News and updates from the UU-UNO  to keep you  informed.
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April 2015
Dear ,

I hope all is well as we finish the summer lull and head towards another productive church year! As the summer comes to an end, we're looking forward to welcoming our new batch of Academic Interns next week as well as the upcoming UN General Assembly towards the end of September. It promises to be a hectic time at the UN Headquarters during that week. We were excited earlier this month to welcome a visit from Petals-N-Belles, an NYC-based non-profit aiming to educate and empower young girls. The girls learned a lot about the UU-UNO and the UN and we were so inspired by their interest and intelligent comments on current international issues.

Whether or not you were able to participate, please read over 
the minutes
 from the August Envoy conference call.

As you may have heard, the United Nations Security Council recently met for the first time ever to discuss LGBTQ rights. This is of course very important in terms of global recognition of the discrimination individuals around the world face based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI). The meeting was called by the UN Missions of the United States and Chile and focused on atrocities and killings committed by ISIS against individuals due to their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The discussion also looked at these killings within the context of discrimination and attacks based on SOGI elsewhere in the world. As a result of this panel, UN agencies expect to have stronger support for LGBTQ focus within larger programming in Iraq and Syria. As the US Ambassador Samantha Power stated, this is a "small but important step" in working towards a world where human rights are respected for all people.

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.

  • Haitian Deportation: Take action through the UUSC by calling Secretary of State John Kerry to do something to stop mass deportation of people of Haitian decent from the Dominican Republic.

  • Nuclear Disarmament: During coffee hour get your congregation to sign this petition to President Obama, calling him to address the real threat posed by the prospect of nuclear war. This petition was started by an All Souls NYC member who is also on the UN NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security. Mail petitions directly to the White House after Sept. 27.

  • Not in the US? You can still take action through ICAN to promote peace and an end to nuclear weapons.

Please complete the following tasks by the end of September.

  1. Email or call to tell me when your UN Sunday service is scheduled!  

  2. Apply or encourage a friend to join the 2016 Spring Seminar Planning Committee! See below to learn more.
June/July Review: (1) Plan your UN Sunday service (2) Donate items to the UU-UNO Fall Fundraiser auction!

In the most recent Envoy conference call, there was discussion of how Envoys can communicate directly with each other. One potentially very useful avenue for that type of communication is through the UU-UNO Envoys Facebook Group! All Envoys are encouraged to post on the group, share insights, questions, events, or articles that may be helpful or of interest to other Envoys! Some instructions for joining and using the Facebook group are available by clicking below.

Upcoming Events
A look behind, a look ahead

August 8-9: Bruce attends Our Children, Climate, Faith Symposium in Strafford, VT.

August 11: Visit from Petals-N-Belles to the UU-UNO. The young girls were inspired to learn about human rights work and international relations.

August 21: Jessica Henderson presentation at UN Church Center on racial discrimination in housing both in the US and Guyana. #BlackLivesMatter

August 28-30: Queer Immigration Conference at The New School. UU-UNO hosts a panel on LGBTQ asylum seekers.

August 31: Applications are due for 2016 Spring Seminar Planning Committee!

August 31: Academic Interns start at the UU-UNO

September 7: UU UN Office closed for Labor Day

September 11-18: Allison out of office.

September 15-27: United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in NYC

