant communities, UU laity and clergy engaged with communities of color, immigrants and refugees. There is no communication or relationship building with any of the ministers and lay folks I know who are deeply involved with these issues, and I’ve made and received several calls. We appear to lack vision and structure to hold this dialogue effectively.
- There is no clearinghouse, no contact person, no issue tracking, and no leadership development plan as far as I can tell from a brief look at district and UUA materials. Already in Oregon we are facing two copycat measures in local counties, and there is no communication or information sharing structure developing. We need to develop a strategy and coordination to manage UU engagement on this issue if we are going to really “transform” ourselves at GA.
As a faith tradition, we share a lot of values in common with the movement to boycott Arizona. Yet the evidence is clear that we are not ready to meet the call to have a “transformed” GA. We do the immigrant rights movement a disservice by pretending to be so, and bringing what will ultimately be a GA with status quo activities and crossing the boycott. We also disrespect the voices of people of color, immigrants and refugees within our congregations, who have made their position clear, it is our moral and political call to respect the boyott, and our own safety and wholeness are at stake.
I urge GA delegates to support the GA Boycott Resolution in Minneapolis AND
1) Support the move to biennial or triennial GA
2) Call on the UUA to dedicate staff resources to coordinate research, local networks, and anti-racism education
3) Commit to social witness and civic engagement now, in conjunction with local congregations and national affiliate organizations such as DRUUMM, LUUNA, ARE, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of DRUUMM, and youth and young adult UU movements.