The UUJEC is pleased to endorse the 3 Actions of Immediate Witness (AsIW) that were approved at GA 2023. We regret that our own proposal, CODE RED for Humanity: The Climate Impacts of Military Emissions, did not make the cut, along with 2 other important proposals, but realize that the limit of 3 means that some good ideas will not get through. Certainly individual UU groups’ work often go well beyond the 3 chosen subjects. Below are our statements of support for this years AsIW.
Organizing for Health Equity
The Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, UUJEC, is pleased to endorse the Organizing for Health Equity Action of Immediate Witness. This is a radical statement that calls for systemic changes in health care. The UUJEC wants all people, in all nations, to have increased control over their bodies. This AIW has developed from decades of work in the UUJEC and we’re grateful for the grassroots organizing that is now developing in Florida and in other places. We campaign for Medicare for All, for democratic labor unions, and for food justice, and we’re concerned about the impact of climate change, and other health-related concerns. Our goal is to defeat systemic racism, homophobia, ageism and ableism, economic injustice, and the other forms of oppression that cause much of the suffering in today’s world. The UUJEC asks all Unitarian Universalists to join us in this religious work, and we ask the General Assembly to endorse the Organizing for Health Equity statement. It’s a call for moral action for systemic changes.
Protect the Dreamers, the Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) with a Pathway to Permanent Residence
The Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, UUJEC, supports the Action of Immediate Witness Protect the Dreamers, the Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) with a Pathway to Permanent Residence. DACA has enabled roughly 833,000 eligible young adults to work lawfully, attend school, and plan their lives without the constant threat of deportation—usually to an unfamiliar country. According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than 1.3 million U.S. residents were eligible for DACA as originally implemented. The Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates that the average DACA recipient arrived in the United States in 1999 at the age of 7, with more than one-third of DACA recipients arriving before age 5.
DACA recipients have experienced pronounced upward socioeconomic mobility. A national survey of DACA recipients in 2019 found that almost 6 in 10 respondents moved on to a job with better pay, almost half moved to a job with better working conditions and just over that number moved to a job with health insurance or other benefits. Moreover, just over half of the respondents moved to a job that “better fits [their] education and training [or] long-term career goals.” In addition, a small but significant number of respondents started their own businesses or obtained professional licenses after receiving DACA.
It is clear that DACA recipients contribute to our society, benefitting their communities as well as themselves and their families. As they having made successful lives here, where they grew to adulthood, it would be unfair and unreasonable to deny them a pathway to permanent residence.
Rise Up to Support Cop City
The Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, UUJEC, is pleased to endorse the Rise Up to Support Cop City. We see this as a first-amendment issue, with local and state law enforcement agencies responding in an extreme manner to largely peaceful protests, and attempting to tie together a small number of destructive acts with campers and music festival goers exercising their rights of assembly and protest. From the police killing of 26-year-old Tortuguita to the raid on a family-friendly music festival, law enforcement has overreacted.
The issue first reached national attention with the police killing of environmental activist Tortuguita. When activists across the country travelled to Weelaunee Forest in protest, law enforcement responded with charges of domestic terrorism. Later, the Atlanta Police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested bail-fund managers, chilling activists’ constitutional rights to assemble and protest. The local community is opposed to the destruction of a forest on indigenous land—open space adjacent to low-income Black and brown communities—as hundreds spoke against Cop City at an Atlanta city council meeting. The arrest of bail-fund managers combined with the strength of local opposition to a militarized facility designed to train local law enforcement and fire fighters in urban warfare makes it clear that this is a defining moment in resistance to government repression and police brutality.
We stand in solidarity with those who would protect the Weelaunee Forest and resist police militarization.