UUs Introduce Action of Immediate Witness at General Assembly and Voting Opens

Voting for UUA General Assembly 2024 delegates closes at 8 pm PST / 11 pm ET – we urge all delegates to vote yes to advance this AIW to the final agenda. You do not need to feel certainty about your final vote in order to vote yes tonight and give all UUs an opportunity to hear more about this AIW. Use your unique URL to the delegate portal to cast your ballot. Thank you!

The Revs. DL Helfer and Katie Romano Griffin, two of the four co-sponsors of the AIW: Solidarity with Palestinians, presented brief statements to the virtual attendees of the UUAGA. You can read each of their statements in full below.

Read Rev. DL Helfer’s Statement

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. My name is Reverend DL Helfer and my pronouns are they/them. I am a queer, trans masculine, person. I am located on lands stolen from the Wampanoag and the Narragansett people, otherwise known as Providence, RI. I am a Jewish Unitarian Universalist and I am the lead submitter of this AIW.

We bring you this Action of Immediate Witness, Solidarity with Palestinians, after months of organizing work. It’s not been a linear path to this point, and I want to name that DRUUMM and UUJME, UUs for Justice in the Middle East, have led this work. 

Yet this AIW is not the work of a few – literally hundreds of Unitarian Universalists have influenced this process during months of organizing.

We have heard from some that the words in this AIW do not fully represent your understanding of this crisis. Of course that’s so. Even among the group that developed this, the ideas and beliefs differ. What we do agree on is the absolute need to take action NOW.

This is a question of process over perfection.

Collectively, our faith has not fully engaged with Palestine and Israel, fearful, I believe, of being wrong or causing harm particularly to Jewish siblings. Yet this is work we must do together, both regardless of and because of our different religious histories.

This AIW calls for an end to suffering, for our active engagement and deeper learning, and an understanding of human interdependence far beyond congregational, associational, or country boundaries.

The global movement for a free Palestine is millions strong. I hope we have the courage to be part of that, like the brave students and their encampments, committing ourselves fully to a more just world. None of us is free until all of us are free.

Please see the chat for links to our webpage at uupalestineaction.org, our Facebook page, or Instagram page of the same name. On the webpage you will find a detailed FAQ where we address many of your questions and comments.

Read Rev. Katie Romano Griffin’s Statement

Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I am the Rev. Katie Romano Griffin, Senior Minister at All Souls in Indianapolis, IN. My pronouns are ella/she/her and I am a 50 year old, multiracial Latina, with dark hair in a ponytail, a bright orange shirt, colorful teal scarf and red glasses. I am joining you from the land of the Myaamia, Kaskaskia, Shawnee and Kikaapoi people.

While Hundreds of people have worked on the wording of the AIW, many feel endangered here. There are personal and inherited historical reasons for these feelings. Yet we must also address the very real, very present rising death toll in Palestine. The AIW at its heart calls for us to uphold a world where liberation is real for all. To reaffirm our commitment to the safety of Jewish people while also recognizing the rights of Palestinian people. We decry the violence of October 7 and Israel’s brutal response, noting the long-standing occupation and repression in Gaza. Human rights organizations have documented Israel’s apartheid policies, and since October 7, indiscriminate bombings in Gaza have caused significant civilian casualties.

The U.S. provides the highest military aid to Israel, and we bear responsibility to speak out against these policies. Solidarity with Palestinians faces repression in the U.S., with peaceful protests met with arrests and attacks on free speech. A growing number of UU communities and organizations advocate for ending unconditional military aid to Israel and supporting Palestinian self-determination. For decades, Unitarian Universalist communities have called for peace, justice, and reparations in Palestinian territories. Can we continue that tradition and call for a permanent ceasefire today? Can we commit to doing work at the congregational and national levels by voting for this AIW?
Thank you for your time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top