Unitarian Universalists call for an end to the war on Gaza, U.S. complicity in that war

For Immediate Release – June 23, 2024

Thousands of delegates to the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) voted overwhelmingly—74% to 26%—on June 22, 2024, for a resolution in solidarity with Palestinians calling for a stop to indiscriminate violence in Gaza, a permanent ceasefire, for an end to US military aid to Israel, and for Unitarian Universalist congregations to join the Apartheid Free Communities. Notably, this is the first time in history the General Assembly, representing over 1,000 congregations, has explicitly supported an end to US military support for Israel and raised concerns about Zionism. Over 450 lay leaders, religious professionals, and organizations within the UUA endorsed the resolution including Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, Church of the Larger Fellowship, Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Unitarian Universalist Refugee & Immigrant Services & Education (UURISE), UU Peace Ministry Network, and UUs for A Just Economic Community

“Our UU Values call us to profound love. It is our religious duty to pay attention, to build relationships, and to personally and institutionally risk bringing about peace and justice in this world. We hold our Muslim and Jewish communities at the center as we labor forward, striving to find the words and actions that unite us in common cause.”

 – The Reverend Katie Romano Griffin, Indiana

“Many UU Jews, like myself, have been out on the streets for months, demanding “Never Again for Anyone,” working ceaselessly to end of the genocide of Palestinians. This AIW directly names the dangers of Zionism, invoking us to confront the role of imperialism and colonialism in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. For far too long, Unitarian Universalism has failed to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian and more broadly, Arab, people. This AIW does not in itself heal these ills, but starts us on a path to do so. May our love lead us there.”

The Reverend DL Helfer, Rhode Island

As Unitarian Universalists we must call love into our work for collective liberation, we must not be bullied into silence. Our love of humanity calls us to speak against persecution of all people across the globe. In this moment, our Palestinian family needs our solidarity, our action, our resources, and our voices as do others in Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Congo and in other conflicts. Thank you to the hundreds, including many Jewish and Palestinian voices, who gave input into this AIW. We are clear in our call to liberation, for freedom, and to love all humanity, as Unitarian Universalists.”  

– Lena K. Gardner, Executive Director of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism

“We are heartbroken and outraged at the unending violence, and horrified by our US tax dollars being used to perpetuate widespread killing of Palestinians, humanitarian workers, journalists, and the destruction of schools, hospitals, religious, and cultural centers in Gaza. I want to thank our members with roots in the region, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish, who have helped shape this important public statement.”

– The Reverend Joseph Santos-Lyons, DRUUMM Community Minister

Unitarian Universalists join religious communities from around the world calling for an end to the Israeli state violence, the release of hostages, and caring for the displaced. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has disproportionately killed over 37,000 Palestinians killed, 80,000 people injured, with millions displaced and homeless. Urgent action is needed to address the famine and disease, and de-escalate regional tensions. 

The resolution, known as an Action of Immediate Witness, was sponsored by Reverend DL Helfer, a Jewish UU minister, Lena K. Gardner, Executive Director of Black Lives of UU, Reverend Abhi Janamanchi, Senior Minister of Cedar Lane congregation in Bethesda, and Reverend Katie Romano Griffin, Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis. We also want to recognize the DRUUMM Southwest Asia/North Africa-Arab Caucus and the many UUs of Jewish heritage for their leadership and contributions on this historic statement. We are also lifted on the shoulders of many UUs and allies before us as well as the steadfastness of the Palestinian people who helped pave the way to this moment. 

Contact Persons:

Reverend DL Helfer, davidlhelfer@gmail.com, (562) 760-4020

Reverend Joseph Santos-Lyons, DRUUMM jsantoslyons@uuma.org, (503) 512-0490

Dana Ashrawi, UUs for Justice in the Middle East uujme@uujme.org, (281) 698-0797


UU Palestine Action – Resolution text, list of endorsers

2002 Action of Immediate Witness: Toward Peace and Justice in the Middle East

UU Vigils for Gaza – recordings

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