Envoy News April 2020
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News and updates from the UU@UN to keep you informed.
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Dear ,

For the second month in a row, I'm writing this Envoy newsletter from my home. It has been a strange experience doing everything from home over the last month and a half, including holding our recent Intergenerational Spring Seminar virtually April 17-19. The Seminar usually presents our main opportunity of the year for Envoys to be together in person, which I was very sorry to miss this time around. Still, I enjoyed seeing a number of Envoys' names pop up in the Zoom chat box throughout the Seminar weekend!

Here are the minutes from the April Envoy Conference call. Our next monthly meeting will be Tuesday, May 19, and I'm holding a training for new Envoys (or long-time Envoys who'd like a refresher!) on Thursday, May 14. Please RSVP here for either meeting.

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the deadline is relaxed to meet the Blue Ribbon Congregation requirements. If you would like to check on your congregation's status and haven't heard from me yet, please send me an email.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

Some recommended text to put in your congregation's newsletter.

The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations held its annual Intergenerational Seminar online this April, focusing on the theme All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet. Though participants were not able to be together in person, the 2020 Seminar presented an opportunity to reflect on the way we gather, the amount of carbon being saved by gathering online instead of in New York City, and gave participants a chance to connect and engage in new ways thanks to the wonders of technology. An idea that resonated throughout the Seminar, from the land acknowledgement that opened the Welcome Ceremony on Friday night through the closing worship service, was an urgent call to heed the wisdom and experiences of indigenous communities on the front lines of the climate crisis. The events of the Intergenerational Seminar led into the week of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, when activists gathered online for a series of virtual actions led by organizers around the world. The current moment highlights the urgency of international collaboration to address the problems that affect us all. We've got to be all in for climate justice.
A flashback to the 2010 Intergenerational Seminar, A Climate of Change: Heads, Hearts, and Hands Around the Planet, held at the UN's temporary building while it was under renovation. The 2020 Seminar on Climate Justice was held online due to Covid-19.
A look behind, a look ahead

April 5: UU@UN Director Bruce Knotts speaks at All Souls NYC event about moving money from Nuclear Weapons to addressing Climate Change. (Online!)
April 7:
UU@UN hosts event about protecting trans rights in healthcare. (Online!)
April 17-19:
Intergenerational Spring Seminar
All In For Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet (Online!)
April 22: 50th Earth Day
May 1: UU@UN Director Bruce Knotts speaks at Peace Action Ithaca College Panel "World Peace in the COVID-19 Pandemic" (Online!)
May 15-17:
National Gathering, Annual General Meeting, and Cross-Canada Service for the Canadian Unitarian Council (Online!) All are welcome!
June 15: Summer internships begin (virtually) at the UU@UN.
June 24-28:
General Assembly for the Unitarian Universalist Association (Online!)
July 7-16: High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations (tentatively) in NYC


The following "Time to Act" suggestions for April 2020 will be related to the Fourteenth Sustainable Development Goal: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development - focusing on target 14.1 (By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.) SDG 14? WHY IT MATTERS!

You may have seen the news in the last week that the U.S. Supreme Court voted to maintain the integrity of the Clean Water Act to protect all rivers, lakes, and oceans from pollution. This is great news for the effort to reduce marine pollution, removing a loophole the Trump administration was trying to exploit to allow polluting industries free reign. In order to make larger systemic change, we must take action locally to make sure that such policies are enforced and our streams and waterways are fully protected from pollutants.
  • Do research locally to identify the areas in your county, province, or state that are home to waste treatment or power plants that have chemical or hazardous waste. Learn about their procedures for disposing of the waste and work with local partners to ensure pollutants are not threatening community water sources.


As you know, our Spring Seminar - All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet - took place a couple of weeks ago online. Despite the new format, many long-time participants have praised this year's as the best Spring Seminar yet. The Theme Panel and Keynote Conversation were both streamed live on our YouTube page and are available for viewing (we recommend organizing a congregational screening and discussion!) You can find a recap of some of the Seminar highlights in UU Ministry for Earth's blog.
We've also put together a page of resources for further engagement with the topic of climate justice. It is full of ideas on how to stay involved and active towards making change. The UU@UN is currently recruiting Youth and Adult Deans for the 2021 Intergenerational Seminar: apply by May 20, 2020.


As mentioned last month, our organization has a new name: the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations, or as we'll shorten it from now on: the UU@UN. This name change provides more clarity as far as who we are and what we do, while also bringing us more in line with United Nations guidance. We want to make sure Envoys are aware that this is the name that should be used in communicating about our office with your congregation and beyond. Our website remains the same ( and you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @UUOfficeUN. If you're already following us, no need to do anything: The handles have changed but are not new accounts.

Find more at

Let Their Voices Be Heard: The Legacy of the Marshall Islands and Islanders in the Nuclear Age

By Joanne Dufour, Disarmament Volunteer

More than any other people on this planet, the Marshall Islanders are survivors of the two greatest threats facing humanity: nuclear weapons and climate change.......

Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
International cooperation - Initial results of a UN initiative to help decide the future direction of the Organization have revealed overwhelming support for international cooperation, which has grown significantly since COVID-19 began spreading around the world.

Global workforce - Some 1.6 billion people employed in the informal economy – or nearly half the global workforce - could see their livelihoods destroyed due to the continued decline in working hours brought on by lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

Medical equipment - The World Health Organization (WHO) says that a major UN-led initiative is under way to secure supplies of key medical equipment for 135 low to medium-income countries facing down the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yemen - The needs of Yemen’s people should be put first, ahead of actions that risk escalating the already dire situation inside the war-shattered country, UN Special Envoy for the war-weary country, Martin Griffiths, said.
This work is made possible by the generosity of member congregations and individual donors.

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