GA 06.24.07 - What Are You Doing Here?

Well, it's over... not with a bang, nor a whisper.  But pretty good. 

At noon there was the protest in front of the ICE offices.  (I was stuck at the booth but hear that it went well.)  Shortly before GA got to Portland there was a major ICE raid, parents were rounded up for deportation while their kids were at school.  Graduation parties were canceled, casting a pall on the entire community.  Some of the custodial staff at our hotels were affected.  In response, the UUA joined a coalition of groups to denounce the breakup of families.  Bill Sinkford spoke, and I hear he rocked.  As I've said before, this is one of those things that makes me so proud to be a UU.

The last day of GA is also AIW day, when delegates vote on the AIWs that were able to gain enough signatures to make it to the ballot.  Six (the maximum) were passed, all worthy, but I just want to highlight that this GA marked the first time where we have explicitly affirmed our commitment to full equality for transgender persons.  Another milestone (bringing us back to night one.)

OK, now onto the 4pm worship service.  It was good.  The sermon started off a bit slow and intellectual.  Beginning with a litany of the things we have accomplished, Rev. Josh Pawelek sounded at first like he was giving a lecture or maybe a low key rally.  I was starting to think (again) that UUs don't get what worship means.  But then the good Rev. kicked it into another gear.  The title of his sermon was "What are you doing here?" and Pawelek talked about why, as a white straight male, he is a UU and an advocate for both racial and BGLT equality.  Linking social justice with spirituality and faith (yay!), he showed how even people of privilege cannot be whole in a society that is broken.  Pawelek said "I am coming back from spiritual death. I am seeking life."  He went on to say that he is seeking an "authentic, accountable, fearless, anti-racist," impactful life.

Amen, brother.

The last thing that I want to say about GA 2007 is to give props to the Right Relationship Team.  Coming out of major relationship snafus in both 2005 and 2006, this team was created in order to provide a way for UUs to address problems as they arise.  Since we managed to survive GA 2007 without any major blowups, they must have done something very right.  Thanks guys.




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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative