Banned from 2024 General Assembly

UU the Conversation, an advocacy group of everyday UUs, was formed to engage and educate UUs on what is at stake at the June General Assembly vote. UU the Conversation urges UUs to become General Assembly delegates and vote to reject the proposed Article II language.

As part of its advocacy, UU the Conversation purchased a Platinum Level Sponsorship virtual booth ($4,000) at the 2024 virtual General Assembly.

When we submitted advertising material granted by our Platinum Level Sponsorship, the Executive Vice-president of the UUA rejected those materials—effectively banning them from the view of General Assembly participants and delegates.

Letter Rejecting Materials

Approximately a month after submitting advertising material, we were notified that we were prohibited from advocating “for specific votes on business items.” The notification continued stating that “Delegates must have the autonomy to choose where they engage in those discussions.” We never understood what that meant.

We asked for more specifics and were told that our materials violated the 2024 Terms and Conditions for an exhibitor. Upon inspection of the T&Cs, we noticed that there was no mention of the conditions cited in the initial notification. We were then advised that the UUA was relying on provisions in the T&Cs granting itself the right to prohibit or eject an exhibitor and the “sole discretion” of interpretation and enforcement.

There was no mechanism for appeal. In order to have a presence at General Assembly and bring some value to money spent for this highest level of sponsorship, we re-worked our advertising material with each revision requiring “approval” before being included in our Platinum Level Sponsorship suite.

Banned Material

We, however, are now publishing our banned material for review and discussion.

Full Page Ad in General Assembly Program Book

This ad appears with other sponsors in the General Assembly program book. Rejected because it said, “Delegates should vote NO on the proposed Article II Language.”

Pre-Roll Slide

This single-page image appears during General Assembly between sessions. Rejected because it said, “I’m Voting No on Article II.”

Direct Mail Advertisement

This image was rejected due to the cross-out of Congregational Autonomy (to the right). UU Leadership argued that Article II does not impact Congregational Autonomy. However, the removal from the proposed Article II language of the commitment “to serve the needs of its member congregations” from the purpose of the Association is a “red alert” of things to come. It is not a secret that the UUA’s committee assigned to rewrite other articles in the Association’s bylaws has, in its sights, Congregational Polity as described in Article III.

Social Media

This submission admittedly pushed the envelope (Why hold back?), introducing the concept of a loss of trust with our UU leadership. This loss of trust was tied to an amendment to the proposed Article II language, Amendment 52. The 2023 General Assembly delegates passed Amendment 52 that removed the phrase “we work to repair harm and damaged relationships” from the Independence value. However, that delegate vote was simply ignored and the deleted phrase was returned to the proposed Article II language.

The text of the post also references June 23, 2023 remarks by the former UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray. In her farewell address, Rev. Frederick-Gray alluded to those who oppose Article II in the following way.

Even more dangerous during times of significant change, some people begin to cling to some fabricated imagination of a mythical past. We see this among white nationalists in our country.

To be “acceptable,” this social media post was substantially revised.

Three-minute Video

The revised and “approved” version of this video is scheduled to be played at the start of General Assembly. The first half of the video celebrates the value of our liberal religious heritage. The second half outlines the negative impact on our liberal religion and the Association if Article II passes. The second half of the video was rejected and had to be reworked to be accepted.

The revised video is found on the homepage.

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