September 21: International Day of Peace

September 25: Pope Francis addresses the UN General Assembly

UN Sunday

These are the UN Sunday services scheduled as of August. Please let me know if you are having a service or event so I can add you to the calendar! If we're not already booked, Bruce and I are happy to come speak at your congregation.
October 4: Unitarian Fellowship of Huntington, NY (Allison speaking)
October 18:  Germantown Unitarian Society in Philadelphia, PA
Grand River Unitarian Church in Kitchener, ON
UU Church of Marblehead, MA (Bruce speaking)
Northshore UU Church in Danvers, MA (Bruce speaking)
First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, ON
Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion, NY
October 25:  All Souls UU Church in Watertown, NY (Allison speaking)
UU Fellowship at Salisbury, MD (Bruce speaking)
Mountian Vista UU Congregation in Tucson, AZ 
November 29: Conejo Valley UU Fellowship in Thousand Oaks, CA (Allison speaking)
2016 Intergenerational Spring Seminar
New York City, April 7-9
The UU-UNO is seeking individuals to join our Planning Committee for the 2016 Intergenerational Spring Seminar! The Planning Committee is composed of volunteers of all ages from around the US & Canada who are interested in helping to put together this yearly educational and inspiring event. Most communication happens via phone and email - it is not necessary that committee members be able to come regularly to NYC. Planning committee meetings are held weekly between September and the seminar which will be in NYC April 7-9, 2016.
   An important part of the planning committee is our Youth Deans. We are seeking two passionate youth to join as critical leaders in this intergenerational seminar: Senior Youth Dean (1-year position) and Junior Youth Dean (2-year position). More information and application are available by clicking below. Application deadline: August 31!
2016 Theme: 
Income Inequality
2015 NGO Conference at the United Nations
This year's NGO Conference at the United Nations honored the past, recognized the present, and imagined the future of non-governmental relations with the UN. UU-UNO Director Bruce Knotts was on the first panel discussion of the conference in the General Assembly Hall. This discussion laid out the overall theme of the conference which contrasted the former League of Nations (which had no provision for civil society) with the United Nations Charter (which explicitly calls for civil society engagement with the work of the UN). The Sustainable Development Goals will be finally adopted by the UN General Assembly next month. Each nation will be responsible for formulating its own country plan for implementation and civil society engagement in this process will be critical to take these goals from words to reality on the ground. Bruce also introduced Under-Secretary-General Cristina Gallach, who delivered greetings from the Secretary-General.  Under-Secretary-General Gallach emphasized the importance of NGOs in the protection of human rights. One questioner directed a question specifically to Bruce asking about men’s rights. He responded saying that “when the fire department arrives, you direct them to the house that’s on fire and the most in need of help. As with the current Black Lives Matter movement in the US: of course all lives matter, but emphasis needs to be on Black Lives that are most at risk. Similarly, while we need to protect the rights of men, the crisis is with the inequality suffered by women around the world, so that is why we need to emphasize equality for women.”  This response was supported with appreciation by Under-Secretary-General Gallach.
News: United Nations
Include the following in your congregation's newsletter, website, and/or bulletin!   
Migration crisis - With ever more frightening reports of migrants discovered dead traveling to or within Europe, European leaders must find new ways of dealing with this crisis. The UN's Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants urged them to provide "migrants and asylum-seekers with legal and safe mobility solutions."

Youth Day - On International Youth Day, a conference at the UN highlighted the power of youth to be drivers of change in their countries and communities. Read the blog post our interns wrote about it!

LGBTQ rights - The UN Security Council met on August 24 for the fist time to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity rights. The meeting focused on violence committed by ISIS and Syrian troops against gay men.

Arctic seed vault - Agriculture specialists have placed important crops in an arctic vault in Norway to preserve them. These seeds will be used to feed future generations, as supplying more nutritious food will be increasingly difficult due to the effects of global climate change

Program Updates
The end of another cycle of interns. Again, we're sad to say goodbye to our summer interns but excited for the academic interns to start next week! For more information on any of the program areas, email with "Attn: [program]" in the subject line.  
LGBTQ Human Rights

The LGBTQ Program interns have been setting up several events focused around LGBTQ asylum seekers & refugees. During the 2015 Queering Immigration Conference from August 28-30, we will hold a panel discussion on deprogramming religious homo- and transphobia. Our second event will be in the United Nations Church Center in late October. We met with various members of the UN and NYC religious community in order to set up panelists for our events.
Every Child is Our Child

August has been a busy month for Every Child is Our Child. We are in the process of applying for grants from various donors. Much of our time has been devoted to searching for potential donors and sorting out which grants we are eligible for. We are also developing plans for the November office visit to the program (Allison and Anne will be going), and hoping for a very productive visit with the Queen Mothers, the children, and other organizations that ECOC works with in Ghana.  
Climate Justice

The UU-UNO has been preparing for upcoming UN events related to Climate Change and environmental sustainability. We are looking towards December for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) international climate conference in Paris, France. The Unitarian Universalist Association's delegation hopes to collaborate on side events with like-minded organizations on climate justice programming.

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100 W 10th Street Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801
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This work is made possible by the generosity of member congregations and individual donors. 

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