0.02 on GA.12
Dear UUA Trustees,
Thank you for asking my input about GA12.
If we are to ask UUs of color, and UUs with green cards, to risk their safety and their freedom by going to Arizona, then we must make it worth that risk: let us do real work in Phoenix. Even if SB1070 has been wholly repealed by June of 2012, we made a commitment in Minneapolis to focus on justice work. Let us do the necessary business of the Association (including budgets, high-profile worship, the Ware lecture and the Service of the Living Tradition), and let us focus much of our time on collaboration with Puente! and NDLON and our local congregations, to make a real difference in that community. We could do some AIW and other justice work, particularly if much of it focuses on immigration reform, Islamophobia, and similar oppressions.
It will be hot; many of our attendees may not be able to be outside much during the day. It would be nice to have some indoor methods of participation for them. Again, though, if some of us are risking our freedom, then the majority of us should be willing to risk some comfort (there are those for whom this could be a medical issue, not mere comfort).
In the best possible scenario, many of our congregations and delegates will have done some work on immigration reform in their local community, before arrriving in Phoenix. Like in college, coming prepared really does help. However, some "crash courses" in basic education will probably be necessary. Some education opportunities on advanced topics would be good, too: immigration reform, U.S. history, U/U/UU history on such matters, effective public witness, Islamophobia, real Islam (both challenging and affirming passages & interpretations), etc. Most importantly, we should do some real work in Arizona, and I think we need to ask our partners on the ground there which activities we should pursue. Whatever we do, it would also be good to publicize it well, in many different ways. Publicity is not the first priority, but getting our salvific message out *is* important.
Finally, let me reiterate the necessity of good preparation. This will be much more effective--in terms of work in Arizona and work in the hearts of UUs around the country--if we do appropriate preparation work, over the course of the next two program years, including GA11, and as many district and UUMA chapter gatherings as possible.
I am excited about the possibilities! Thank you for all your work in advancing our religious movement,
--this is in response to the UUA Board asking for input about GA12, about which I blogged below.