Friday, July 02, 2010

actions of immediate lament

Long, heartfelt debates about AIWs speak to a need for lament, rather than procedural votes. Moving testimony on all sides of our Actions of Immediate Witness may have helped the speakers feel better, but a good lament process would deepen that relief *and* reduce the time spent on actual votes.

Last Sunday afternoon, delegates in plenary debated anti-immigrant measures at state and federal levels, the blockade of Gaza, gulf coast environmental justice, the clean energy bill and the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. All are compelling issues; all are issues on which our vote will have little effect. The main value of these efforts, IMHO, is to allow people to voice their feelings. Perhaps doing away with the messy vote process, and deepening the opportunity for lamentation, would better serve our delegates and our movement.

The Rev. Mr. Jose' Ballester delivered an impassioned lament on Saturday afternoon, and has created stirring laments in previous settings. I am sure that there are some people who disagreed with some or all of his comments, and I am sure that many people were moved and found some healing in them, too.

It may not be appropriate to abandon the AIW process entirely. Perhaps we could stage a time for lament in addition, at some GA (or at district/chapter events) soon.


At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

I like it. I like it very much.

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous NowHere said...

I speak only for myself and only regarding the AIW on OPPOSE ANTI-IMMIGRANT MEASURES AT THE STATE LEVEL which I helped write. The presentation and vote on that AIW went quickly Sunday. Amendments had been worked out smoothly, mostly at mini-assembly. I believe there were very few words that could be correctly characterized as a "lament."
At my congregation in Phoenix we have laments for our situation here in Arizona and they do help us. The AIW and comments upon it were not a lament.

The AIW provided information on the SB 1070 law specifically. I am glad that the AIW mechanism was available, as a statement asking for urgent action. The AIW ends with the following words, which hundreds of UUs are working right now to act upon:

FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates call upon the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, their individual members and friends, and affiliate organizations, to pledge themselves:
• to continue to witness against SB 1070 and its implementation
• to support Arizona on a July 29, 2010 Day of Non-Compliance and for events during the Human Rights Summer
• to apply such economic pressure to the state as is specifically targeted to achieve repeal
• to monitor legislation in other states and witness against any similar anti-immigrant proposals
• to participate in voter registration and civic engagement campaigns as a prerequisite to better laws in the future
• to call on President Obama to reassert the federal government’s exclusive control over immigration law
• to support federal legislative proposals such as the Dream Act, that benefit citizens and immigrants alike, and
• to persist until humane federal comprehensive immigration reform is achieved.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Chip said...

Thank you, NowHere, for showing why we still *do* need the legislative, action-oriented piece of the AIW process. And, I still believe that many of the comments--at both 'pto' and 'con' microphones, at mini-assemblies and during plenary--would benefit from a more robust lament process. People need to express their anger / fear / sorrow / other human feelings, and the AIW procedure is a poor substitute for full emotional expression. As with many things, I think it is a "both/and."


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