Equity: Every person is inherently worthy – Wheeler (amendment to Article II, which will be placed on the final agenda)

Amendment:
41 Equity. We declare that every person [DELETE: has the right to] [INSERT: is inherently worthy and has the right to] flourish with [DELETE: inherent dignity and
42 worthiness] [INSERT: dignity, love, and compassion].

Clean version:
41 Equity. We declare that every person is inherently worthy and has the right to flourish with
42 dignity, love, and compassion.

Rationale:
First, in response to calls from BLUU and many other UU stakeholders, we needed to remove reference to “inherent worth” from our 7 principles; this phrasing harmed many UUs as it harkened back to the time when African Americans were assigned monetary worth.

Accordingly, this amendment does not use the term ‘worth,’ declaring instead that “every person is inherently worthy…”.

Second, this amendment responds to the Charge to the Article II Study Commission that “love in action, … should be centered in any revision of Article II.” In particular, the co-Moderators “charge[d] this commission to root its work in Love as a principal guide in its work.”

We fulfill that charge by explicitly naming ‘love’ in our amended Equity Value.

Third, still quoting from the Charge to the Commission: “The Board would like to see an Article II that is inspirational, memorable and poetic.” The UUA Board continued,

“We recognize that one steady criticism over decades has been that the language of the principles is not poetic. We encourage the Commission to consider framings of our principles that allows them to be brief and poetic.”

The 2023 wording of the Equity value – “Every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness” – is neither memorable nor poetic. By contrast, our 2024 Equity amendment is much more easily remembered and fluidly shared.

In sum, our amendment avoids the problematic word ‘worth’ and centers ‘love,’ all the while calling us to Equity in inspirational, memorable, and poetic terms. Thus, the 2024 Equity Amendment improves on the 2023 language by fulfilling these multiple Charges to the Article II Study Commission.

Please bring this inspirational, memorable language to our UU Equity Value.

2 Likes

Folks, friends, I hope to hear your thoughts about this NEW, DIFFERENT, vision for the Equity Amendment.

Thank you to Rev. Cindy Landrum for sharing Equity-Wheeler so widely with her UUMA colleagues.

And thank you to the THIRTY ONE congregations supporting. This was a wonderful experience of connecting far and wide across the USA. I began by contacting all of the 8 congregations to which I’ve belonged across the past 40 years. And then friend of a friend connected and also through word of mouth.

So, what do you think?

in community,
Bek Wheeler
President, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the (Virginia) Peninsula

1 Like

My congregation UU Congregation at Shelter Rock was one of the congregations that supported this amendment on equity. We agree that it’s time that UU’s look at our words in terms of the 8th Principle (which we also voted for our adoption). We urge delegates to consider how this amendment will affect how we treat each other.
Rick Schwartz, committee member Denominational Affairs, Social Justice, & Racial Justice subcommittee. Veatch Board Governor, and former co-facilitator A2 Commission.

Rick, thank you for your comment. Do I understand that you are saying the Wheeler Equity amendment will HELP foster better, more loving treatment of all our siblings? Expand please?

In reviewing the 2 Equity Amendments I believe that the Wheeler amendment will help foster a more loving basis for UU’s to share and support each other to live our values. We all need and deserve to be supported and treated equally!
Having 2 Amendments addressing the same value means that only one can move on in order to change the proposed Article ll Equity statement. It was the vote by my congregation the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock to support the Wheeler Amendment.

1 Like

Hi RickSchwartz, I’m glad you brought this up so it can be clarified: Both Bek Wheeler agree that BOTH Equity Amendments can go together. In fact, I think they go better together than separately! The Wheeler Amendment addresses the 1st sentence including “compassion” while the Stebbins Amendment adds a 3rd sentence which provides more detail about how we express “compassion.” For more details, please see my post on the page for the Stebbins Amendment.

Rick, interesting. Is there some UUA reason that only one amendment could change a given proposed value, and not two amendments? Kara Stebbins and I had both thought that if each of our amendments succeeded at GA, then they both could be put into play with the proposed Equity value—Wheeler Equity revising the first sentence, and Stebbins Equity adding a third sentence. Is there some reason formally that that could not go forward with both in play?

Thank you!

Bek

The rules for the amendment process were so strict that I did not see a clear path for the two Equity statements to be merged. Requiring a 3/4ths majority may be difficult to pass for each amendment separately. I do not speak for the UUA. Perhaps Charles DuMond would be able to enlighten us on what would need to be done prior to the Mini-Assembly. Merging the two seems like a great UU way to meet our values based on love.
In Faith,
Rick

Interesting… While I have no inside knowledge, it seemed to me that a pathway to passing with 3/4 majority would be easier for each separately than combined. That is, I could see combined into Equity failing because those who liked Stebbin’s Amendment might not like mine (Wheeler’s) thus failing. Or those who liked mine might not like Stebbins… No way to tease it out without simply doing them separately. If they both pass then they could be combined.

I believe that @CharlesD has said that there will be no “friendly amendments” before the voting. So, personally, I’m just sitting tight and kind of quietly, with these two Equity Amendment to see what emerges as folks start participating on discuss-uua-org and at the mini-assemblies – in May, is it?

Thank you for your engagement, Rick!

:slightly_smiling_face:
Bek

Generally, it is recommended to submit every variation—in this case each amendment individually and the combined amendment—to cope with the “no friendly amendments” situation. It is too late now to do anything, but just a generic recommendation from what I have seen at past GAs

Sally, interesting – submit every variation, each individually and the combined amendment. Yes, it is too late now to do anything given the February 1, 2024 11:59 PM deadline. But we would have had to get the 15 congregation affirmation of the combined one… I know that Kara and I were on very different “production” schedules for this… and we didn’t even envision that. Thank you. Goodness, what a process.

Thanks again, Rick, for bringing up this issue so it can be clarified.

My personal belief is that the 2 Amendments go well together - but I understand why it makes sense to vote on them separately.

When Bek Wheeler and I were discussing our Amendments, I specifically asked Charles DuMond whether they would be “competing.” It did take him a while to do the research, but he concluded that they would NOT be competing.

If you know - or find out - something different, please let me know.

I’m glad we have the chance to discuss all of this, so thanks again for the question!

2 Likes

Sally, for you or anyone else interested in reviewing the 4 variations side-by-side (Wheeler, Stebbins, Both, and Neither), they are posted on the page for the Stebbins Amendment:

https://discuss.uua.org/t/equity-calls-us-to-listen-understand-respect-respond-stebbins-amendment-to-article-ii-which-will-be-placed-on-the-final-agenda/1455/7

1 Like

Hi Rick,

Since you mention that “Merging the two seems like a great UU way to meet our values based on love,” I thought you might like to refer folks to what the merging would look like, compared to each by itself or neither. I present the 4 options on the Stebbins Amendment page:

https://discuss.uua.org/t/equity-calls-us-to-listen-understand-respect-respond-stebbins-amendment-to-article-ii-which-will-be-placed-on-the-final-agenda/

In love,
Kara

1 Like

Thank you, Kara. This set of options on how your/my amendments might combine is very very helpful! Thank you!

1 Like

It is just insurance against not being able to amend. The shut-down of these pages so soon after GA was an obstacle, extremely undemocratic. There was a Slack set up, but that quickly moved to Facebook, so I lost connection other than a very rare e-mail.

I’m so sorry that you lost connection. You did not want to set up a Facebook account if only to engage with that discussion site? I’m sorry… How are things going for you now?