GA 2021: Action Item Highlights
The just completed UUA General Assembly 2021 (GA) adopted four social witness actions, a Statement of Conscience (SOC) and three Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW). Links to the SOC and AIWs can be found below and there are separate articles in the news feed. Also, you can find a quick summary of the difference between SOC and AIW at the bottom of the page.
The Statement of Conscience (SOC): Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy.
The General Assembly affirmed these Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW)
- Defend and Advocate with Transgender, Nonbinary, and Intersex Communities
- The COVID-19 Pandemic: Justice. Healing. Courage
- Stop Voter Suppression and Partner for Voting Rights and a Multiracial Democracy
The Difference between SOC and AIW
The Commission on Social Witness (CSW) coordinates the process for both SOC and AIW. The publication Social Witness: A Proposer’s Guide has the full details of the process.
Basically, a SOC begins life as a Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI). The Study and Action Process was created to uphold our principles and to engage Unitarian Universalists in the articulation of conscience on pressing social justice issues. After three years of study and action on a CSAI, the General Assembly delegates may adopt a Statement of Conscience (SOC) on the subject. It is the product of countless hours of thought, collaboration, and dedication. During the year following adoption of a SOC, congregations and UUA staff will work to implement the SOC and report their results to the following General Assembly. Adopted Statements of Conscience serve to focus the efforts of congregations and other UU groups on the topic of the SOC, shape the meaning of contemporary Unitarian Universalism, and empower the Office of Advocacy and Witness to lobby our positions in pending legislation.
Unlike a SOC, an AIW does not carry the full authority of the Unitarian Universalist Association; rather, it expresses the conscience of the delegates at the GA at which it is passed. Nonetheless, AIWs are also the product of considerable thought, collaboration, and commitment. The AIW process allows Unitarian Universalists to respond quickly to social issues deemed urgent. Adopted AIWs are used by congregations in local efforts and empower the Washington Office for Advocacy to take action and recommend action through other departments of the UUA and other UU groups.