News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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April 2016

Dear ,

Greetings from California! I'm in Santa Barbara this weekend for the UUA Pacific Southwest District Assembly. I'll be hosting a workshop about income inequality and hopefully will connect with new congregations in the Pacific Southwest District that don't yet have Envoys. 

After a whirlwind year, it's time to bid a sad farewell to our academic interns who will be wrapping up their time with us and moving on to their next grand pursuits. Meanwhile, the United Nations is packing all it can into the momentum of spring! It sure has been an exciting month, what with our Intergenerational Spring Seminar (more on that below!), followed by the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem, high-level debates on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and the signing of the Paris Agreement! There's a lot of action and optimism in the air, but this Paris Agreement signing really reaffirmed that we as a planet have an incredible amount of work to do. Make sure to take a look again at your country's INDCs (here's Canada's INDCs and those of the United States), see what they have committed to and what you and your community can do to meet or exceed the goals. Don't let this just sit by - try to do one thing this week to combat climate change.

Here are the minutes from the April Envoy Check-in conference call. Our next call will be in June - look for more info in the May Envoy News. And again if you haven't yet, please join the UU-UNO Envoys Facebook group (instructions here)! And remember to let me know if you think your congregation may qualify for Blue Ribbon status but you haven't heard from me yet!

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

Envoy Coordinator


Sharing information and news is important, but you want to make change in your local and global community. Here's how.

Sustainable Development Goals

In light of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the following "Time to Act" suggestions for April 2016 will be related to the Eighth SDG: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

  • Support companies and restaurants that treat their workers ethically with fair wages and benefits. See a list of fair trade clothing companies, or download the ROC National Diners' Guide app (Apple or Android) that profiles how 150 top restaurant chains in the US treat their employees.

  • Advocate for legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Call the US Senate (866)204-2557 and ask them to raise the minimum wage. (UUA suggested actions for working toward a living minimum wage!)


Please complete the following tasks by the end of May.

  1. Please let me know if you're planning to attend either CUC Conference in Vancouver or UUA General Assembly in Columbus! We'd love to see you there.

  2. Help me improve: Tell me which sections in the Envoy News are most helpful/you use the most, and which are least helpful/you use the least.

April Review: (1) Contribute to the Seminar Statement (2) Check with me on your Blue Ribbon status!
A look behind, a look ahead

April 7-9: 2016 Intergenerational Spring Seminar - The Colors of Inequality: Costs and Consequences

April 19-21: UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem.

April 21-22: High-Level Debate on Sustainable Development and Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement at UN Headquarters. (Watch video)

April 22: Earth Day, and end of Climate Justice Month - continue the energy with Commit2Respond!

April 30: UNO Envoy Coordinator Allison hosts a workshop at UUA Pacific Southwest District Assembly in Santa Barbara, CA.

May 19: Ethical Eating Panel Discussion at UN Church Center with Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

May 20-22: CUC Conference 2016 in Vancouver, BC.

May 30: Office closed for Memorial Day


In April, the UU United Nations Office held its annual Intergenerational Spring Seminar. This year's topic, The Colors of Inequality: Costs and Consequences, inspired participants to take action in their communities to reduce inequalities within our own countries and around the world. Congregations are encouraged to read and share the Spring Seminar Statement and use it as a starting point for meaningful change.
Envoy Spotlight

Roger Meyer, MD, and Barbara LaCombe became Envoys at First Unitarian Church in Portland, OR in 2014. As an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington, Roger focuses on UNICEF and other UN activities directed to help children and families. He supports the UN because compared to other global nonprofit organizations and entities, the UN is committed to helping those in need over the long haul. Here, Barbara shares her story about how she and Roger got involved as Envoys and the work they've been doing recently:
     I was inspired to take this step to become an Envoy after receiving an eloquent solicitation letter from Bruce Knotts asking me to pay my lapsed membership dues to the UU-UNO. Roger, a supporter of the UN and long-time activist, volunteered to be co-Envoy. We started a UU-UNO sub-committee in our Peace Action Group (one of several Social Justice Groups at the church). Peace Action had been the conduit for UU-UNO outreach in the past, so this was a good opportunity to re-acquaint our members with this organization. 
     Every Sunday we have UU-UNO materials and donation envelopes on display at the Peace Action Table during coffee hour, and most Sundays one or both Envoys are there to promote the UU-UNO. But we have found that the best way to recruit members is to make one-on-one contact with congregants who appear interested, and to follow up as needed. This helped us achieve Blue Ribbon status for the second year in a row! 
     This month, Roger has launched a "United Nations Essay Contest" for youth ages 14-18, to stimulate interest in the UN and the UU-UNO. The winners will receive cash prizes, to be awarded on United Nations Sunday in October. The first prize winner will also become our Youth Envoy! Our goal is to make the UU-UNO more visible among all age groups. We hope to engage the ministers to a greater extent so that UN Sunday can be more prominent from the pulpit. 
     I like the way the Envoy program is structured, with support from our Envoy Coordinator making it easy to work toward the broad goals of the United Nations in a focused way. 
Intergenerational Spring Seminar 2016
The Colors of Inequality: Costs and Consequences

