Phoenix GA: ‘Awaken the moral conscience of our country’
A good part of Saturday afternoon’s plenary was devoted to a discussion about what General Assembly 2012 in Phoenix might be like. Bottom line: a task force has been created to determine that, and a lot is not yet known. But it was made clear that whatever happens will happen with the guidance and direction of immigrant rights groups in Arizona.
The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, senior minister at the UU Congregation of Phoenix, is a leader of the task force. Saturday she led off the GA 2012 discussion, encouraging people to come to Phoenix next year. Noting that several hundred UUs went to Phoenix last July 29 when the anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070 went into effect, she said, “Now we are all invited, to make an even bigger difference.”
She said holding GA in Phoenix would have a much greater impact than boycotting the state, as some had urged the UUA to do. “Now is the time to bring our religious voice to awaken the moral conscience of our country.” She acknowledged that much is not known about what UUs will be called to do in Phoenix. “We do not need to imagine that we are being called to an uncertain task. We are called to take a step in faith even when we cannot see the road ahead. But we will walk it together.”
Susan Leslie, the UUA’s Congregational Advocacy and Witness director, urged people to begin to plan for Phoenix by finding ways in their own communities to enage with immigrant rights groups. A number of UUs shared some of what they are already doing: supporting passage of the DREAM Act, opposing oppressive local measures, partnering with local groups, holding worship services on immigration issues, inviting immigrants to speak at forums.
Sal Reza, with the Arizona immigrant group Puente, also spoke to the GA. “In 2012 please come to Arizona,” he said. “Come because you want to transform hate into love. Come because you want to create a movement of love throughout the U.S.”