Justice GA, #UU Accountability, and the #uualtoaz hash tag
I was mentioned in a twitter comment over the weekend by a fellow UU I’ve long admired and respected, I think as part of a twitter chat that included a couple other UU’s that I have a great deal of respect for. But throughout that conversation was a hash tag that made me terribly uncomfortable.
I immediately made my reservations known, and my concerns were acknowledged… but as blurbs from that chat are retweeted and posted in other forums, I’m concerned that hash tag may have taken on a life of it’s own, as I saw it associated with twitter posts unrelated to the original chat when I was online this morning.
Folks outside Arizona may not be familiar with the Alto Arizona. Folks not familiar with the campaign may think it simply means Stop AZ in Spanish (which it does). But Alto Arizona is a campaign of PuenteAZ and NDLON, not the Unitarian Universalist Association. Alto Arizona is also a campaign for which the UUA is not listed as a partner organization. Alto Arizona is a campaign that, among other things, calls for a boycott of Arizona.
A boycott that we are violating at the invitation of some Arizona human rights groups and to the irritation of others.
Putting UU in front of AltoAZ is not appropriate, even if there wasn’t already an existing campaign by the same name, and particularly not in the context of a conversation about Justice GA 2012. Because we (Unitarian Universalists) aren’t going to Stop AZ. While I am positive it was unintended, that’s what the tag insinuates. This does not acknowledge nor does it honor the existing activism of organizations from within the immigrant communities nor the allies and allied groups that are already actively working in partnership with those organizations.
We need to take great care to ensure that in our efforts to be strong allies, we do not co opt movements that are not our own. We must remember that it is not about our intentions, but the impact of our words and actions. We must remember that we are not only accountable to the historically marginalized communities within our faith, but also accountable to ALL of the immigrant and activist communities in Arizona. While I still hope that Justice GA will give more financial and/or sweat equity to the immigrant and activist communities than to the Arizona economy… that it can be transformed into a reciprocal relationship… it should primarily be about building relationships and working for Justice in your own community and about strengthening those relationships and continuing that work when Justice GA is over.
When I expressed my concern, suggestions were solicited for future discussions. I was on my way out the door to attend a fundraiser for a group already on the ground running here in AZ for three years now, and didn’t answer at the time. As I’ve reflected on this over the weekend, I think simply #GA2012 or #justicega, with no specific reference to AZ, would be most appropriate. Justice GA in 2012 should not be about Arizona; in truth, it never was. There are thirty some odd states with copycat legislation or 287G or Secure Communities agreements, which will be mandatory in every state by 2013.
Todos somos Arizona