Our 2016 Intergenerational Spring Seminar took place a few weeks ago in NYC. This year's theme was on income inequality, and it was our biggest seminar yet - 160 participants! The Spring Seminar community wrote a statement together describing all that we've learned about the consequences of income inequality and how Unitarian Universalists will commit to engaging in collaborative action against it. Whether or not you were at the Seminar, you are encouraged to watch the online video of the panel at the UN and share the Seminar Statement with your congregation and community and use it as a starting point to make a difference for equality and justice in our world.  

Youth Perspective from 

Spring Seminar

Isabella Gavanski, one of the Youth participants in this year's Spring Seminar, wrote about her experience in this guest post on the UU-UNO's blog.

My name is Isabella Gavanski, I am 15 years old and I attend the Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Church in the Montreal, Quebec area. I recently had the incredible opportunity to attend the UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar and I have to say it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had so far in my life. 

To begin, the Seminar was highly educational. We learned about inequality within countries, how it affects our economic systems and politics, how it is connected to climate change, incarceration, solitary confinement and much more...
Support Women's Rights
Get involved with Cities for CEDAW with this toolkit

The United States has not yet ratified the Commission on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), but with this toolkit created by women's rights organizations, you can start your own campaign to pass an ordinance in your city reflecting the principles of CEDAW. You can advance political and economic equality for women locally while also emphasizing the importance and the benefits from US ratification of CEDAW. The toolkit includes information about a successful campaign in San Francisco and how the landscape has changed there ever since in terms of women's rights, safety, and equality.
Canadian Unitarian Council Conference
May 20-22 Vancouver, BC

For those coming to the Canadian Unitarian Council's national conference in Vancouver - keep an eye out for UU-UNO programming!

"Guns or Butter": UU Principles and United Nations' Activities - Sunday, May 22 (1:30-3:30pm), the CUC United Nations Office Advisory Council will be hosting this multigenerational game and discussion.

UU-UNO Reception - Saturday, May 21, the CUC UNO Advisory Council will host a reception for Envoys and UU-UNO supporters at which Blue Ribbon Congregations will be honored and a film of the Elaine Harvey International Justice Award will be shown.
News: United Nations
Include the following in your congregation's newsletter, website, and/or bulletin!   

Côte d'Ivoire - Having achieved "remarkable" progress in terms of national reconciliation, disarmament, and demobilization, the UN Security Council just renewed the mandate for a peacekeeping mission in Côte d'Ivoire for a final year. During this last period, the resolution stipulates that peacekeepers will focus on supporting Ivorian protection of civilians and all arms, travel and financial sanctions against the country will be immediately lifted.

World drug problem - The UN General Assembly recently concluded a special session on the world drug problem in which Member States and civil society expressed a global consensus that the solution must be humane, public-health oriented, human rights compliant, and evidenced-based. Rather than punishing, the new framework is for policies to "put people first."

Tackling malaria - A new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on World Malaria Day shows that the goal of eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries by 2030 is achievable. Though much work remains, for the first time, scientists are optimistic about the success of a malaria vaccine that has been developed and is currently being deployed in pilot projects in several African countries.

Program Updates
For more information on any of the program areas, email with "Attn: [program]" in the subject line.
LGBTQ Human Rights

The LGBTQ program is working toward solidifying our NGO subcommittee on LGBTQI human rights, bringing together NGOs and civil society organizations from around the globe to discuss advocacy at the UN level.
Racial Justice

We are collaborating with groups at the UN to further dialogue on combating racism and raise awareness of the Decade for People of African Descent. In coming months we will bring more of these conversations to UUs!
Climate Justice

We have been working this month on finalizing details for a joint panel at the UN Church Center next month about Ethical Eating - Food and Environmental Justice, with the Tzu Chi Foundation and Meatless Mondays. 
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Central East Region of the UUA
100 W 10th Street Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States

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Central East Region of the UUA
100 W 10th Street Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States