General Assembly 2017

Climate justice will once again have a strong presence at the Unitarian Universalist Association's annual General Assembly, taking place for the first time in New Orleans, June 21-25, 2017. 

The theme of this year's General Assembly is “Resist and Rejoice,” dedicated to awakening and deepening Unitarian Universalists' commitment to working in solidarity with people on the margins, and will feature a Commit2Respond nine-workshop track of environmental justice and climate justice programming, "The Seas are Rising and So are We." 

The Seas are Rising 

Advocating Equity & Human Rights For Climate Justice
Thursday June 22, 1:30 - 2:45 PM, 228-229

Join Salote Soqo (UU Service Committee Senior Program Leader for Environmental Justice & Climate Action), and Bruce Knotts (Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association United Nations Office (UU-UNO)), to learn about current UU advocacy campaigns for equity and human rights for climate justice, both domestically and internationally. 

Eye-to-Eye Partnerships for Environmental Justice & Climate Justice
Thursday June 22, 3:15 - 4:30 PM, 228-229

Join Salote Soqo (UUSC), Catherine Coleman Flowers (Fellow of the Center for Earth Ethics; Rural Development Manager of the Equal Justice Initiative, & Founder and Director of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise), and Rev. Karen Brammer (Director, UUA Green Sanctuary Program) in dialogue about best practices for successful partnerships that respect and empower leaders from communities most impacted by climate change, industrial toxins, extreme extraction, etc. for longhaul justice building.

People's Movement Assembly: Shared Liberation Decision-making
Thursday June 22, 3:15 - 6:15 PM, Rear of Exhibit Hall (Hall B1)

The US Human Rights Network, Project South, and the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal (CELSJR) will offer an interactive popular education training on grassroots governance, democracy, and shared liberation. This session will help participants develop their own intersectional analysis and plan for action. Presenters: Colette Pichon Battle, Esq. (Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network), Stephanie Guilloud (Co-Director of Project South), Rev. Deanna Vandiver (Co-Director of the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal)

Emergency! Climate Change & Environmental Justice
Thursday June 22, 5:00 - 6:15 PM, R09

What does environmental justice mean during an era of climate change? Unitarian Universalists in the Southern Region have learned from experience. We’ll provide justice-making resources that your cluster and congregation can use. Learn about emergency services and the New Orleans response to Hurricane Katrina. Moderator: Rev. Robert Murphy (Minister of UU Church of Tarpon Springs, FL). Presenters: Rev. Kenn Hurto (Executive Lead of the UUA Southern Region), Rev. Jim VanderWeele (Minister of Community UU Church of New Orleans), Paul Dalzell (UU Church of Charleston, West Virginia), Mary Sheehan

Living Downstream: The Mississippi River & New Orleans
Thursday June 22, 5:00 - 6:15 PM, 208

Join us to learn why many of the environmental, racial and social problems in Louisiana and New Orleans result from living downstream in the Mississippi River drainage basin that covers parts of 31 states. We will provide an environmental and historic context for your visit to New Orleans. Presenters: Dr. Cynthia Bryant, Dr. Nancy Rabelais, Charles Fryling, Dr. Edwin Lyon

UU Climate Justice Collaboratory
Friday June 23, 1:30 - 4:30 PM, 228-229

This program brings together UUs deeply committed to mobilizing for environmental justice and climate justice in the world for strategic dialogue and community organizing. Presenters: Aly Tharp (Program Coordinator for Commit2Respond, UU Ministry for Earth, & UU Young Adults for Climate Justice), Rev. Karen Brammer (UUA), Salote Soqo (UUSC), Catherine Coleman Flowers (Center for Earth Ethics; Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise; Equal Justice Initiative), Rev. Mel Hoover (UU Ministry for Earth Board Member, Retired UU Minister), Rev. Beth Johnson (UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory leader, Minister of Palomar UU Fellowship), Lavona Grow (UUs for Social Justice in the National Capitol Region - UUSJ), Rev. Earl Koteen (UU Ministry for Earth Board Member), Evan Seitz (Climate Justice Organizer for UU Mass Action & leader of UU Young Adults for Climate Justice), Marla Marcum (Co-Founder of the Climate Disobedience Center), Leonard Higgins (Unitarian Universalist "valve turner")

Activate Joyful Witness: A Workshop on Art & Activism
Friday June 23, 3:15 - 4:30 PM, 217-219

How can we make our activism more joyful, creative, and engaging? What’s the connection between art and social change? How can we renew our spirits while confronting injustice? With guest artists and activists, we’ll explore some inspiring examples, get crafty together, and prepare to bring spirited presence to Public Witness. Presenters: Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario (Executive Director of ARTE - Art & Resistance Through Education), Angela Kelly (Senior Associate for Justice Education at the UU College of Social Justice), Jayeesha Dutta (Co-Founder of the New Orleans Radical Arts and Healing Collective), Jimmy Betts (Community Supported Organizer with the Beyone Extreme Energy (BXE) Coalition, & leader of the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice)

Decolonization is Climate Justice
Saturday June 24, 1:30 - 4:30 PM, Hall B2-1 & B2-2

Our Industrial Growth economy is intricately linked to our history of colonization. How does colonialism manifest in modern times? How is it impacting our response to the climate crisis and the shift to a life-sustaining society? What are the ripple effects of the Indigenous-led Dakota Access Pipeline resistance? Presenters: Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Author of "All the Real Indians Died Off" & 20 Other Myths About Native Americans), Rev. Karen Van Fossan (Minister of the Bismark-Mandan UU Congregation),Ronya Hoblit (Member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, lay leader of the Mismark-Mandan UU Congregation), Cherri Foytlin (Director of Bold Louisiana, Indigenous mother, author, journalist, climate justice movement leader), Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh (Author of Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope & Empowerment, Director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity & Sustainability, human rights activist)

The Right to Be Rescued: Climate & Disability
Saturday June 24, 3:15 - 4:30 PM, 215-216

Disasters disproportionately affect people with disabilities. As the frequency and severity of disasters rises with climate change, the courts have recognized that we have a right to be rescued. Hear the stories, learn about emerging best practices, and explore how you and your congregation can be part of creating solutions. Presenters: Patty Cameron, Rev. Suzanne Fast, Imari Kariotis, Els Nieuwenhuijsen


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