Seize the Day:  Election Day and Beyond

UUJEC endorsed Action of Immediate Witness (AIW)

This proposed AIW was rejected by the Commission on Social Witness and did not make it to the floor.

AIW proposed by the United Fellowship in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Special thanks for assistance received from Interfaith Tampa. The UUJEC has been consulted in the development of this proposal.

Draft Proposal:

On January 20, 2025, the President of the United States will be inaugurated.The birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be observed as a national holiday. It will be a momentous day in the history of democracy and in the history of our Unitarian Universalist Association.

The General Assembly calls on Unitarian Universalist congregations and groups to take specific actions during a series of national holidays while moving towards January 20, 2025.

o Holiday Celebrations:

Congregations are asked to celebrate the Fourth of July, Labor Day,
Veterans Day, and other national holidays, in ways that honor democracy and that are grounded in our Unitarian Universalist theology and practice. The General Assembly asks that special attention be given to the fifth principle of our Unitarian Universalist Association.

Our fifth principle affirms and promotes “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” The General Assembly encourages congregations to reflect on the importance of democracy in the development of our faith tradition.

There are many religious questions that need to be asked in our congregations before January 20th. Why and how has democracy become so important for Unitarian Universalists? How have we defended democracy in the past? How do congregations extend the use of the democratic process “in society at large”? How do Unitarian Universalists work to help create a multiracial democracy? How do we work with others to overcome the systems of power, privilege, and oppression that create barriers for people with particular identities, ages, abilities and histories?

o Community Engagement:

The General Assembly encourages congregations to build partnerships and to act in solidarity with marginalized groups beyond and within our Association. Partnerships in defense of democracy can be developed with national organizations like the Urban League and the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters, and the Poor People’s Campaign.

At the local level, congregations can defend democracy by working with advocates for racial justice, indigenous peoples, elders and disability rights activists, citizens who have been incarcerated, and with labor and community organizers. Unitarian Universalist organizations that provide assistance include UU the Vote, the Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, the Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, and EqUUal Access.

Specific practices for congregations for the months ahead include support for voter registration and voter education. Election Day (November 5th) is a day when congregations can join with other community groups to help with get out the vote activities and poll watching. Congregations are asked to support Martin Luther King Day celebrations in January. Parades, festivals, family events, and interfaith religious activities are now being scheduled.

o Good Work Continues:

Unitarian Universalists have expressed their concern about voter
suppression, gerrymandering, political violence, the influence of corporate money in politics, and the rise of authoritarian government in past decades. Since the 1960s, the Unitarian Universalists Association has approved a series of pro-democracy statements. We build on this good work. The General Assembly is grateful for all of the State Action Networks and for the Unitarian Universalist and interfaith organizations in the Southern Region that have assisted in developing this Action of Immediate Witness. The Poor People’s Campaign, members of the League of Women Voters, and the new generation of labor and community organizers have provided support and inspiration. Interfaith Tampa and nine Unitarian Universalist congregations in Florida have been consulted. Unitarian Universalist efforts in defense of democracy will continue beyond the 2025 Inauguration Day and the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday. The songs of freedom must prevail.