One great thing about being a Unitarian is that, bottom line, we believe in making this world a better place, not because we're trying to get to heaven, but rather, because many of us don't believe there is a heaven, and it's our sacred duty to do what we can right here, right now.  This is it.

Anyway, I'm in Phoenix at the UU General Assembly with a couple thousand other Unitarians, travelling with a couple other adults and eight youth.  What's amazing about this group of young people is just how kind they are toward one another.  They're checking in with us regularly, taking care of themselves and each other, and allowing themselves to be inspired by the events.  They're attending workshops and worship, laughing, being moved, and generally, getting along.  Seeing them, and hundreds of other fine youth from around the country, makes me optimistic for the future.  

There's also plenty to spoof on here as well.  Garrison Kielor would have a field day.  But I won't go there at this moment, because it feels a little wrong -- like going to a party and laughing at the hostess behind her back.  Let's just say that it's the kind of event where, after a talk by one of the foremost experts on water rights and water issues in the world, someone stands up and asks us all to stop flushing the toilet while we're here.  That sort of sums up the sweet, naive energy that is easily spoofed, but I guess I'm more in the mood to be grateful that people care that much.

There is language here, I guess its religious language, and it feels awkward to me.  Rather than going to a street party, we had a "community celebration with our partners".  This evening, we're going to "bear witness"  at Tent City, an outdoor encampment of people being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  It's currently about 110 degrees outside, and people are being held in un-airconditioned tents in the desert for the crime of moving to the U.S. to be with the rest of their family, or for economic opportunity.

When my ancestors moved here escaping the potato famine, they were greeted on Ellis Island by the Statue of Liberty.  It's a whole different deal now.  We aren't so excited about the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free anymore.  Two people die each day crossing the desert to get into this country, and volunteers who leave water out for immigrants are arrested for littering.  And the wall, oh, don't even get me started.  But it's heartening to hear from groups who organize volley ball games across the border, using the wall as a net.  People who are taking big risks to save lives.

At any rate, I hope it goes well this evening, and youth aren't overwhelmed by the injustice of humans being held in such inhumane conditions.  I hope counter-protesters don't show.  There are rumors circulating that the detainees will be moved before our vigil.

Our youth are keeping a sense of humor through it all.  Some of them are hoping to have dinner at Hooter's first, to bear witness, first-hand to the obectification of women.  They're quick and funny, and have caught on to how people can claim religious language to justify just about anything. 

Okay, standing at a cyber cafe, surrounded by people wearing shirts that say "Standing on the Side of Love", which, according to Bill Sinkford, is our location.



  1. Sounds like a nice place to be. Enjoy!

  2. That sort of language makes me crazy, and I'm so happy you exist! I can love and wince at the same time.

  3. I like Unitarians. When I was in high school I went to their services. My main memory of them is that they were earnest in a really good way. Good T-shirts, too.


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