Left: A picture I took of Winona LaDuke, signing books after giving the Ware Lecture at the 2010 UU General Assembly.
These last few days, I have been in 5 Plenary sessions (where we vote and do the actual business of GA) for a total of at least 11 or 12 hours. When I am home and have more energy, I will write a post on the highlights of what we voted on... what passed, and what failed. It's pretty interesting stuff. A quick recap (with no detail):
We voted that the 2012 GA in Phoenix will be a "Justice GA", not a business-as-usual GA. We passed the Peacemaking Statement of Conscience. As for Actions of Immediate Witness, we passed three: A) Oppose Anti-Immigration Measures at the State Level... and Hasten Federal Immigration Reform; B) Gulf Coast Environmental and Economic Justice; C) Clean Up the Clean Energy Bill. We did NOT pass: D) End Blockade of Gaza and Growth of Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Territory, nor E) End the War in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (In light of the new Statement of Conscience I find the failure of what I'm labeling "D" and "E" above to be quite interesting... more on that in a later post.)
Earlier during Plenary, local Congressman Keith Ellison spoke to us. He was very inspiring. See the video:
Today was the last day of Plenary. And we had a surprise guest in the final Plenary: Senator Al Franken from MN. He was very funny and very poignant, talking about his father and his Jewish roots. He said, "You guys are so cool, I'm going to talk about religion." Great speaker. Here's his talk, broken into two videos:
There was even a marriage proposal from the procedural microphone during the final Plenary (I guess we were gettin' slap-happy). It was very sweet.
Moderator Gini Courter was amazing as she always is.
I took a little time off during GA, just to see my surroundings. I walked down to the Mississippi River and then rented a bike (there are places all over Minneapolis where you can rent them, and drop them off at another site, all automated). Great system. I even hopped on the Light Rail and went to see the Mall of America. I've heard so much about it. I suspected there would be a sermon in it... there WILL BE! I will say nothing more about the Mall of America on this blog because I want to save it for my sermon!
One of the highlights for me, as is often the case at GA, was the Ware Lecture. This year, it was given by Winona LaDuke (pictured at the top of this post). She was just so inspiring, and really fun. I enjoyed her sense of humor. Her talk is about an hour long, and I highly encourage you to watch the video, because I can't do it justice by describing it. Watch it on this page: LINK.