27 August 2005

Closing Ceremony Incident Mentioned in Latest UU World Magazine

From the Fall 2005 issue of UU World magazine -- coverage of the closing ceremony incident at the 2005 Ft. Worth TX General Assembly:
While many of the injustices delegates considered this year could be thought to take place "out there," the Assembly ended in a way that reminded the UUA's Board of Trustees of unfinished business within the Association.

The morning after the Assembly adjourned, several youth leaders reported to the Board of Trustees that young people of color had experienced a series of demeaning and upsetting incidents throughout the week, including a heated confrontation with several white adults outside the arena during the closing ceremony. The Youth Caucus cancelled its intergenerational dance, which was scheduled to follow the closing ceremony, because many youth of color were meeting to discuss the incidents; Moderator Courter met with them.

In response to the youth report and other inquiries, the Board issued a letter on July 6 that said, "At General Assembly in Fort Worth, there were several incidents that reminded us that we have much work to do in our journey to becoming an antiracist, antioppressive, and multicultural association." The Board expressed "deep sadness and regret" for incidents involving "apparently disrespectful and racist treatment of our youth by Fort Worth officials," other incidents in which "white UUs assumed that UU youth of color were hotel service people and asked them to carry luggage or park cars," and an altercation during the Closing Ceremony in which "some UU youth of color were made to feel that they were not welcome."

The exact circumstances of some of the incidents are still unclear. The Board has formed a Special Review Commission, which expects to offer a more complete report on the incidents at its October meeting and a complete report in January. The Board vowed to provide "safe space to process issues and concerns around oppression and racism" at future General Assemblies.

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